I recently interviewed Samara O’Shea, author of “For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to Letter Writing” for a story I wrote for my newspaper about the seemingly lost art of putting pen to paper. (The story will appear in Monday’s edition of The Grand Rapids Press, so check back here Monday for a link to the story. I will also be posting my chat with O’Shea as an upcoming podcast, so stay tuned for that. )
Some of you may be wondering what letter writing has to do with crafting. Well, I believe there’s a pretty clear overlap in the sense that when we make things with our hands we are, in a way, documenting our lives, each stitch a testament to how that time in the studio or craft room, subway or sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office was spent.
Just like rereading a stack of old letters, when we look at the handcrafted items we’ve made we can often remember what what going on in our lives at the time we created them. Handcrafted items are a lot like letters that way. They can serve as tangible evidence of our creative past and, if we take the time to review them, a possible road map for our future.
I had several pen pals when I was a kid and LOVED the thrill of finding a letter addressed to me waiting in the creaky mailbox that used to hang off the front of my childhood home right below the house number. I could never seem to find the letter opener fast enough to read the latest installment of the dramatic, teenage adventures my pen pals would chronicle for me on pretty stationary. And then I would write back with my own. Regrettably, I’ve since lost contact with these former pals and gotten out of the habit of writing long letters on fancy paper.
So, Samara’s book inspired me to go ahead and do something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I got a P.O. Box at my local U.S. Post Office and hope to find some interesting mail in it soon. Those looking to send samples of their work or Press kits to be considered for upcoming podcasts are invited to write me. But what I’m really hoping for are some letters from the interesting people who listen to the podcast and read this blog. I’d love to get a letter from you, dear reader, telling me a little bit about your life and what you make. And I’d love to be able to publish some of those letters here on my blog. Have a crafty question or story to tell? Send your letter to:
CraftSanity Podcast producer
P.O. Box 888192
Grand Rapids, MI 49588-8192
I’m a craft podcaster, not a rock star, so I do not expect to be overwhelmed with mail. This means that I should be able to write back to all those who take the time to send me personal letters. Every week I reveal a little more of myself in my conversations with the movers and shakers of the crafty world. Now, I’d like to give you a chance to tell me your story.
For those of you itching to get cool mail, too, I have good news. I have BIG plans for a fabric postcard swap and separate pen pal exchange. Check back here for more details on those opportunities in the coming weeks.