Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Introducing The Letter Jar Challenge

I've discovered the answer to the question I posed in my last blog post -- now that I've spent a year writing letters, what do I do next?

Of course. I'm going to encourage others to join me.

In the letters I have written to family, friends, old coworkers, teachers and all order of long lost mentors and pals over the last year, I've referred to The Letter Jar project as "one woman's crusade to save the dying art of the handwritten letter."

But must it really be the crusade of just "one woman?" Surely there must be others like me and my friend T, who in a recent letter back to me referred to himself as a "post-Luddite -- one who eschews technology and is yet high tech." In fact, I know there are others like us -- letter-writing bloggers like The Missive Maven and Jackie from Letters and Journals.

And who else? That's what I hope to find out.

Let's start a letter-writing movement.

Let's put down the iPhones, if even for a moment, and pick up our pens.

Let's write to our mothers, our dear friends, our old teachers and bosses.

Let's tell them what we remember about them, how much they mean to us, what we learned from them.

Let's be brief and witty or long-winded and soulful.

Let's write on our best lined paper or that stationery with frogs on it, that we just couldn't ever find a use for.

Let's express our thoughts in handwritten waves, seal them up in envelopes and send them on fantastic voyages.

Then, let's talk about it here. You don't have to name names, or reveal exactly what you wrote. But how does the person to whom you wrote fit into your life? How did writing the letter feel? Were you thankful or joyful or wistful or pensive? Why did you choose who you did? Why -- or why not -- do you think you'll hear back?

Any good challenge needs a worthy prize. Let's kick off our first week with something every letter-writer can use: postage. From all the comments I receive through next Tuesday, March 8, about the letters being written -- and the people writing them -- I'll choose someone at random to receive a book of first-class stamps.

With further ado, let me issue the inaugural Midweek Motivation. I'm pulling a name from The Letter Jar and it is ... B, a former work colleague who was not only a good collaborator, but also a friend who still inspires me to be my best professionally and personally.

Who is a current or former coworker who has had an impact on your life? Have you ever expressed just how that person influenced you? What might you say to thank him or her?

Write on!

ALREADY DONE? WANT TO WRITE SOME MORE? Then check out the love letter contest that author Kristina McMorris is sponsoring to promote her debut novel, Letters From Home. Her  prize is a WWII memory box full of gorgeous stationery, a fleur-de-lis wax seal and nostalgic goodies. Contest ends March 31 -- get the details here. Letters From Home comes to bookstores this month.


LisavVi said...

Besides writing to various penpals, I write to my grandmother every week. She is in poor health and doesn't get out much. I write just to tell her what I've been doing, how the kids are, and let her know I'm thinking of her. I usually include a picture or two.

chewytulip said...

Much like the person who posted just before me, I used to make postcards regularly and send them to my grandfather. The cards would be bright, colorful,and weird. He didn't ever say much, but he displayed them all on his coffee table. :)

Karen said...

In grade 9, my family moved to the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and I knew nobody. My first week in a big city school was quite intimidating after moving from small town Nova Scotia. Then, one day in English class, a girl sitting behind me leaned over and introduced herself. We ended up become close friends throughout high school and she saw me through some rather difficult times. We lost touch years ago when we both married and moved to separate parts of the country. However, I recently tracked her down and wrote her a letter letting her know how important her friendship was to me during those teenage years. I am certain the letter was well received and brought a smile to her face, which was my intent!