Friday, 22 February 2019

February, letters, offline, thoughts

A slogan I used on a soapbox a few years ago was- Think Global, Act Local. I would love to act local in the purchasing of the nice postage stamps, but with post offices in villages being a side-venture to convenience stores / corner shops, to get the nice stamps I may have to travel miles, or buy online. The high street is declining, mine mainly has charity shops, cheapo discount stores, cafes, bookmakers. There is a post office but as one who wants to buy more than just a few stamps from the special issues, they sometimes won’t let me buy as much as I want or they’ve already sold out.
For stationery purposes, the stores on my high street don’t have much choice of jolly nice papers and paraphernalia. No chance of wax seals, nor a wide range of washi tape, nor colourful sparkly fountain pen inks available, so I do buy some things online. I want to support the local area, but should I go without if not available locally?
For friendships, I turned to snail mail. Where I live, I am still considered an outsider, even with the in-laws, and I have been here for nearly 20 years. People ignore me more often than not, in person. This place can get very isolated, lonely. I am quite shy too, so hurrah for the internet and discussion boards.
This February, I haven’t been online as much as I usually would. I have taken the time offline to write many letters, having picked strangers to write to from the website. March,  I hope will be a month of replies. Letter writing is for life, not just for February, but letter writing may not suit everybody.
I can’t really compare this year with previous years. I have a different outlook on the project from when I first started in 2013 or so. When I restarted penpalling in 2007, I was looking for commonality, same/similar interests and perhaps women with families. It didn’t really get me anywhere, and none of those initial correspondents stood the test of time. I started to expand my horizon, having joined other snail mail websites, Postcrossing, among others. I celebrated over 10 years of correspondence with a couple of penfriends. Lettermo and InCoWriMo opened my eyes wider, and I reached successfully to new penpals. Perhaps what I look for in a penpal has changed.
I don’t see snail mail as an obligation. I would like to reply to letters within a fortnight to a month of receipt, but if life/circumstance delays that, then I try not to stress. Snail mail is supposed to be fun and a relaxing hobby. Friendships should not feel like a chore. While I would like replies to the February surprise letters I have written, and yes, I may still feel disappointed if there are no surprises or replies waiting for me through the letterbox, I know there is life to be led. I do intend to reply to all letters I receive although there are some circumstances, obvious perhaps, when I would not reply.
This has taken a few hours to create, and it is eating into my letter writing time.


  1. I didn't do InCoWriMo or LetterMo this year, but maybe I'll do National Letter Writing Month in April this year. I have sometimes felt like the challenges are a chore with their goals, but I love the intention behind the goals. Almost everyone enjoys receiving a letter, but feels awkward about writing one, and all three months that celebrate snail mail can encourage others to join in.

  2. I could have written this very blog post. I have the same issues with my high street. I've just found out our post office is to move into W. H. Smith in the coming year. For a place that is always teeming with people wanting any of the many services the post office offers, I find it hard to believe it will be a satisfactory move. As a postal customer, if I don't show up on the day a stamp is released, I often don't get any of the special issues because they seem to only purchase a token amount. I often have to shop on line to get them. It's a bit disappointing when, like you, I want to support the high street shops. The charity shops are the only place I can actually find stationery other than note cards, which is all the other shops offer. As for society, letters make up most of mine because the rural area I live in caters to the rural life and doesn't have much to offer in the way of clubs or events outside that. Thank goodness for letters or I'd be very much alone.

  3. Fingers crossed for the replies. I've had a couple, despite not managing to send a letter ever day.