Thursday, October 28, 2010

What We're Reading Now

Sometimes books come along that, like a wise, sympathetic, and inspiring friend, let you know you are not alone in your beliefs, preferences, or habits.  Open the cover, read a few lines, and suddenly you’re part of a collective rather than being a loner.  Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler’s book Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art has been the most recent of my “good friend” books.* 

More than a year ago, frustrated with the mass audience of facebook, I tried to renew letter-writing relationships with far flung friends and family.  It was slow going, and I began to wonder if a need to send and receive letters was just another strange quirk, like not liking the feel of wood decking on bare feet, or believing there is such a thing as “too sweet.”  However, just as I was waning in my commitment to the post, Good Mail Day appeared to cheer me on and reassure me that a small, dedicated, and sane (or at least not any weirder than anyone else) group of people still communicate through the mail.  

Good Mail Day has kept me writing to friends (new and old) and family, and it’s also inspired me to start making mail art.**  My husband says he’s noticed that I am cheerier and more focused since I decided to keep the computer screen dark at night and turn my attention to pen, paper, scissors, glue, and stamps.  So here's to the authors, my pen pals, and the USPS.   

 Envelopes/postcards (clockwise from upper left) by: Carolee W. of SF, Kevin J. of Lummi Island, Pamela G. of SF (center and lower right), Stephanie B. of NYC, and Bryan K. of Long Beach

*Other fairly recent books on the “good friend” list include The Introvert Advantage: How to Survive in an Extroverted World by Marti Olson Laney and Thomas Moore’s A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do.  

**Mail art is a decades-long tradition comprised of an interesting and egalitarian network of folks sending art through the mail. 

-T. Jones

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