Connection Builds Trust; Trust Leads to Love; Love Conquers Hate

I have been thinking a lot about the state of the world these days.  And I’ve been feeling a need to write.  And I wondered if any of this had anything to do with snail mail and whether it would “fit” here on this blog that I’ve not come back to for so long.

And then I realized that it all fits, because writing letters and sending them across the land to another builds connections between two beings.  And connection is exactly what we need right now.

So much about our culture is designed to push us apart, put us in separate boxes, highlight differences and make the unfamiliar or strange or different into an enemy to be destroyed.

So today I wanted to stand up for connection and share loudly and clearly that I reject white supremacy, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, and any other fear-based mindset that serves only to drive us apart, justify oppression and perpetuate rampant exploitation  of our earth’s natural resources.

So much of our society currently follows a way that is far from our roots.  All of our peoples, irrespective of origin, once lived fully connected to the earth, her cycles and rhythms.  And the further we part from that, the more we forget who we are and what we are meant to do.

We are meant to connect, to build deep trust and reliance on our communities. And we are meant to contribute our love, our energy, and our gifts in ways that better the world.

In honor of my realization that this blog, and my thoughts, are about more than snail mail, but are still very much about the values related to my love for sending letters, I’ve changed the tag line of this blog from:

Save Snail Mail: Preserving Handwritten Traditions in a Modern World

to:

Save Snail Mail and Other Things That Make Life Worth Living

We need to save it all–all that keeps us human and whole and connected and loving one another.  I’m going to go write some letters as part of that.  I hope you do, too.

With love,

Dana

 

P.S.

I felt called to write this today after reading Layla Saad’s thoughtful, respectful, vulnerable and strength-filled letter.  I encourage everyone to read it and then take action in ways that contribute to dismantling racism and white supremacy. And write your own letters to the world, too.

P.P.S  This image gives me hope.  It is my wish that each one there and all of us who see this photo take action tomorrow and the next day, have the difficult conversations, face our own parts in this unjust system, and keep working at it until we truly can call ourselves the land of the free.

Image from NPR article “Torches Replaced by Candlelight as Thousands Gather for Charlottesville Vigil”

My biggest fan…

My dad passed away quite suddenly in February and I miss him dearly.  I wanted to recognize his passing here at Save Snail Mail because he was this blog’s biggest fan.  He checked it regularly, was one of my first commenters, and encouraged me to write more (nay, nagged me!) when it had been a while since I’d posted. Here is one of his blog comments from last October:

I know you have moved in to a new house and traveled everywhere for pleasure and business but it has been six months and snail mail has been getting slower and slower and may disappear completely without your dynamic presence. See ya….

My dad was instrumental in engendering in me an early love for office and stationery supplies.  Our back-to-school shopping sprees were  EPIC!  We bonded over pens and pencils and protractors and paper.

He always chose and sent the best birthday cards, Valentine cards, and Christmas cards.  He even remembered special events like our wedding anniversary.  He sent me a postcard when I was a baby before I could read.  I turned it into a fathers day card for him over 30 years later.  He was so diligent about getting cards to us on time that a couple days before he passed, while in a hospital bed, he apologized because he hadn’t gotten to the post office to get Kris’ birthday card and present in the mail!

He was a sweet, loving, generous man and he will be dearly missed.  Having cards and letters from him, in his handwriting, help me enjoy the memories a bit more clearly and for that, I am very thankful.

 

Dad nose

Summer Fun

I have been missing from the blogosphere for a bit as I have worked, traveled, dealt with some home repairs, enjoyed friends and the summer weather, and caught up on my correspondence.

All creative efforts ebb and flow and I guess my blogging has been more ebbing lately!  I have plenty of ideas for posts (and I still owe some posts on the National Stationery Show!), it’s just that my imagination and creative energy are operating more in the physical world right now.  I hope to be back here more freqently because I miss writing and I miss connecting with readers, but for now I’m just going to go with the flow and see where it takes me.  When fun things like this blog start to feel like obligations, it’s time to take a breather.  Hope you’ll all bear with me for the time being and that you’re having a great summer.  Send postcards!

Dreams Do Come True!

