Letter Writing Club Summer Fun
Letter Writing Club is returning! Just for this summer, and then we’re going to see how it goes.
Pencil in these dates into your planner:
Monday, July 11th, 5-7 pm
Monday, August 8th, 5-7 pm
At the Main Shop
(The Studio Shop remains closed indefinitely, definitely do not go there, unless you’re just walking past after getting some fried chicken at Gushi, highly recommended.)
Letter Writing Club is where we gather with some of our letters and write for a little while, and some of the less productive of us mostly chat and snack. We’ll provide paper, envelopes, fountain pens to try out for a letter, postage. Any letters you finish you can leave with us, and we’ll make sure there’s enough postage to get to its destination and mail them off.
Bring a friend or come alone, and bring some letters to respond to or the addresses of a couple of people you’d like to write to.
Masks remain optional, but bring and wear your masks if you’re comfortable doing so. We will have extra masks if you need one. We will have some treats and drinks as well. Children looking to write their own letters are welcome. The cats will not be here, unless the outrage is voluminous enough to convince Jon (perhaps a letter writing campaign in advance?). There’s no cost to attend.
The shop is open for browsing however many of the tables will be cleared off and a lot of the products are not going to be easily accessible for browsing. You can place an order for in-store pick up if you’re coming from afar and want to make sure something is available for you, and we’ll have it ready. If you arrive early, beware getting roped into helping us set up and move tables around. Your labour will be reimbursed in egg tarts and our sincere gratitude.
In the midst of the turmoil of renovations, I’ve had the somewhat disconcerting unearthing of overwhelming amounts of stationery. I do have a fair number of fountain pens, but I usually make a conscious choice to accept a pen into the family, so it’s not completely out of hand, as opposed to the somewhat unthinking accumulation of consumable stationery that I have taken on, notebooks for intended journals stacked on top of products that I might review at some point buried under packages of letter writing paper that I tell myself I will one day use. I was probably in some sort of trance or fugue state as I piled things up on shelves, in drawers, in boxes. It’s sort of lovely and also sort of bewildering, how I got myself to this state. Some people talk about a lifetime supply of specific items (favourite pencils, special edition ink bottles, discontinued paper types), and apparently I am planning on living forever.
I have been inspired and chastened by my abundance, and have begun digging through piles of overdue correspondence, feeling both terrible and productive as I’ve been sending letters out through the post. Just down our laneway there is a mailbox, and what a brave new world it is that I’ve been sending Caleb, on his own, to mail my letters for me. No streets to cross, just don’t touch any syringes! Or garbage! And come back real quick if you see anyone peeing.
I suppose I’m feeling nostalgic—for letter writing, for our letter writing club, for the days before when events used to be a lot of work, but not a lot of work while dangling off a cliff. When the pandemic first took hold, and we had to shut down the shop, it was a matter of course that events like this were cancelled everywhere. We had bigger fish to fry. And now that fish have been frying for months and seasons and years, everyone tired of fried fish, here we are looking back on how things have changed and what things are still redeemable, salvageable.
I have missed these evenings. For some time I hadn’t realized how much I missed them. Once upon a time we had it once a month, and it was a lot of work for us all, the team, to get the egg tarts and coffee, to clear off the tables and organize the chairs, the staff all debating which of the broken chairs was safe enough if only the kids were going to sit on them, laying out the pads of paper and wax seals and stickers for everyone to use.
Back in the day, when these evenings were once a month, they were also something I looked forward to personally. In the days before, I would gather my letters, re-reading the ones I was planning on responding to, my stationery, pens, a glorious ritual of preparation—but all that was in preparation for seeing fellow letter writers, kindred spirits, people in our community. Conversations and laughter and trying out each other’s pens and admiring the stamps on our various letters and catching up on each other’s life events. Caleb running around underfoot, egg tart crumbs down his shirt, Naomi snoozing on my back, a cat snoozing in a bin. The shop full and bustling of writing people, what a treat in this world. An evening to fill my cup until the next month. And now we ride again.
In any case, here’s an old photo, from our 250 Carlaw location in Leslieville. Down a laneway, an era ago.
Chicken! When he was a shop cat. Would he even understand the concept of other humans anymore?