The weather outside in my town of Hudson, Ohio is frightful. It’s 32 degrees with snow, then sleet, but though the weather outside is frightful I’m having a delightful day with a number of my interesting pen friends who have come to call to keep me company. There’s Randall from California, Jenna from Maryland and Margie from Nova Scotia.
Letter writers never need to feel lonely because even if it’s not a mail day, or even if no letters happen to arrive in the mail that day, a letter writer can still have the company of others as she or he enjoys writing a letter to an interesting pen friend.
And it’s not only the actual writing that’s fun when composing a letter. There’s lots of fun to be had in creating the stationary for that letter. I love to draw flowers on my letter paper and along the edge of the paper I tell my letter friend a little bit about that flower. Just the other day a letter friend told me if she ever feels dreary she draws flowers. It must be something about the beauty of the flower that gets into our spirit. Of course you could draw whatever appeals to you if flowers aren’t your thing, but I promise your drawing, whatever it is, will amuse your correspondent.
There’s something about art play. Lots of people are discovering coloring books for I see millions of them in bookstores these days, but who needs a coloring book? Just draw and color your very own picture. I know you can do it!
Practice makes improvement
But what’s especially magical about letters is how we can share ideas with people far away, people we would probably never meet in normal everyday life if it weren’t for letters. It’s amazing to think with letters alone you can develop a best friend without ever leaving your easy chair. All you have to do is join a letter writing group like The Letter Exchange. Then, even if the weather is far too unpleasant for you to venture out and socialize you can socialize from that easy chair while sipping a favorite drink as you sit comfy by the fire.
It takes me months to wish all my pen friends a Happy New Year, but what a fun task. In this world of texts and impersonal emails and Facebook messages I think it’s refreshing to sit quietly and think of one person at a time, writing to them, reflecting on and with them – one to one.
If we make our letter pretty as well as thought-filled our penfriend will feel honored that we used our precious time to focus on her. Our letter becomes a friendly compliment. Don’t you light up when you find a letter addressed just to you in your mailbox? I sure do.
I learn a lot from letters too. My pen friend Margie from Nova Scotia is married to a lobster fisherman. Because of Margie I now know a lot more about lobsters and the life of a lobster fisherman. Margie sends pictures too. The pictures enhance her descriptions and make her letters even more interesting and enjoyable. It’s good to keep learning and not only about things, but also about people and how differently their lives might be from our own. Living in Hudson, Ohio I’d never meet a lobster fisherman, but thanks to letters I now have a personal relationship with one.
We’re all so different with so many different interests. My pen friend Randall likes to draw as I do, and he also enjoys writing poetry. So far he hasn’t gotten me into writing poetry, but you never know. I might try to write a poem someday. Randall is educating me too, as Margie is.
Randall introduced me to Charles Baudelaire, a French poet of the past, his role model. Charles advocated writing short poems and walking. He loved walking through the streets of Paris. Who wouldn’t? I may not be writing poetry in the near future, but I will be walking the streets of Paris like Charles did because I will be spending a week in Paris with my family this May and I bought a book called Walks in Hemingway’s Paris. I’m sure Randall and all my other pen friends will be hearing about these walks that I take and they will undoubtedly also be getting pictures from these walks. Why? You know. Sharing doubles the joy.
Sharing is a good thing. We humans were not created to live in isolation. We can share with our family and local friends, but if you are a letter writer you can also share with lots and lots of other people. Sharing will become a hobby in itself. What will you share? You’ll be sharing all sorts of things in your letters – your travels, your latest shopping adventure and that new swim suit you purchased. You’ll share your dreams and your creative ideas.
You can share a picture of that French potato pie you made recently along with its recipe. You can share anything and everything in your letters. Others will share with you too. It’s so fun!
My penfriend Jenna loves the writings of Jane Austen. I do too. Do you? She told me her love affair with Jane’s books began when she was 10 years old and her aunt gave her the book, Emma. Do you have a favorite author or favorite book? Most letter writers are also fond of books and books become a regular topic in letters. Who needs a book club when your letter friends report on all their latest book adventures? If you are a fan of Jane Austen Jenna suggests you find Jane’s History of England. She says the book is quite “a trip”! I’ll have to look for that book. Jenna’s got me curious.
So I hope you are a letter writer like me, enjoying all the pleasures this lovely old art provides , but if you aren’t, there’s no time like the present to get started. Write your old auntie. Write your friend who moved away. Write a letter to anybody at all. Sit quietly. Doodle a little drawing on the paper, maybe even write a short poem as Charles Baudelaire and Randall suggest. Join The Letter Exchange and connect with people from all over the world. You’ll be glad you did when you go to your mailbox and find lots of letters addressed just to you. And you WILL find these letters for there’s an old saying – when you give good things come back to you. Give a letter. Get a letter.