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March 06, 2017


Karen B

my interpretation of #6 - and I agree, maybe I'm taking license with the wording - is that it is fine to send a beautiful letter with a breezy message, if today you are feeling more "artsy." Just as well, if you have a lot on your mind, it's fine to go the plain paper lots of content route. It's wonderful to give/receive both art and context but that can takes lots of time and energy - both muses don't always visit at the same time; better to send what you're tuned into today, than become overwhelmed and end up not sending because of a perceived lack on one end or the other.

But I do think saying you "must" choose comes across as though it is forbidden to do both; I can attest my penpal is very gifted in doing both in every letter!


I love #2. My LWA penpal and I have a strict rule about no E-mail or FB communication. (Exception: She will be visiting in April so we did E-mail about the logistics).
The slow motion conversation is beautiful and elegant, especially in this era of "insta" everything!


I don't necessarily agree with #6 either. When I was much younger I had a couple of penpals in Japan. Their letters used to be beautiful! Colourful, pretty... a lot of thought went in to decorating them. However, the letters were always short (usually due to the language barrier). Saying that, I always looked forward to receiving these letters, and sometimes enjoyed them much more than the 8 pages of gibberish from a penpal in an English speaking country.

Joe F.

Well, 1, 5 and 10 are quite spot-on, of course. I disagree with 6; there really is no *need* to choose one or the other when talking about content and presentation (excepting limitations which are not essentially about letter writing as an enterprise: eg: "I've only got 20 minutes to get this letter done; guess I have to choose between a 2nd page or decorating the envelope").

Jenn Dee

This is a great list.

And my feeling about number 6, while I am not a fan of the word "must", it isn't so much what kinds of letters your are writing or creating, it is more about time - my time, as well as my pen pals time. How long will it take me reply? How long will I spend with this letter? How long will my penpal spend with this letter? How quickly do they need this information?

If I could, I would write long, well-edited letters, exquisitely decorated and embellished. And I would do it in no time at all so that my penpals wouldn't always be waiting on me. But, time is finite. The beauty about the time we spend writing letters is that every time you sit down, you get to choose how you want to spend your letter-writing time.


Part of the joy of letter-writing for me is the fact that it's a creative endeavour. I don't mean drawings and embellishments on the paper and envelopes (although sometimes a doodle or zentangle will find its way in there if it's appropriate) but crafting something engaging for my pen pal. That could have something (okay a lot) to do with my obsession with fountain pens and ink and finding the perfect paper :)


In regards to No. 6, in my experience there does seem to be a negative correlation between the number of pages/verbosity and the overall aesthetic. While a letter may be highly decorative and lengthly, it isn't usually both.


The first rule of letter writing? There are no rules! :D (Except, maybe... WRITE LETTERS!)


This is all such good stuff! I do #7 it also works for when one of our letters gets lost in the mail.


To be honest, in my experience, the more an envelope is decorated, the less content there is in the letter. Yes, it is possible to get both, but in my experience, that is very, very rare. Personally I prefer content.

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LWA Mission

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    In this era of instantaneous communication, a postal letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance was dedicated to preserving this art form through fostering community and communication through the mail. Membership was active from Summer 2007 to Summer 2020. Write more letters!

The Management

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    The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. These two ladies managed 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.

    Above photo of Donovan & Kathy by GlitterGuts.

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