Reflections on a Month of Letters

Well, the month is almost over, which means, among other things, the Month of Letters Challenge is drawing to an end. This was my first year participating, and in this case, bowing to peer pressure turned out to be a good thing! I can’t say I conquered the challenge. I know I didn’t mail a letter every single day mail was delivered, and I certainly fell behind in the last week (those letters will go out eventually, I swear!) Regardless of not following the rules accurately, I had a lot of fun.

The original idea behind the Month of Letters Challenge is to get people to slow down and disconnect, or at least connect in a different way. There is something intimate about handwriting missives, and I do feel I got to know some of the people I corresponded with better than I knew them before. While I’m not a particularly crafty person, I enjoyed using my limited artsy-crafty abilities to make personalized cards. While I didn’t know everyone I corresponded with personally, or IRL as the kids probably no longer say, I did my best to send people something that made me think of them in some way based on what I did know about them. Oh, and there was sealing wax. I loved playing with sealing wax. (I may or may not have burned a small hole in my pants doing so. I can neither confirm nor deny those rumors.)

One potentially interesting outcome of participating in Letter Month is that I was inspired to reconnect with my childhood pen pal. Our grandfathers served together in WWII and remained friends throughout their lives. Our mothers were friends and pen pals growing up. Our aunts even briefly corresponded. And we were pen pals for many, many years. About ten years ago we fell out of touch for no particular reason. Life gets busy, days, weeks, and eventually years get lost. But in a month dedicated to slowing down, and turning back the clock in a way, I decided it only made good sense to send a real, honest-to-goodness handwritten letter to the person I’ve exchanged the most handwritten letters with in my lifetime. It remains to be seen whether or not she’ll write back, but I hope she does.

Regardless of whether all the folks I wrote to write back, Letter Month was a fun experience, and I intend to participate again next year. Below, is an illustration of some of the fabulous things I received in the mail – dinosaurs and art cards and a pink mustache, oh my! Letter Month certainly made going to the mailbox exciting every day, and it was nice to occasionally find something waiting for me other than junk mail, bills, and catalogs for Gary Who-Doesn’t-Live-Here-And-Never-Did McPhearson.

Month of Letters

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