culture

the lost art of letter-writing. (or a snail mail comeback).

15 Aug 2013

today, after spending some time in the gym, my love and i wandered by our post box to check and see if we had any mail, hoping that when i put the key in the keyhole, turned the lock, and opened the door, there would be something fun laying there just waiting for us. i mean, really, don’t we all wish that?! something other than bills or junk.

and, you know what? today there was! it was real, live, genuine snail mail in the form of letters! and it wasn’t just me or lina that received a little surprise in the mailbox, it was both of us! from different people in different countries. so, not only was it real mail, but it was international mail… for both of us!

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there is nothing like the feeling of holding a handwritten letter, knowing that the sender had pen in hand and thought especially of you as she or he wrote those words down, folded the paper, tucked it into an envelope, and took the time to go mail it. what a special feeling.

now, i admit that i am not good at this. i am a terrible sender; but there is hope for me! i am in the middle of a little snail mail collective (as we call ourselves), which will hold me accountable to create, write, and send things to new friends that i have all over the world. and that’s exactly what i need. accountability. there’s something to be said for community – a group of people you make a commitment with.

this little “snail mail collective” is a type of pen pal group, started because of a connection on Instagram, a photo sharing social media app on smartphones. since i have been doing my belovelive photo journeys, i have connected with tons of people, who have then connected me with tons of more people, and a few of us (thanks to one very creative & organize lady) have now become a group of ladies who write letters, send photos, and connect with each other through regular mail, as well as on Instagram. it is amazing!!

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photo from @thesnailmailcollective instagram photos.

currently we have 3 rounds circling the globe (that’s right, folks, i said globe) at this very instant. the first one is 13 ladies who are sending a letter, a map, and a photo to each other. we keep the photo and letter, and then mark on the map where we are sending our letter & send it on with a letter we write & a photo we enclose. right now the map/letter are in england, making it’s 4th or 5th stop criss-crossing the continents. then it’s over to australia (where it began) and then, on to me! i can’t remember where i send it next. soooo exciting!

but, today, i didn’t receive a package that was part of the snail mail collective, per se. we are both part of the collective, but it was more of a “just because” kinda package. my little package came from an Instagram (IG) friend from melbourne, australia. we connected about 2ish months ago, and last week she sent me this little welcome package that i received today. amazing! i ran upstairs, listened to lina read her amazing letter from a dear friend in sweden, warmed some coffee, and then opened my envelope. in our collective, we have sort of decided to have a cup of tea or a cup of coffee when we open our mail, as a way to sow down and savor the moment. a great tradition, i think. so, i did just that.

9960796205b811e382e022000a1fbc68_7inside was a lace paper envelope, folded, and holding a hand-written letter, 3 photos, and a postcard of melbourne. and then, there was a little gift wrapped in green paper (my fave color!). as i unwrapped my gift, i knew what it was, and i was blown away that i received it.

about a month ago, the sender of the package, posted a photo on IG of a beautiful handmade ring. i commented that i loved it, and suddenly she replied that once i was settled in asheville, she’d send it to me as a welcoming gift. i was shocked and overwhelmed at her generosity!

e023a4ce061111e38be922000aeb0c6a_7today, i received that ring that i saw in the photo 4 weeks ago. all the way from australia. i am completely touched and overwhelmed.

so, here’s the lesson i have learned:

  1. instagram is an amazing way to meet people!
  2. kindness and generosity still exist in the world.
  3. paying it forward only spreads more joy and happiness.
  4. there is, and never will be, anything to replace the power of snail mail.

sending thoughts of love and peace to you all.

 

No Comments

  • Reply Laura4NYC 15 Aug 2013 at 23:28

    How I missed this blog! What an awesome idea the “ladies” had. And what a beautiful, beautiful ring. I hope you get to participate in the snail mail chain and not only be a silent observer/receiver. I remember having penpals when I was 10,11, and 12 – good times. Before the Internet overtook my day completely and chat rooms were created. Mail is such a personal thing. I still look forward to receiving post cards and birthday letters every once in a while. I also made a point in printing out a few of my pix in post card format and sending them out while in Mexico. Try it, it’s fun!

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:34

      Oh Laura, you are so very sweet to say that!

      I am already a participant… the deal is to receive and send back & forth, so I’ve been gathering things to send and getting my envelopes all ready. I had pen pals, too, when I was a kid… I think mine lived in South Koren. Her name was Nygyen. Crazy that I remember that. As for the photos, I have already ordered and received some of my IG photos and it is so much fun to send them off to people!

      So great to hear from you! Glad Mexico was amazing and I’m looking froward to hearing about it on your blog. 🙂 xx

  • Reply Louise Gallagher 16 Aug 2013 at 08:45

    I love your collective! What a fabulous idea — and the ring is beautiful.

    And… I really really love the idea of intentionally stopping, pouring a cup of tea before reading your letter. How lovely!

    Like Laura — I too had penpals at that age — and it was so much fun!

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:30

      The tea and coffee during the opening makes it all the better! xo

  • Reply Floppet 16 Aug 2013 at 12:33

    That ring is so cute! I get so excited every time I receive something in the post, it’s such a novelty these days

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:25

      Thank you! I know… it’s like Christmas!

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  • Reply Britney T 17 Aug 2013 at 23:43

    Love, love, love this!! I’ve always loved getting something in the mail other than bills. I used to sign up for lots of free samples- my husband thought I was crazy, but I love getting free stuff and love wondering what new goodies the mail may bring. Funny you should post this now because I’ve been wanting to send some snail mail (it’s on my long to do list)!Things have been busy for me with moving and starting a new job- so I keep putting it off, but I need to get busy and send some mail 🙂

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:16

      Haha!! That is so funny that you signed up for things. I love that!! Hope the move has gone well for you. I know… it’s super crazy. When you make it back to Asheville for a visit, let me know, so we can meet up if you want! Good luck with the snail mail!

  • Reply thisismelly 18 Aug 2013 at 05:58

    that is soooo beautiful! I saw your gorgeous ring on IG and love it even more now that there’s a sweet little story behind it! love the collective xx

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:12

      Thanks Melly! I truly love it. The ring, and the collective. 🙂

  • Reply Audrey 18 Aug 2013 at 07:44

    What a great idea and so much fun!! I get excited (for a second) each day when the mail comes, especially at Christmas when I know there will be cards! There truly are still good, kind, generous people all around us. We just have to make the effort to have contact with them 😉 Enjoy your mail and keep us “posted”!

    • Reply liz 18 Aug 2013 at 20:11

      I will most definitely keep you posted. Hehe! I really need to incorporate more letter writing into my life. I can feel a comeback in the making. 😉

  • Reply Alarna Rose Gray 19 Aug 2013 at 07:37

    Wow! Are we on some kind of karmic wavelength or what, this week? That’s a gorgeous gift, Liz…and I can’t believe it came all the way from Oz! Love the snail mail idea… nothing like the sensory experience to add some colour to the day. Hope you are still smiling 🙂

    • Reply liz 19 Aug 2013 at 08:09

      I am still smiling! And I, too, was so geeked out with excitement to discover that we had the same snail mail vibe going on. 🙂 xx

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