Taking Stock: May

Four for family members (Ouch. Kind of sucks in a way to have my sister home…)

Three for people I know from growing up here, studying in India, through other friends.

Seven for Send Something. I meant to do more there.

Twelve for Postcrossing. Clearly I’m a convert (and it’s a good home-from-work-at-midnight sort of thing).

Five for college friends, two of whom are quite decent correspondents.

Finally, four for people whose blogs I follow and enjoy.

 

120. Karen (@Postcrossing) -Virginia Beach

AND Lisa (@Postcrossing) -Little Rock

121. Becky Snailmailer (@Send Something) -Bethlehem

122. my sister the second – Boston

123. Liz C. -Chicago

124. L.R. McArthur (@Send Something) -Decatur

125. Mater

126. Tabatha H. (@Postcrossing) -Sorrento

127. Mayuri (@Postcrossing) -Ontario

AND Yuming (@Postcrossing) -London

128. Limner -Katy

129. Misty D. the Pen Thief -Ravenna

130.  Lee H. -San Mateo

131. Dustin (@Postcrossing) -Ranch Cucamonga

AND Tracey F. (@Postcrossing) -Red Feather Lakes

132. Scott E. -Hong Kong

133. Alex K. -Seattle

134. John R. (@Postcrossing) -Mont Clare

AND Shannon (@Send Something) -Bellevue

135. Alex C. -Chicago

136. Linsey (@Send Something) -Tulsa

137. Paula (@Postcrossing) -OShawa Ontario, Canada

138. Megin F. -Seattle

139. Chris F (@Send Something) -Swindon, UK

140. Angie (@Send Something) -Bridgeport

141. Ramya S. -San Carlos

142. A Year of Letters -Morton

143. Ganga – Spring Lake

144. Becky Snailmailer (@Send Something)-Bethlehem

145. John R. (@Postcrossing) -Mont Clare

146. Olive O. -Monroe Township

AND Jasmine (@Send Something) -Las Cruces

147. Willow (@Postcrossing) -New Westminster, Canada

148. Jessica K. -Park Ridge

149. Karina (Postcrossing) -Moscow, Russia

150. Limer -Katy


Hanging in There

Ooof!

156. Stacy H. -London

157. Cat B. -Bar Harbor

158. PostMuse -Pittsburgh

159. Laura S. -NYC

160. PostMuse – Pittsburgh

161. Lauren A. (@Send Something) -Denver

162. Yulia (@Postcossing) -St. Petersburg, Russia

 

A second postcard of mine is up on PostMuse’s website. You can see it here.


She’s Alllllliiiiiiiivvvvvveeeeeee!

Holy 60 Hour Work Weeks Batman!

Seriously, it’s been ages. I’ve been feeling the lack!

I started a new job as a paralegal at the NYC office of an international law firm in May, after months and months of disheartening unemployment. Being a paralegal (or legal assistant. Take your pick of job titles.) seems like one of the choice post-college jobs for people, like me, who have a general sense of the kind of work they want to do, but have no idea as yet how to get there. It’s the kind of job that teaches you what it means to have a job, and the kinds of general skills and habits that go along with it.

It’s also an Oh My God Where Did My Life Go? kind of job.

They day starts at 9:30 in the morning, and frequently goes much longer than the typical 8 hours. I stayed until 2:30 am on my very first day (to be fair, the attorney was horrified when he realized that). Last Wednesday I was there until midnight. I frequently work until 8:00 or 9:00 or 10:00 at night. The commute from home is between an hour and a half (in the mornings) and an hour (late at night). This means I have very little time to be a person—the hour or so I have each day to read my blogs and try to write letters has become incredibly precious.

I am still writing letters even though No Post on Sunday has suffered, but more slowly. I have a bit of a back-log that I am trying to catch up on. Angie’s from mid-May still hasn’t been sent, nor has Limner’s or Lamar’s from last week. Although I think I’ve already accomplished some of the primary goals of the project—to get back into the habit of writing daily, exploring new people and new areas, exchanging ideas and creativity—I’m going to push on as long as I can since it’s important to me to finish what I start. I’m six months into the Year of Correspondence. It’s as unlikely I’ll make it from June to December as it was that I’d make it from January to June, which is to say that anything is possible.

I have some other exciting news too: I’ve been featured on a great website!

PostMuse, postcard guru, has a great site at The Orphaned Postcard Project. Check out her database of orphaned postcards, select one or three, and sit back until they arrive, blank except for her return address in Pittsburgh, PA. Write whatever you want on the card and pop it in the mail back to her, knowing that your postcard and your story will eventually be featured on her blog. She even has a How Do I Participate page to clarify any questions.

