Sunday 31 January 2016

Finding out......

Friendship can be a funny thing. A true friendship should last a lifetime. However, some people find themselves being frozen out of friendships when one of them becomes a parent. One of the discussions over at is about friendship cut short because the one finds out the other has children. The same could be true for people without children being dumped by new parents. "How could they possibly understand the commitments and responsibilities that come with having children?" is perhaps one train of thought. I haven't myself lost single/child-free people as friends when I became a mother. I gained "friends" who also were mothers. Parenthood might turn you into a zombie at times but you are still you. You might not be as carefree and fancy-free as you once were, but you are still you. I can understand if people don't telephone you as often because you might have just gotten the baby to sleep, but with penpal letters, this doesn't disturb and the conversation can be continued at whatever time of day or night is convenient. Still, some people seem even uncomfortable continuing penfriendship on finding out their penpal does not have a similar family status.

Browsing penpal site profiles yields those who only want to correspond with other mothers (maybe with at least 2 children only). I can understand if the phrasing was "mainly mothers" because you could potentially share advice, tips and experiences.

One of my best friends here I see regularly does not have children herself (and has never wanted), although she does have 3 generations of German Shepherd dogs and she was also a teacher before retirement. How does the "you wouldn't understand" comment apply to her, as being a teacher and animal companion? She is not a selfish person.

Saturday 23 January 2016

February is nearly upon us!

Today I have been reminded from other blogs that it is National Handwriting Day. I have already done some handwriting as I composed a letter to a penpal. I should be writing more letters later including answering some 5Q5L some people have asked on my snailmail forum. There is still plenty of time to participate this month although I wonder if some members are saving up for the February letter writing frenzy of LetterMo and/or InCoWriMo

I have used up the last space in my address book for one of the letters. Do I start a new address book? I still have the Simon Drew address book my mother bought for my birthday a few years ago, as well as others I have bought along the way but haven't started. I suppose I could do with starting afresh as there are people who've moved or not continued with our correspondence. 

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Snail Mail - the book

Venturing in to an independent bookshop opens eyes to a different range of books. On the top shelf, I saw the spine of a book in the colours of international correspondence and I reached up to grab it when I saw the title was, "Snail Mail." The secondary title, "Rediscovering the art and craft of handmade correspondence," had me hooked.
I bought the book and proceeded to devour it. In it, there is a section on various forms of communication. The one on e-mail suggests replying within 48 hours. I had a brief foray into email friendship but one e-pal was not happy if I did not reply to his daily emails. There seems to be a sense of urgency with emails requiring attention. Now, the only emails I want to receive are notifications. I rarely read them but their titles are comforting knowing that my Amazon order is on its way.
There are pages on types of mail - writing to congratulate/celebrate events, love letters (does anyone keep love e-mails not printed out?), condolence, fanmail (not a huge fan of this) and even letters to your future self.

There's a little bit on signing on and off. I hadn't thought starting a letter with your penpal's name (with no salutation greeting) as being stern. I do vary the initial greetings depending on mood and penpal. I use - Hi, Hello, Greetings, Dear, Annwyl... As for valedictions, I usually use Best Wishes but the book lists this as a business sign off (I knew that it was from Simon Garfield's book, To The Letter - I'm still plodding through this). I occasionally use Hugs but this is not mentioned.
There are ideas for decorating the snail mail, and there are stickers and labels in the back plus templates for making envelopes.
Another section covers handmade - making papers to write on. One had lines sewn in. Caution though is advised if sending to Australia as they have strict import regulations and post could get destroyed.

There are pages picturing used postage stamps, and some old letters - I can decipher the handwriting. There's a section on fonts, typefaces and handwriting styles. For handwriting, the book suggests trying out both cursive and block, but...
Overall, I am happy I bought this book but it is preaching to the converted. It is a nice book and would make the perfect gift for someone just starting out in the world of penpalling and snail mail. 

Wednesday 6 January 2016

February isn't far away

Belated happy New Year. remember to write 2016 instead of 2015 when dating your letters this year. I have sometimes forgotten to do this. Sometimes I forget which month it is and have written the previous month. I write the month out in full (and also the year although I may omit the 20 to replace with ' for '16) because I do write to people around the world who may do dates in different order - is it day-month-year or month-day-year or even year first?

Back to the title of this blogpost - February isn't far away. Over the last few years, there have been postal projects in full swing for the month of February. Lettermo (A Month of Letters) and InCoWriMo (International Correspondence Writing Month). The latter one was promoted to fountain pen geeks to encourage them to use these writing implements. I write mainly with fountain pens. I do not know as yet if either side will be updated and opened for this year but there is a thread of interest on the fpgeeks forum. The idea is to write a letter every day (29 letters or a few less if only writing on postal days). Don't worry if you don't think you'd be able to manage this, perhaps you could set yourself a more realistic target instead. Or, as an alternative, you could try the challenge on A World of Snail Mail - 5 Questions (you ask on the forum) 5 Letters (you write to 5 other people answering their questions). This challenge is monthly and you don't have to take part every month. Don't worry if you can't manage 5 letters either. These postal challenges are supposed to be fun - social correspondence is to be a pleasure. In time, treat as friendship. Correspondents / penpals can be friends.

Here's to 2016, to penfriendship, and more.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Writing on the bus!

Today, I went out on the bus and had some ideas for a blog post. I got out my notebook and pen, proceeded to write but the bus journey was bumpier than I expected. I gave up after a few words and listened to a radio podcast instead.