Looking back over the past year, the one experience that stands out head and shoulders over the others was participating in the annual International Correspondence Writing Month for the first time.
Amazingly it managed to completely reshape my year. Inspire me to no end. AND provide constant joy right up to the final days of 2015.
I stumbled across it almost completely by accident (if you believe in that sort of thing) while trying to find information to improve my handwriting.
A growing collection of fountain pens, and a resurgent interest in paper led me to the International Correspondance Writing Month website. A group of people who annually commit to writing one letter per day for the month of February.
Over the fall I had become pretty disillusioned with electronic media and began to feel we were slipping into some sort of dark ages of communication and representation.
Writing the odd email and posting the odd comment to the ether – (who knows about a net)- wasn’t in keeping with the struggle we’ve had rising from the muck to mostly literate societies who value the written word and the corresponding effort that goes into it.
All my life I’ve been told that it wasn’t the destination but the journey that’s important. Experience has repeatedly taught me this is true. The Value of clicking ‘Like’ or a button to share a post can’t begin to compare with the very human effort of getting out pen and paper, composing one’s thoughts, folding and sealing them into an envelope and the pleasure of choosing a stamp, walking to the post box to return with a handful of colourful cards and letters from around the world.
Some days it would just be one, others none. But then the little flood of letters began to trickle in as February turned into the bitterest of winters and finally spring. Soon I was drinking coffee outside on the porch with the comments of friends, eager replies, news and stories in my hand. Spring changed to summer and I continued to share wonderful adventures in paper, thought and sentiment.
Admittedly, like most correspondents who continued on long after February had ended; I did get bogged down as summer turned to fall. Many an apology went out, and a few letters were left unanswered even though I wished they weren’t. Life ploughed on in relentless form, turning up one thing then another as it piled the rock, soil and turf of commitments, unfinished projects, upcoming events and the daily grind in long furrows behind and on either side.
As the days grew shorter, I realized that even though it was unusually warm, winter would give way to spring and a few new shoots would appear through the snow by the way of names popping up on the Incowrimo website; February would arrive with the promise of new friends, new letters, fresh growth and the start of another year of letters. And like always, this one would be better than the last. Alas the new year would begin!
I don’t know how soon this years site will be up and running, but you can keep up by checking the following over the next twenty-five days and beyond.