Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Save the Paper Mail

Here it is, Valentine's Day. I wasn't going to mention it, let alone post anything remotely related to it, but something appeared in my IN box that seemed worthy of note on this particular day.

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…



henrietta (aka ani aka zani) said...

great idea...paper snails for all-ways. thank you.

Lynn said...

Great idea. I've been trying to force myself to get back into the habit of sending *real* mail to people. The idea of a handmade postcard is lovely.

Barbara L. said...

I love snail (paper) mail and have very few friends who still use it. However my cardmaking friends keep the PO moving a bit more than once a month! Your idea is great for everyone.

Barbara L. said...

I'm Barbara L. who just left a note and would love to receive your card but don't know where to email you with my address. Help, please.

Alisa said...

Thanks Barbara L.
Email is on the contact page of my never mind the press website (link on the right or www.neverbook.com)

Janet Hickey said...

It would be wonderful to get paper mail that wasn't generated by a computer included in a mass mailing. Sigh...

On another note, I was so excited last week - I came across the last book of yours I didn't have and bought it! It would be the saddest day if books like yours were only available on the computer. Thank you for your efforts to get your knowledge in print for those of us that must touch, mark, post-it, and touch again.

Happy Valentines Day,

Alisa said...

Thanks, Janet, and you're welcome. If you would also like a postcard, please go to my website/contact page and send me your paper mail address.

I'm happy to extend the offer to the first four who both comment and tell me where to send the postcard.

Happy Valentine's Day to all the Readers!

anne said...

Hi Alisa, I would love to receive a postcard from you. I'll send you an email shortly.

I participate in a project called Postcrossing. I send postcards to random Postcrossing members somewhere in the world, and then I receive postcards back from different Postcrossing members.

I get mail almost every day from people all over the world (took me a while to build up to that, though) and I love the variety of cards, messages, decorations (or not), and stamps.

People are so much alike, really. They live with valued family members and pets, they have dreams and goals, they go to school or have a job. I love it!

You can find out more about Postcrossing at www.postcrossing.com.


Alisa said...

Thanks, Anne. I knew there would be more projects out there and the internet is a fantastic way to organize them.

While this concludes the give-away part of the Valentine post, if anyone else knows of mail art projects, please continue to comment here. Thanks!

Barbara L. said...

Alisa, I have tried on 2 browsers and following your instructions and find no email address to send my snail mail address. I guess I'll just have to give up.

Alisa said...

My contact info may be found on my never mind the press website here: