February is the Month of Letters (Sez Mary)

stationery, postcards, pens, mail, letters, letter writingThose of you who have been reading my blog for a while know how I feel about letter writing. Opening your mailbox to see a handwritten postcard or letter is one of my favorite things. Along with brown paper packages tied up in string, of course.

So when I heard about the Month of Letters Challenge through some friends on a social network, I was intrigued. When I read the post about it on novelist Mary Robinette Kowal’s website, I was excited. And I decided to participate.

The two-part concept is simple: for every day in February that the postal service runs in your area, mail something. It could be a letter, a note, a clipping from a magazine or newspaper, a photo, a postcard. You can mail something to your next-door neighbor or to someone on the other side of the world. Part two of the challenge is to write back to everyone who writes to you. The bonus is that mailed replies count toward your final tally for the month.

I confess, this will probably be fairly easy for me, since I’ve been in the habit of sending postcards and notes and cards to people for the past year. But there are a few letters I have wanted to write and haven’t, for whatever silly reason, so the Month of Letters Challenge is my incentive to finally write that letter to my childhood friend who lives in Europe with her husband and three daughters.

For those who want to participate but are slightly daunted, fear not. I have provided you with some pro tips:

  • On a budget? Check your local thrift shop for like-new, unused postcards and stationery. I’ve scored a large number of postcards from all over the world by going to my SPCA Thrift Store and perusing the stationery/postcard section. Sometimes used cards sneak into the available selection, so check first before buying.
  • Hate your handwriting? You’re allowed to type your letters. Just no emailing. I’m watching you. But consider this: the more you write things by hand, the better your handwriting gets. Unless you’re a doctor.
  • Get some nice writing tools. I am addicted to office supplies, so I don’t need another incentive to go to Office Depot, Staples, or Office Max. Trust me when I say a fabulous pen can make all the difference when it comes to handwriting letters. If you can afford a Waterman or Mont Blanc fountain pen, go for it. (Hint: Lamy fountain pens are fairly inexpensive and write nicely.) Otherwise look for a pen that has nice heft to it and doesn’t make your fingers cramp. I am a fan of Dr. Grip pens, which come in ballpoint and gel ink. I also like Sharpie pens – they are acid free and don’t bleed through paper.
  • Don’t know what to write? Get creative. Relay a funny story about your pet or your child. Share one of your favorite recipes. Transcribe a poem. List five things in a random category, such as favorite movies starting with the letter C, books that changed your life, or your least favorite foods. Hint: using postcards or small notecards means you have much less space to fill up with text.

Join me, won’t you? It should be a lot of fun. You have a day to go buy stamps and find some decent stationery. And if you need some pen pals for the month, check out the forums on the official Month of Letters Challenge website.

Happy Birthday Moxie!

Yep, that’s right, kids, it’s my birthday. And since I did this for Momcat and Pops, I might as well keep up the tradition and do a list of some of my favorite things. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably already familiar with some of these things. For the Moxie neophytes, take notes. There will be a test later.

I have been studying astrology and Tarot for 8 years. I find both disciplines to be incredibly fascinating and a great tool for self-awareness. I love analyzing astrology charts for other people, as well as reading Tarot cards for them. Anyone who’s into Tarot will tell you that there are tons of Tarot card and oracle decks on the market, and that it’s very tempting to just keep accruing decks. I have four oracle decks and four Tarot decks – and yes, I want more. Sue me.

I grew up in a very diverse town and went to school with a number of Indian kids. As such, I attended parties at the homes of my Indian classmates and had my fair share of curries, raita, mango chutney, and other classic Indian dishes. Nowadays I consider an Indian brunch buffet to be a smorgasbord of comfort food. Bring on the vegetarian samosas and the chicken tikka masala!

I admit it, I love this movie. Yes, yes, it’s got a stupid plot and lame dialogue, but dear god, it’s Olivia Newton-John! She’s a muse and she’s inspiring the guy with the ugly hair to go be creative! You have to believe we are magic! You just have to!

I have this weird addiction to office supplies. Paper, pens, notebooks, clips, day planners, binders, Post-It notes, folders…it all makes me drool with delight. Walking through Staples or Office Depot is therapeutic to me. Aunt Gigi has a similar office supply addiction, and as a result she has given me some of the funkiest, coolest file folders, notepads, and pens. My favorite thing so far is the file folder that says “It’s Good to Be the Queen.” Hell yeah!

Featured on TLC’s “Miami Ink,” Chris Nunez is part owner of a tattoo shop and a bar in Miami. When I see him on TV, I get slack-jawed and giggly and stupid. Just writing about him makes me feel a little loopy. I love the dark, mysterious-looking guys, which as we now know can be my Achilles heel.

Karaoke is another form of therapy for me. I love attention, so it’s only fitting that I love to get up in front of people and do something, anything, to make them look at me. Fortunately I have a decent enough voice that I can belt out “Lady Marmalade” and not have people pay me to shut up. While I have yet to buy my own karaoke CDs, I do have a spreadsheet on my Palm TX with all the songs I like to sing, broken down by venue and/or karaoke DJ. God bless technology.