I love reading The Orphaned Postcard Project, the genesis of which you can read about here. I typically find postcards of most sites pretty boring, but PostMuse does a great job of soliciting stories so that the generic picture of a tourist destination takes on personal significance. She also posts pictures of stamps from all over the world, which is super cool. Catching up on this blog every week or so is really fun because the cards come back from all over the world. The blog talks about what people notice on their travels, and is doubly enjoyable because PostMuse has a great writing voice.

That’s it for tonight, other than the incredibly long list of letters I’ve been meaning to post for three weeks. Hopefully I’ll be back before another three have gone by!

134. John R. (@Postcrossing) -Mont Clare

AND Shannon (@Send Something) -Bellevue

135. Alex C. -Chicago

136. Linsey (@Send Something) -Tulsa

137. Paula (@Postcrossing) -OShawa Ontario, Canada

138. Megin F. -Seattle

139. Chris F (@Send Something) -Swindon, UK

140. Angie (@Send Something) -Bridgeport

141. Ramya S. -San Carlos

142. A Year of Letters -Morton

143. Ganga – Spring Lake

144. Becky Snailmailer -Bethlehem

145. John R. (@Postcrossing) -Mont Clare

146. Olive O. -Monroe Township

AND Jasmine (@Send Something) -Las Cruces

147. Willow (@Postcrossing) -New Westminster, Canada

148. Jessica K. -Park Ridge

149. Karina (Postcrossing) -Moscow, Russia

150. Limer -Cady

151. Elizabeth C.  -Chicago —> HALF WAY THROUGH THE YEAR!

152. Alex K. -Seattle

153. Lamar M. -Chicago

154. Malwinka (@Postcrossing) -Poznan, Poland

155. Evelyn B. (@Send Something) -Lyman

AND

Nick G. -Ann Arbor

 

 

 


Hello Hello

Some pictures of stuff I’ve been up to this month.

I think I tend to be on the minimalist side of mail art—I really like finding a strong image and letting it speak for itself on an envelope. The tiger image I sent off to Becky Snailmailer is probably my favorite! She sends me such wonderful stickers; I’m glad I had a good spot to return one to her.

The little letter booklet was sent off to my friend Jamie, who wrote me a fantastic, very real letter about the uncertainties of knowing what we want from life. I wanted to do something special to let her know I really appreciated her letter, so I sewed together a little booklet that contained my reply. It was 24 pages, and bound with pale green thread that also let me make a thin bookmark for her. I did the lettering freehand, basing the letters almost squiggle for squiggle on the library book of Celtic alphabets that served as a reference for that crazy envelope project I did a couple of months ago. The envelope came from a pamphlet to the Boston Museum of Art. The bold colors are pretty awesome, and contrast nicely with Ms. Hepburn.

David mentioned that he loves carnivals, so that was the theme of my whole letter to him. I don’t have pictures of the awesome stationery I used, but I did my best with my meager artistic abilities to dress up the envelope. If you look closely you’ll see that the stamps are actually part of a merry-go-round! The scene on the back is a mishmash of what I imagine a good carnival might have. Elephants! Fortune Tellers!

The Pen Thief (AKA Misty Davis) got an envelope made from a gardening magazine. I almost didn’t want to write on it…. The awesome stationery came from Nut And Bee, a great self-run store out in New Zealand. Check out her website. You may fall in love and buy lots of Dancing Skeleton letter sets…

Finally, Misty got another letter from me this week! The stationery was nothing special, but I really loved the envelope! I accidentally lost it outside right before a rain storm, so the texture is all interesting. And those colors on the aprons are delish!

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127. Mayuri (@Postcrossing) -Ontario

AND Yuming (@Postcrossing) -London

128. Limner -Katy

129. Misty D. the Pen Thief -Ravenna

130.  Lee H. -San Mateo

131. Dustin (@Postcrossing) -Ranch Cucamonga

AND Tracey F. (@Postcrossing) -Red Feather Lakes

132. Scott E. -Hong Kong

133. Alex K. -Seattle


Woot!

That’s right! I have a JOB!

120. Karen (@Postcrossing) -Virginia Beach

AND Lisa (@Postcrossing) -Little Rock

121. Becky Snailmailer (@Send Something) -Bethlehem

122. my sister the second – Boston

123. Liz C. -Chicago

124. L.R. McArthur (@Send Something) -Decatur

125. Mater

126. Tabatha H. (@Postcrossing) -Sorrento


Taking Stock: April

I was on a roll this month! I don’t know what it is, but the last week or so I’ve just felt really excited to write ALL THE TIME. It must be a combination of Spring energy and the book I’m reading, with the result that I sometimes sent out two bits of mail in a single day. Though I will still continue to write every day, this catches me up and puts me over my quota of 119 letters in 119 days.

Back to the monthly analysis: In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I haven’t sent #58 to the 2011 Letters project yet—I didn’t like what I had written, so I want to revisit it and change some things around. It’s just so loooong at this point that I’ve been procrastinating. I also haven’t sent #102, but it’s just about done and ready to go.

