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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » A Month of Letters

   
Author Topic: A Month of Letters
genevive42
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quote:
The Challenge
In September 2010, I took a month off from the internet. During my vacation, I told people that they could correspond with me by paper letter. Some people did. Some people still are. Every letter delights me.

When I write back, I find that I slow down and write differently than I do with an email. Email is all about the now. Letters are different, because whatever I write needs to be something that will be relevant a week later to the person to whom I am writing. In some ways it forces me to think about time more because postal mail is slower. “By the time you get this…” It is relaxing. It is intimate. It is both lasting and ephemeral.

How so? I find that I will often read the letters that I receive twice. Once when I get them and again as I write back. So, that makes it more lasting. It is more ephemeral because I don’t have copies of the letters that I write and I am the only one who has copies of the letters that my correspondents write. So, more ephemeral.

I have a simple challenge for you.

1.In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
2.Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.
All you are committing to is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 23 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month.

Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and write for an audience of one. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.

Feeling intimidated? It’s fewer words than NaNoWriMo and I know how many of you do that. Join me in The Month of Letters Challenge.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Robinette Kowal


I just signed up for this. I think it's going to be a lot of fun and an interesting way to flex the writing muscles. It certainly encourages creativity and gives you the opportunity to focus on your prose.

Here's the main site: http://lettermo.com/

And the G+ community: https://plus.google.com/?gpsrc=gplp0#communities/110074616888045740113

Also note that Mary Robinette Kowall is on Writing Excuses, was the VP of SFWA, and is all around involved in the spec fic writing community. I met her at WorldCon in 2011 and discovered she's a really nice person, too.

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Robert Nowall
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Speaking as a postal clerk, I appreciate the extra business.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Mary is also a former Hatracker.
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Reziac
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I thought I remembered the name!

It's an interesting concept and observation. I remember back when email took over the world, a bunch of people I'd been paper-corresponding with for years, or even decades, stopped using paper cold-turkey, and I didn't hear from any of them again until I got email myself.

Tho I wonder if that long-ago habit of paper-based communication is why I don't view emails as entirely "now". Some are like phone calls, true enough, but others are more like old-time letters.

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genevive42
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This starts tomorrow and there's still plenty of time to get in on the act. A quick trip to the website will get you addresses of other participants and you can always write to the people you already know. You can even write to the same person every day if you want.

So break out those pens and get writing!

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EVOC
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I saw this on G+. I plan to do this. In fact, I better get more stamps today.

I didn't know there was a website, so I just registered. My user name is the same there as here.

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genevive42
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I've filled out a few envelopes ahead just to keep myself on track. Still have to write the letters though.
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genevive42
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I'm not finding you on lettermo, EVOC. I'll keep looking though.
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genevive42
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Ah, found you.
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Robert Nowall
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Just be careful what you write on a postcard...'cause everybody who handles them between you and your addressee can read them. And often do, believe me.
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genevive42
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Ha, hadn't thought about that Robert. Thanks for the tip.
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Robert Nowall
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Well, except for legal stuff, inmates at prisons down here in Florida (and probably elsewhere) can only receive postcards. You woudn't believe what they write on them...
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