A few weeks ago I sent off a batch of letters to pen pals around the globe. Some of them I know personally, some I do not. You never know when you put that stamp on the envelope if the person receiving your letter will like what you wrote about. I seriously agonized over this.
Is my handwriting too tiny? Did I doodle too much? Do I sound like a moron?
Apparently, letter writing is coming back! Except for this time, there’s this whole crafty science to it. Like a real craftiness. Case in point: washi tape. It’s tiny, cute and according to Pinterest, there are thousands of things you can do with… tape. You can outline the envelope, make little triangle banners, make your own as a stamp, frame photos, get extra OCD with your daily planner (more on this shit later). The washi tape makes me happy. It’s cute and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I use it. Like, “Hey! I just used this fucking semi-sticky tape with balloons on it to make a statement on my mail!” When I was in high school and wanted to get fancy with tape I did one of two things:
- Used it to hold my eyelids super taut while I learned how to use eyeliner
- Used blue or black pen to draw on it, which was then used to seal a note.
I should probably use it on my taxes.
When I was a kid, I had a few pen pals. I remember going to Shoneys and on the way out, they had these kids magazines. On the back, there was a section for pen pals. I KNOW. Looking back, what a recipe for disaster. You never knew who you were writing. Always a crap shoot. Of course, no one’s parents really knew either. I’m assuming my parents just thought I was doing this letter writing thing with school.
The first letter I received was from a girl who wrote me in pencil. She wrote me on wide ruled paper and her letters were huge. I distinctly remember the entire letter. I’m not sure how that’s even possible. She wrote about how she had a pet guinea pig and she put scratch and sniff stickers all over the top. In my response to her, I wrote in pen (because I was a fancy, smart ass nine year old) and about how jealous I was that she had a pig for a pet! A REAL PIG Y’ALL. I had no idea what the hell a guinea pig was.
She never wrote back.
In high school, I picked up a newspaper of some sort (I want to say it was the Nashville Scene) that had a pen pal section on it as well. So I picked out a few names and started writing away. Within a week, I had a response from an older gentleman who liked to read books and write poetry (go figure). He had read all the classics and I was really impressed that he made it through War and Peace. Not once, not twice, but three damn times.
I sent my response off with doodles on the margin and explained the only book that I truly loved was Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski. I talked about my boyfriend and probably a slew of other dumb shit. A week later, a response. I thought it was awesome he wrote back so quickly. When the third letter arrived, my Dad came stomping up the stairs yelling my name.
Apparently, I had been writing a convicted felon in Kentucky.
And that was the end of that.
Writing letters, as we all know, seems to be a lost art form. With texting, snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, blah blah blah- why would you sit down to write someone? Because why not? I had forgotten how difficult it was to actually start a conversation when no one was there to instantly respond or like what I say with an emoji. The struggle was real you guys.
Yet, I made it work. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to my new found global friends. I tried not to make too many smiley faces with my pen and kept the doodling to a slight minimum. I even used my washi tape to reinforce the envelope. Because I’m fancy n’ shit.
I’m looking forward to receiving those response letters from Germany, France, Norway, Canada, New York, San Fransico.
I see you and I raise my glass.
Because we all know that any mail is better than junk mail.
And those damn penny saver fliers.