I DID do a better job this month of balancing my new friends and acquaintances on the internet with people I’ve met in the flesh and blood. Thirteen letters went to online peeps and one to my soldier, leaving 19 to go to people who come from college (9), life (6), family (2), and job stuff (2). Part of that no doubt has to do with my birthday at the end of March. I asked for letters this year instead of Facebook wishes, so I had several exciting things from friends in the mail that week.

My favorite gift, however, hearkens back to this post in February. While I (politely) ransacked the store for the perfect pen, my friend remarked on the similarities to finding just the right wand in the Harry Potter series. I not-so-subtly hinted that maybe she could write a story about magic pens…AND SHE DID! I even get my own line of magic fountain pens! How is awesome is that, I ask you?

90. Maria R. -New York

91. Sarah M. -Arlington

92. Tiffany L. -Chicago

93. Dylan M. -Tuscon

94. Maria F. -Lincoln

95. Linsey (@Send Something) -Tulsa

96. Mello -Boston

97. Laura E. -Chicago

98. my sister the second

99. Grace H. -New York

100. Natalie L. -Livingston

101. Becky (@Send Something) -Bethlehem

102. Jamie D. -Chicago

103. Marton Posta (@Postcrossing) -Jilove, Czech Republic

104. David D. -Cork City, Ireland

105. Jenny S. -Blacksburg

AND PostMuse (Orphaned Postcard Project) – Pittsburgh

106. Jessica K. -Park Ridge

107. Misty D. (The Pen Thief) -Ravenna

108. Sr. Christian M. -Chicago

109. Sharon D. -Bellevue

110. my soldier in Iraq

111. Alex C. -Chicago

112. Limner -Katy

113. Nick G. -Ann Arbor

114. Elaine Mary P. -Cochrane, Canada

AND LR M. (@Send Something) -Decatur

115. Juli Girlonaglide (@Send Something) -Lande

116. Mrs. M. (@Send Something) -Appatomax

117. Lauren P. -New York

118. my sister the second -Boston (postcard)

AND Linsey (@Send Something) -Tulsa

119. Pam (@Postcrossing) -Blanchard


Times Articles on Cursive and My Comment

Hi! Has anyone seen these?

The Case for Cursive

and

Do You Write in Cursive? (The Learning Network blog at The NY Times)

I thought the first article, which I flipped to by chance when I was leafing through the paper last night, was pretty cool. I hadn’t really considered before the loss of fine motor skills and increased susceptibility to forgery as issues stemming from the slow loss of handwriting. It does make sense, I suppose, but I don’t see them making parents and teachers stand up at school meetings to demand more classroom time for Ps and Qs. The major issues for me are the losses of a basic means of self-expression and access to primary documents, as well as my skepticism of the longevity and constancy of technology.

Anyone else have thoughts? You should submit them to The Learning Network or comment here—I’d love to hear them!

I submitted my thoughts on handwriting to the blog in the second link, in response to a couple of questions there. It was a fun way to pass 15 minutes or so, though I don’t know if my comment will actually be approved. I’m not really the target audience, being that the blog asks for student responses (ages 13 and up). In the event that it doesn’t, I’ve copied my comment below. (It’s so long! I didn’t realize…)

I do write in cursive and have since the third grade or so, when it was taught at my private school. We didn’t receive instruction past the third grade, but all of our assignments were handwritten until well after the point that other grammar schools were requiring typed homework. This was in the mid- to late-90s and early 2000s. It wasn’t until I began high school, at an institution that made technology a priority, that almost all assignments were typed. With that background, all my college notes were handwritten and I still need a pen and reams of paper to get creative brainstorming started.

I don’t write with my grandmother’s cursive (though I’m working toward it!) but a print/script blend that connects letters, most of which are a rounder version of the official cursive shapes. It’s neat and pretty, it’s legible, and it’s uniquely mine.

My interest is mostly artistic–I love calligraphy and reading beautiful writing from my grandmother’s generation or French schools–but I also truly believe that technology is fragile and fleeting.

Websites go down without maintenance, digital mediums become obsolete, email providers change, unexpected tragedies cut people off from the internet. I have a pile of floppy disks from technological eons ago, containing information I may never see again, and an AOL email account that I have no idea how to access anymore. I do, however, have access to all my old written papers and a ton of handwritten letters, as well as a means of easy communication that doesn’t rely on a phone or laptop or anything else that may fail when I need it.

Technology–of which typed text is a part–is important. I couldn’t have written all those papers as well and as quickly as I did if I didn’t have online research options and a word processor. And honestly, my letter isn’t going to reach CA as fast as email. But it also isn’t and shouldn’t be everything. There’s a world of practical use and artistic expression that is every bit as important, and we should pay attention to those too.

116. Mrs. M. (@Send Something) -Appatomax

117. Lauren P. -New York

118. my sister the second -Boston (postcard)

AND Linsey (@Send Something) -Tulsa