The post card. The U.S. mail. We've probably noticed fear building up around the decline of snail mail (can we call it paper mail, instead?). We hear rumors that our post office boxes will be closed and that Saturday delivery will be ended. Some cities and towns have had closures already. Who is to blame? We are. We like our fast technology so we are writing fewer actual paper letters and cards. Maybe you, in particular, aren't to blame, but lots of somebodies are. As our times and habits change we always have to address the question: do we try to save the past or let it go?
Bonnie O'Connell and the Friends of the College Book Art Association are trying to save it. They've taken on "A national campaign to save the United States post office by inviting everyone in America to mail any postcard to anyone on the 14th day of every month" and they are launching the project today. They are recommending that you "Find or make a printed, altered, or handmade postcard, address to anyone, attach a 32 cent stamp, drop in a mailbox!" While the actual date you mail it shouldn't matter, the idea of having a monthly—why not weekly?—practice to make and mail a postcard or letter is a good one. A small, manageable project, mail art can be used to sketch out ideas, explore a technique, have fun, finish, and give away.
If you would prefer being on the receiving end, The Rumpus, an online magazine "focused on culture," has recently started a new mail subscription series called "Letters in the Mail." Sign up and pay $5 a month and you will receive a paper letter from an author almost every week. You can write them back but it is unclear if you will receive a personal reply. You can also pay for a year in advance or send a subscription as a gift. Each letter is from a different writer and duplicated for all the subscribers.
These are only two of what I suspect are many more projects to help us get back to letterwriting and postcard sending. In a previous post I mentioned mail art and I sent out some odds and ends via the paper mail. Today in honor of my love for stamped ephemera, I repeat my offer to send you something. If you are one of the first three people to comment and would like to receive a postcard, please also send me an email with your paper mail address.
I went to the post office window to buy first class stamps. "Are they all Forever stamps?"
I asked. The postal worker answered sadly, "Yes, and they're gonna last forever."
The neighborhood dogs are barking in chorus again. Must be the letter carrier…