The ruminations of an artist on art & life...art quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Writing Letters

I have a new penpal---and I haven't had an actual PENPAL since I was a little girl! Thanks to Felicia Sullivan--who sponsored a penpal sign up awhile back--she then paired people who responded to her penpal swap blog post. I am finding it so much fun to get acquainted with someone clear across the county from me, with a very different life than mine. And I have not had to describe--in writing---my life, where I live, and some of my life history to another person in quite awhile. What a pleasant way to be reflective and take some stock of my life and where I am now. Writing about myself and my life is very different than talking about the same subjects. What is it about writing a letter--in longhand, with a pen (!) and then mailing the letter that is so satisfying?

And receiving a handwritten letter is just as agreeable.
To quote Vanessa Bell writing to her sister, Virginia Woolf in 1908:
"I had a charming long letter from you this morning with flattering hints of rose-gardens and daylight round corners and I don't know what all. I purr all down my back when I get such gems of imagery thrown at my feet."

I must admit there is certain thrill when I see that envelope--(or any envelope, really) with handwriting on it--addressed to me...a letter! but then when it is a nice long, loverly descriptive letter--what a joy!

Perhaps my love of letter writing--and receiving letters---is from living in the Alaskan bush for so long (over 15 years!) where "mail day" was a big event and handwritten letters really were our lifeline to the outside world. This was before the days of the internet and e-mail, so I soon found out that if I wanted to receive letters from my family and friends who lived in other places, I had to write letters to them. So, write I did. Or maybe my fondness for letters comes from the letters my beloved Grandmother (Gram) wrote me every week when I was a very young (18) newly married and somewhat homesick women---since I had moved far away from all my family and friends.

I also take delight in creating envelopes--some I just make from "repurposed" colorful calendars, or from wrapping or scrapbook papers---and some I draw and then make copies, like this one.




And on the subject of envelopes, I recommend this book:


"Open this book and you will discover a most curious and diverting collection of decorated envelopes, all of which have been sent through the United Kingdom's Royal Mail."

Here is an image or 2 from inside the book to whet your appetite:



And somewhere along the way--I think at a garage sale--I picked up this delightful and inspirational book--a book of "warm, witty and loving letters from women to women through the ages, with some envelopes and facsimiles of original handwritten letters..." This book is an interesting compendium of excerpts of many famous women writers and artists letters to friends and family.


Oh--and did I mention I also SAVE letters I receive? yep, I have quite a few in the bottom of a file drawer...I see this as recording my life for my great great great grandchildren...who I imagine finding in their mother's attic a box tied with musty rose colored ribbons...full of letters to me which tell a story of a life long ago...

And finally-- here is a nice link to a great website with a directory of sites about all types of letter writing, a bibliography of books about letter writing and letters, mail art, penpals and more---so now go and hand write a letter to someone and then mail it! You just might get a letter back...

7 comments:

The Lone Beader said...

You know, I used to have penpals all over the world when I was a kid. LOve it, too. But, now, with the internet, I NEVE right letters. In fact, I'm not sure I know how to use a pen anymore. LOL. But, I still love/buy stationary... go figure...

catnapping said...

i much prefer letters to email. i love to touch the envelope...and read something in someone's own handwriting.

Felicia said...

I think we all love to get hand written letters! This is especially true today when everything moves so fast. Just knowing that someone took the time to write down words to send gives a nice feeling :)

Mary Timme said...

This post has sooooo very much in it that I could hardly take it all in. For me the written word is of vital importance and I love it. I'm so glad you have stuff I can come back and look up. Thanks a bunch!

u l a n said...

Thanks for sharing photos of that beautiful book! :)

I do love letters as well.

Swarovski Crystals said...

I used to write letters to a number of friends who no longer live in our area. When the internet came along I was so pleased as I could communicate with them all as often as I liked by email. After a while the emails seem to get shorter and less frequent. Nothing can beat a letter unless it's speaking to them in person or skype. The new tool I have recently discovered where now I can chat for FREE to all my friends wherever they are for as long as I want :)

Anonymous said...

mom~
i loved the website (blog) of the letters...it is facinating what a human can say in a letter.
I always write lettters and people think I am wierd but I love to recieve them too. so i write...plus all it takes is knowing that someone is thinking of you to get to the next moment sometimes...no?
lov you kes