International Correspondence Writing Month 2018
A new year and we're almost done with January! I can hardly believe it, but to help make up for the shock of it, February is a month that brings with it Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year and abundant correspondence.* February International Correspondence Writing Month - InCoWriMo for short. The idea is to write a letter everyday for the month of February. While I certainly don't think you should stress yourself out if you miss a day or you don't have enough time, it's a fun way to commit to ten or fifteen minutes of slowing down and making a tangible connection with someone. Sometimes too many of those "easy" texts and e-mails can be convenient, but taking the time to write by hand can turn out to be a gift for both the reader and the writer. As the days of January began ticking past, I was worried I wouldn't be able to get this blog post up in time, and now here we are truly at the end of January, but perhaps it's better to just throw yourself unprepared into these sorts of challenges. I've written before about how I'm come to prefer writing to friends and pen pals with whom I've developed a real correspondence, something on a deeper level, but one thing I love about InCoWriMo is that you don't have to put a lot of pressure on yourself to write six or seven page letters to good friends each day, you can just write short and sweet notes to everyone around you - no pressure for folks to write back, although of course that would be lovely. Spread some cheer in these grey months. I strongly suspect one of the best paths to success for this month is the strategy of using a calendar or making a list from 1-28 of all the people you'd like to write to (the super stars also look up all the addresses in advance), leaving no room for the dreaded decision fatigue each day, however I'm going to embrace my inner free spirit and take it as it comes. I'm setting myself to writing to old friends and authors and small businesses and other great folks who are doing great things, and I've got a loose list in my notebook. On the other hand, I do like to make sure I've got my supplies all organized, so everything is right at hand from stamps to my address book. I've gathered some postcards and flat notecards and cards and envelopes all together in a box, along with stamps and little goodies to slip in like some temporary tattoos and stickers). A secondary bonus to this month of slowing down and re-connecting is getting through some of my overflowing stationery. I keep telling myself I'll be able to really organize my stationery cupboard and the drawers of my desk once I have the opportunity to use up some of it, but I feel like the real answer might just be additional storage. We once ran a pen pal match-up in preparation for February's correspondence, but this year things sort of got away from me. I have some vaguely twilight-zonish recollections of sitting on the bed, surrounded by piles of paper in clouds of postal codes and numbers swirling around my head, moving slowly for fear of death by a thousand paper cuts.** We love receiving snail mail around here, and if you want to write to us, our address is: Wonder Pens 105-250 Carlaw Avenue Toronto, Ontario M4M 3L1 Canada In case you need some inspiration or convincing, here are a few links related to InCoWriMo or correspondence writing in general from the past. How to find a pen pal Writing your first letter to a new pen pal Tips and tricks to get you through InCoWriMo Enclosures (stickers, temporary tattoos, tea, etc.) and things to include in your snail mail Wax seal how-to for your snail mail And if all else fails, remember our Letter Writing Club is taking place the second Thursday of February (February 8th), so even if you're not participating in InCoWriMo, you can stop by and spend a little time writing some correspondence.
***The other day, Caleb had a PD day. It was lovely in that easy, simple way that's so rare these days. We painted in the morning while the baby napped, Caleb having turned out to be a surprisingly independent artist, washing and putting away his own supplies and laying his artwork to dry on a bench - something his Montessori no doubt has taught him, which leaves me to wonder what exactly I have taught him considering his socks and pants are left strewn about the apartment everywhere. These days with the new baby are flying by, just as everyone said they would, and it's even more startling to hold Naomi as I watch my first baby growing up into this capable and independent young boy. Naomi's current version of independence is to have gone from being propped up on the bed and falling over, to now being propped up and independently realizing she's about to fall over and crying out just before she does. I'm both looking forward to spring and its fresh air and green leaves and long walks about the neighbourhood, but also dreading the march of time and how quickly everything comes. Soaking up every minute while I can.
*Even if you don't celebrate Chinese or Lunar New Year, you should consider this the perfect opportunity to go out for some dim sum. There is nothing to get you into the festive spirit like dim sum. Or perhaps in the spirit for a long afternoon nap. **Actually I got a total of zero paper cuts, but it sort of felt like I was bathing in loose paper, and the possibility was always there. And actually it was a lot of fun to match everyone up - I felt sort of like a mix between Cupid and Santa.