Letter Writing Supply Bins
I’ve been writing letters these past few days, weeks. I find I need some momentum to really get going, otherwise one greeting card in the mail for a special occasion just wipes me right out.
Over the years, I’ve sometimes been inconsistent depending on the season of life, and generally count myself extremely lucky to have pen pals that keep writing back to me. Are we Luddites so few in number that the unfortunate and long-suffering correspondents upon whom I am attached like a mollusk on the underside of a rock have no choice but to accept my deficiencies? With me, especially, it has taken a long time to develop friendships over correspondence, but these are some of my favourite people in the world.
I’ve discovered that one way to continue to maintain my correspondence is to dramatically lower my expectations of myself. Even if there is lots to say, or the obvious inferiority of my response length and penmanship can be daunting, sometimes just getting a notecard or a quick 1-2 page letter out into the mail is a better way to keep things going. Just a quick reminder to say: I am still thinking of you, I am still alive. There is no more important letter writing etiquette than trying your best to send something out there to cheer someone else up.
I have a bin or two of supplies, and often to begin a letter, I have the satisfaction of digging through it. How things accumulate without my hand! Those mysterious stationery elves that roam up from the studio shop at night, depositing their treasures and gifts. Sometimes I discover card sets with damaged packaging from the shop, stationery that was opened for samples, postcards from trips, nubs of sealing wax that I can melt all together into one clump, irregularly shaped cards whose matching envelopes are now missing, likely used for another purpose not knowing it was part of a pair, envelopes for bills that we’ve received in the mail but pay online, stickers, stamps, empty Canada Post glassine envelopes for postage. I have a small collection of plastic sleeves from greeting cards and every once in a blue moon I find a use for one: keeping small things like paper clips and vintage stamps together to include in a letter, taped closed around an ink sample. These plastic sleeves seem to increase in number faster than I can find good uses for them, since actually there don’t seem to be many good uses for them, but more and more greeting card companies are finding non-plastic alternatives to the plastic sleeves, so one day I will eventually find a use for my final one.
I keep intending, one day, to do a thorough cleaning out and sorting of it all. It has been a year and a bit at home in a pandemic state, and if I haven’t managed to do it so far, I’m not sure it’s in the cards for me, but hope springs eternal. I had once imagined containing all of my letter writing supplies inside one of Classiky’s wooden First-Aid boxes, and then, after my good laugh was over, continued onward in life.
There’s a unique sense of connection with people when writing by hand, sending and receiving letters in the mail. It’s so lovely to hold the pages of a letter and to be able to take the time to respond. On social media, there’s so often this aura of immediacy, all the likes and comments and new posts constantly streaming in. Everything moves so fast, you gotta run to keep up, or risk being left behind. But when you’re writing a letter to someone, you have the time and space to be thoughtful and to decide what you’d like to say. It feels like by sending something tangible, you’re sending something meaningful, something that can last.
In any case, it is satisfying to find just the right stationery or postcard or greeting card to send to the right person or for the right occasion. It’s been a long-standing goal of mine to reduce my overall hoard of stationery, but it’s sort of a moving target. More incentive, I suppose, to keep writing.
Currently reading: The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Currently eating: leftover bean salad
Current battery life remaining on iPad: 9%
Current number of shoes by the back door: 23
Latest interaction with the children:
Caleb, hiding to avoid being called for music practice, says to Naomi: “Ask mama if we can share that chocolate bar on her desk and point at it.”
Naomi: “Mama can we share that chocolate bar on your desk and point at it?”