Last February, author Mary Robinette Kowal launched A Month of Letters, the idea being that you write one real letter or put one item in the mail every day the post runs during the month of February. Between the short month and the holiday, there are only twenty-three days of U.S. mail in February (fewer if you live in a country where there is no Saturday mail service). The challenge invites people to take a bit more time to craft a letter than they would if they were shooting off an email, to get back to the thought process involved when you know the recipient won’t see your note for at least a few days. It gives people a chance to reconnect on a different level. Besides, who doesn’t love getting real mail? Something that’s neither a bill nor a flyer trying to sell something, but instead an actual bit of communication from a friend or loved one.
A Month of Letters was a huge success, and many of the correspondence that began that February has continued on over the year. With another February looming, it’s the perfect opportunity to dust off your pens and stationery and think about writing to someone. The challenge website offers all sorts of suggestions on how to get started, and how to find people to write to if you’re looking for some new pen pals. For those of you interested in participating but scratching your heads about what to write, I offer up a few ideas:
- Valentine’s Day cards
- Book recommendations to your fellow bookworms
- Snippets of poems you’ve read or written
- Epistolary stories or novels, with a new installment sent each week (especially wonderful to send to children, who might never have gotten a real letter in the mail)
- Descriptions of strange dreams
- Old photographs
- Homemade bookmarks
- Humorous stories about your pets
- Discussion of travel plans, either practical or the ultimate dream vacation
Your letters can be long and rambling or short notes that simply tell someone they are in your thoughts. Be creative with your subjects and with the medium you use. Write by hand or rely on your typewriter. There are no rules, beyond mailing something each day and replying to the letters you receive.