My next Inspiration Sandwich task was to take on SARK’s advice to, “Write more love letters.”
She writes,”Letters are a chance for the soul to speak. A mood captured in the fibers of the paper, a world in an envelope which will not exist until it is opened. Love letters make love stay visible. You can rub it, smell it, touch it, share it and sleep with it under your pillow.”
She then goes on to describe all kinds of love letters one could write – on a sheet that you can sleep under, on the sidewalk in chalk, in the sand, to yourself, on a cotton scarf.
Obviously, mail used to be more important and necessary. Now, some people look down upon it because they are “busy” and have Facebook and e-mail to use when the mood strikes to be chatty. The other day I was reading some comments in an online community and one person said that if anyone he interviewed for a job had ever sent him a thank you note he would have thought them weird and “stalker-ish.”
I read this after just having mailed a thank- you note to someone I interviewed with. Admittedly, I really debated the hand-written thank you note but did it anyway, thinking that it was in keeping with my style, but now I wonder if a simple e-mail would have been better.
I think there are some things we forget about love “letters.” First, they don’t have to be written to a lover or spouse. They can go to friends. Second, they don’t have to be pages long, full of our deepest thoughts and desires. Sometimes they can be a few words can be just as loving.
I already have a drawer dedicated to cards, stationary and postcards. Although I rarely send mail, I love to collect the items that make mail possible. I buy postcards impulsively – not just on vacation but often in antique and book stores. I buy beautiful greeting cards when I see them, tucking them away for later.
I think this last habit comes from my mom, who had a “Greeting Card” binder when I was growing up. It was a binder with a card storage pocket and a place to note important birthdays each month so you would always be prepared.
Never be caught without a card, was my mom’s motto.
Sark’s suggestion to write more love notes is definitely a way to put my postcard collection to proper use. I have postcards from every genre.
From my period of being obsessed with Airstreams:
To my love of horses and cowgirls:
To the grave site of Elvis:
To long-dead zoo animals:
Plus, postcards only allow for so much writing. The old ones will say “This space for writing” on the left-hand side and then give you about a 2×3 inch space to do so. Not enough room to pour your heart out but enough to share the bones of what you’re feeling, hoping or wishing.
So, as a first step, I gathered up some of my postcards and wrote them to friends, trying to come up with words or phrases I thought would delight or inspire the recipients. Sometimes I just wrote a line or two that was what I was feeling about them. The fun part was deciding what card/image to use for the person.
I spiffed up my “writing drawer,” adding pens I like (SARK would have you writing all your correspondence with magic markers, using a different color for every word) and a set of stamps to my collection of envelopes, postcards, greeting cards and stickers.
Yes, stickers. I don’t know if I should still have a collection of stickers, but I do.
Will the receivers of my messages think I’m weird? Well, maybe. But I also think that part of them will be excited to come home to mail. And perhaps someone will reply.
Tips for love notes:
- Have regular rate and postcard rate stamps on hand.
- If you want a unique collection of cards and postcards, scour antique malls and thrift stores. I’ve found tons of postcards and greeting cards this way, some of them still in their original, unopened packages. A vintage card always looks cool and the art is often better than what we can get in stores today.
- If you’re not sure what to write to someone, draw a picture. Make a collage on a card. Write down a quote you like. Think of one word they might appreciate – and “get” because it’s coming from you. Stuff like this is what people save or tack up on boards and refrigerators and, when their eye catches it, it’s a pause in the day that can make them feel great. Someone cares!
- Use pens in colors and inks that you love. Writing a note in a boring ballpoint is not inspiring. You don’t have to take it to SARK level though – a fine, black ink pen is as good as 7 colors of marker.
- Sometimes you don’t have to mail your note. Find a creative way to get it to your recipient.
You can read more Living By the Book posts about Inspiration Sandwich here. Coming up next: Meditate.