Well, readers, I’m writing to say that in one week, I’ll be fulfilling a dream to attend the National Stationery Show in New York City. The NSS is open only to “industry people.”  That is, folks who either make or sell stationery or those who supply materials or equipment for stationery making.  Since I am not yet one of those types (though I hope to be some day), I am pleased that there is another option…press!  So I will be attending the NSS as a member of the press and sharing here on my blog what I find during my exploration of the show.  I’m very excited (what stationery lover wouldn’t be?) and I look forward to sharing the creative booths and stories of some of my favorite stationery lines.

If you are going to be a NSS and want to meet up, let’s connect via email (dana at savesnailmail dot com).  If not, stay tuned and I’ll update you soon on all the fun!

If you can’t wait, you can see a quick video about last year’s NSS here.

Yours in papery obsession,
Dana

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

It’s my one year blogoversary! I can’t believe how time flies.  When I wrote that first post, I had no idea how long it would last, if anyone would be interested, or if I had enough to say about my love of writing letters to fill more than a few posts.

Well, one year later, I have almost 175 blog entries, 145 Twitter followers, and more ideas for posts than I can count! In short, it’s been a lovely year on this blog (even when it wasn’t a lovely year for me beyond the blog), and you, my readers, have made it worth the effort. Thank you!

The timing was perfect for my entry into this world of letter blogging, because it was within the last year that the U.S. Postal Service made the news about its financial woes.  The media attention put snail mail back into the general conversation.  Jon Stewart’s Daily Show did two bits about the agency’s struggles.  And practically every newspaper in the nation ran an article like this that asked people if they still wrote letters.  Folks typically said, “Occasionally…not as much as I’d like…but they’re still very special and I wish we did it more.” Some said, “I only communicate by email and text and can’t see the purpose of the post office.” (Those people clearly never got nice mail from awesome penpals!)

So, in this world of most-people-love-getting-letters-and-we-may-not-always-have-a-USPS-like-we-do-now, I will continue to spread the love and joy of letter writing.  I will use wonderful postage stamps (well, at least the ones I can get that don’t come in a coil of 1000!) and fun stickers, and make pretty mail and connect with others. I hope you will, too!

Glorious Mail Day!

I have had the most glorious mail day.  In my P.O. Box, I found a mail-art postcard, a letter from Ana of The Well-Appointed Desk, another note from someone who liked the article I was interviewed for in the Postal Record, and my handwritten letter from Mary Kate McDevitt’s project! Check out this AWESOME Q!

In my mailbox at home, I received another letter and two thank you notes.  I didn’t receive a single piece of unwanted mail!

When I started this blog only a year ago, I don’t think I had any idea that I could truly transform my mailbox experience so drastically…with a lot of help from my fellow letter writers and mail artists, of course! What a lovely rebirth I’ve experienced–writing letters to people who write back, meeting new people from varied backgrounds, digging more deeply into my creative talents and coming up with some great art I didn’t know I had in me.

I have a lot more in store for you as this blog enters its second year.  I hope you’ll continue to read and if you want to join in on the fun, please do.  It’s much more fun that way!

Yours in letters,

Dana

Resolution Inspiration

This quote sums up my resolution for 2012:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Arthur Ashe

My goal this year is to buy less and do more with what I already have.  I have books, music, games, stationery and art supplies a plenty.  I don’t need more stuff.  I need to do more with the stuff I have.  So I’m going to do just that this year.  I’m on an art supply and stationery fast and I’m getting my creative juices flowing!

 

The Meaning of Mail

I’m happy to share a great article titled “The Meaning of Mail” in this month’s Postal Record–the magazine for the National Association of Letter Carriers. Yours truly was interviewed for it.  At the time of year when folks will send the most mail, author Rick Hodges wanted to write an article about what mail means in the digital age. I hope it encourages you to reach out to your friends and loved ones during the holidays and connect with them in the way only mail can!

Save Snail Mail and Dana in the Press!

A front page article in the Boston Globe Saturday about snail mail trends among younger folks quoted yours truly.  The article’s author, Anna Marden, found my blog and interviewed me about the “niche trend” of folks who grew up in the digital age happily engaged in regularly sending and receiving mail.

The article shares a few twenty somethings’ snail mail stories and it’s heartening to hear about young people so actively enjoying sending mail.  There’s hope for snail mail yet.