my year in letters, 2018

 

pure imagination  ♥  the whole world is a garden  ♥  odontocetes and others 

diving into the wreck    lost worlds    pastel imperfections 

It might be tempting to characterize 2018 as a “Dark Age” for my snail mail productivity and hope that a glorious Renaissance awaits me in 2019. Given the surprising amount of medieval art scholarship I’ve done in the past year, however, I would never bandy about the reductive stereotype of the “Dark Ages” lightly. In fact, just as the Middle Ages featured some truly remarkable artistic and architectural developments, I would argue that my low-letter year has included a few instances of rather satisfying envelope-crafting.

Looking back through these posts has been honestly a little frustrating, though: I remember, for example, excitedly making those dinosaur envelopes in July with very particular recipients in mind (you may know who you are) – and then not actually having the time to send the letters until months later. What a difference from January, when I put together those envelopes from the most glorious mermaid-themed paper pack and sent them off into the world days after!

I considered deleting this blog altogether a few times this year, but I think I’ll give it another concerted try and see what happens. It’s now officially been four years (four!!) since I started my pen pal journey in January 2015, and it’s always been a joy to document the art I send and receive, the friends I’ve made, and the massive assortment international stamps I’ve collected as a result. I don’t want to stop!

I know I have not been the world’s most reliable correspondent this year, but I have not stopped thinking about you, pen pals who might be reading this! And to anyone who used to write to me but hasn’t been able to for a while – please feel free to get in touch with me. I’d love to hear from you again, and I promise I won’t judge: I’ve been there myself!

(It’s probably no surprise that I’ve enjoyed reliving the Golden Age of my snail mail days by reading through my 2017, 2016, and 2015 “Year in Letters” posts – here’s hoping 2019’s list will join their illustrious ranks!)

snail mail successes of 2017

all that is gold does not glitter ♡ parsley, sage, rosemary, & thyme 

billions & billions of stars species speaking  woodland wrapping paper

desert dreaming ♡  birds of america  all’s well that ends shell

I boast no particular pride of the speed at which I replied to letters this year (particularly after I began my master’s degree–so it goes!), but I am quite fond of the mail art designs I sent around the world whenever I had a moment to spare. It’s quality over quantity, I hope!

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what’s in my mailbox? sunken treasure

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When I return home after some weeks of travel, I always do feel a bit like an explorer when I open my mailbox: never sure what treasures I might encounter within that long-abandoned chamber.

Such letters also ease the transition of the return journey, giving me the sense that someone is welcoming me back to my normal life. So thank you, pen pals, for some especially appreciated mermaid mail this month! I’d shower you all in sand dollars if I could.

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what’s in my mailbox? pastel blend

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Last week, several museum visitors complimented my aggressively pastel, spring-themed attire: a delight, considering that during every other time the year everyone just gazes bemusedly at my seasonally inappropriate color schemes. Flowers, however, are blooming, and humans are apparently allowed to wear mint and lavender again. What a time to be alive!

It looks like my pen pals are on board with this May-ready palette, sending me a variety of softly-hued snail mail–all perfectly complementing the charmingly named “Allure Pastel Blend” of Alyssum seeds pictured above!

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postcard party

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Surprise: I’m traveling abroad today (and am posting this from the past in my usual time-hopping manner)!

Do you know what else travels? Postcards! (I kind of hope that I could get overseas faster than a postcard, but who knows?) By sheer coincidence, it seems like pen pals (and parents) have been sending me a plethora of postcards lately. I’ll let them take the lead today while I jet off to parts unknown!

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what’s in my mailbox? offline is the new luxury

more letters (3 of 11)more letters (11 of 11)

Two blog posts in one week after my extended hiatus? It’s no April Fool’s joke, don’t worry! (My Polish-American heritage means my childhood springtime holiday of choice is “Dyngus Day,” anyway.)

This flow magazine postcard from my German pen pal quite aptly sums up my lifestyle lately. I’m trying to strike the balance between spending offline and continuing to pursue my digital hobbies (which includes blogging!). Thanks for your patience with me as I enjoy this luxurious existence!

Speaking of the joys of offline communication: let’s take a look at some springtime letters!

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Outgoing Mail: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme

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I’ve never mastered the art of sending pressed flowers or herbs through the mail – dried blossoms always seem to crumble the second I tuck them in an envelope, and as I’m not quite living my dream life of “being a child living in the country in an idealized Victorian-inspired fairy world,” I don’t own a home flower press. Yet.

If I can’t send actual blooms, though, handmade pressed flower and leaf envelopes are the next best thing! An old how-to brochure about immortalizing these ephemeral pieces of plant life has now been reincarnated into outgoing mail.

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