Friday, November 27, 2020

Messages in a Bottle

 Messages in bottles? Message in some bottles? Culs de sac? Statutes of limitations? Brothers in law?

In this case it's probably messages in bottles, because the point is that one of my pandemic coping mechanisms has come in the form of letter writing. Yes, actual letters, with actual paper and pen. I've got a fantastic setup in my office -- complete with comfy chair, adjustable lap desk, and storage ottoman. I have a lot of supplies to store:  a bevy of fold-and-mail stationery (which I'd taken a shine to in England); refillable, capless pen (which just makes me feel fancy and is easy for one-handed use); and clipboard (also a one-handed must).

I started by writing to friends and family as a way of feeling connected in disjointed times. I know it helped me. I hope my missives have at least been entertaining to others. I've also been journaling again -- which I'd done  in my youth but from which I'd taken a long respite. I suppose this blog has fulfilled many of the purposes of a journal or diary -- as an external outlet for internal processing. Letter writing did the same, though with a very targeted audience in mind. My journal is now, similarly, just a long letter, though only written to and for myself (or no one), which is quite liberating -- to shout into the void when no one is listening. That got me thinking about literal messages in bottles -- written without knowledge or expectation of receipt or recipient. I tried sending a few, random letters to no one in particular, just to see how it felt (not looking to be rescued). No responses yet, but that was kind of the point. I'll either hear back or I won't. I looked a little into pen pal matching services, but they were suspicious, in that they're inherently skeptical of writers'  intent. And I wanted to go into it with the best of intentions, simply to share a little of myself with others who might feel a need to connect with someone, anyone. And that's when I found The World Needs More Love Letters. They create just those kinds of connections, so it was easy for me to jump in with both feet. Ironically, I also discovered I'd been using some of their mailers all along.

Because letter writing has been a saving grace for my year, I wanted to post this as my Thanksgiving entry and invite anyone who sees this and is interested to post their own letter requests in Comments below. I'm also always happy to receive as well as give: 

Ken Shapiro

24 Valley Rd.

Cumberland, ME  04021 


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