It's tomorrow, January 23rd! I like that we have such a thing. To encourage you to handwrite a letter or two or twelve today, here's a little video of a pep talk I gave about handwriting prior to our workshop at the West Town Library in Chicago last October.
The New Year is an excellent time to review the status of one's address book. This year, I decided to use my holiday cards as a litmus test for the addresses I had on file. Everyone in the book got a card or postcard. I haven't counted yet, but it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 200. I am expecting to get a number of NIXIEs returned.
A NIXIE is what the Postal Service calls a piece of "undeliverable as addressed" mail. It's even printed on the light yellow labels they slap over the address when they send it back to you. I decided that if I get a NIXIE, then that address in my book gets erased. I make an exception for the addresses of the deceased. Those, I outline in a black ink frame. It's my way of making a small memorial. And yes, sometimes the P.O. will tell you if someone is deceased; they have a special stamp for it and everything.
I have already started erasing. What's more, I have also decided that if I haven't heard from you in over a year and you don't respond to my holiday card by February, I will also erase your spot in the address book. (Mind you, this is my personal address book; this is in NO WAY a call for every member to write to me for fear of losing membership.) It's easy to get back in. Just write me back! You have to send a letter to get a letter. That's the mantra.
That's what I'm doing as part of my New Year's tending of the writing desk. How about you? Any resolutions to write back more, buy better stamps, send less or more mail? Share with us in the comments. We love to hear about other processes of letter writing and clever ideas.
(Fantastic address book photo at right by moarplease on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.)
I have heard nothing but good things about Postable. It's an online way to collect addresses from your contacts. They simply follow your link and add their information to your book. Your addresses remain private and you can share your own address with other Postable accounts. Also, if you have your info in your Postable account and you update it, it will automatically update with all of the other Postable accounts it is linked to. You can also export your contacts as a CSV file to easily make mailing labels or what have you.
Here at Headquarters, we've decided to give it a whirl. I haven't mentioned it here before now, because, frankly, I was suspicious. It seemed too good. While we don't have the capital to do mass mailings right now, if you'd like us to have your address, you can deposit it on our Postable account. Click here to add your info to our contacts. (<- Updated the link. It should be working now.)
Do you use Postable? Tell us what you think in the comments!
WHAT: An IRC is a coupon that can be redeemed for first class international postage.
WHERE: You can purchased or redeem and IRC at any post office within a country that is part of the Universal Postal Union. (List of countries here.)
WHY: If you are a non-US resident, you don't have access to US stamps. An IRC steps in to help you with that. If you are requested to send an SASE to a country outside your own, an ICR acts as your "stamps" to get the SASE back to you.
HOW: Ask your postal clerk for an IRC. Mail the IRC with your self-address envelope and that is it! It will magically come back to you with the proper postage needed to be mailed from the country you sent it to.
Above is what a IRC from Australia looks like. It is indistinguishable from IRCs from other countries, except for the fact that is says the country of origin on it. Some countries do not imprint the origin place on the coupon. When a member sends us one of these, I go to our post office and trade it for a first class international stamp, seen below the IRC in the photo.
So, if you are an international LWA member and want to participate in the Initiative Response project here is what you need to include with your request:
- An IRC and a self-addressed envelope. - A money order or US$ with the total amount for the Initiatives you request - A note letting us know which Initiative(s) you want to participate in and your member #
More than one Initiative can be sent back to you in one SASE, so no worries about including more than one SASE/IRC for multiple Initiatives.
You can read more about IRCs here and here. We are also happy to answer any other questions you have on IRCs ourselves! We hope this clarifies things for our international members and helps them participate in overseas postal projects!
In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form. Prepare your pen and paper, moisten your tongue, and get ready to write more letters!
May 28th (Thursday)
Chicago, IL Letter Social
Uncle Art Gallery 7-9pm 1359 N Maplewood Ave
Join us and our typewriters to write some letters together. We will have mail art supplies, stationery, and a few of our old-fangled typing machines available for your use. Free!
May 30th (Saturday)
Chicago, IL OBSCURA DAY 2015
L.W.A. Clubhouse Several time slots available
Enjoy exclusive access to the Letter Writers Alliance Club House in celebration of Obscura Day. You'll see the inner sanctum of operations for the letter writing organization and have an opportunity to write letters and postcards using vintage typewriters.
Your ticket includes free supplies and typewriter time. Donovan, the Letter Writers Alliance typewriter expert, will be on hand to answer questions, troubleshoot cranky machines and make pithy comments. Come join us and type a letter or two!
Tickets: $5 Purchase options available soon!
June 6th (Saturday)
Chicago, IL Postcard Party
606 Opening Celebration, 10am-6pm
Humboldt Blvd between Cortland & Wabansia
Write some postcards and explore the new Bloomingdale Trail with us. Free!
June 7th (Sunday)
Chicago, IL Mix & Mailology
L.W.A. Clubhouse 3:30-5pm
Old Fashions and Wax Seals, two old-timey things we love. Learn the secrets of mixing an excellent Old Fashion and making the perfect wax impression on your envelopes. We will also have other wax-like experiments for your mail art pleasure. Our solutions, both alcoholic and artistic, will surprise you. All materials, including liquid forms, will be provided.
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July 12th (Sunday)
World-Wide L.W.A. Book Club
Join Kathy, Donovan, and a special guest Margaret Haas (of Paper Pastries) via live video while we discuss Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. Discussion and further info can be found on the Goodreads book group page. Event Page
The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. These two ladies manage every aspect of the Alliance, from design, to packing orders, to maintaining the website. The L.W.A. is a labor of love and we are happy you have joined us in sharing a love for letters.