Thursday, January 20, 2011

Unique Blend

I have written before about how this project sometimes finds me in two worlds -- a 17th century world where people waited weeks and months as their handwritten correspondence traveled miles and mountains and seas, and a 21st century one where I wait just seconds as the Web produces the address of my high school ecology teacher in response to my typed query.

This blend of old and new seems all the more striking when I find myself writing, longhand with paper and pen, to people I've met only over the Internet. There have been seven such letters, all addressed to some of the amazing women I have met through an online message board for stepmothers like me. I recently wrote to J, who has inspired me by overcoming adversity and never losing sight of her dreams even amid major turmoil:

While it might seem in some ways odd to be so moved by someone I've never met, I guess it's a testament to the power of the Internet (this whole letter-writing project might make me appear to be a Luddite, but actually I can still appreciate our wired culture) and more specifically the power of what [the stepmom site's founder] created -- I'm looking forward to writing to her and thanking her! I am really thankful for the chance to "meet" so many amazing, strong, imaginative women.

That I can count these women among my friends, and write to them along with my childhood and college friends, teachers, coworkers and family, ever reinforces the gratitude The Letter Jar project has instilled in me. It may be, as many people say, a Facebook/Twitter/e-mail world, and we're just living in it. Turns out that's fine even for an old-fashioned writer like me.

NEXT READ: I can't wait to get my hands on 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik. After hitting what seemed to him to be the indisputable rock bottom in his life, Kralik embarked on a journey to focus on what he had, versus what he didn't. What resulted were 365 thank you notes to a bevy of people that, he discovered, enriched his life in myriad ways. Hooray for the power of gratitude -- can't wait to read of his experiences.

1 comment:

Colin said...

Don't get too excited about 365 Thank Yous. So many reviews said it was 'uplifting' yet I found it depressing and figured that John was a self-centred, misery that I would hope never to sit beside on an aircraft. I gave the book enough time to get two thirds of the way through it, then I gave it to a charity shop [thrift shop U.S.] Thanks for your blogs.