Write snail mail

USPS Truck

source: wikimedia commons

I had a pen pal from age 13 to age 18. We had known each other for 2 weeks at a summer camp in Iowa City, Iowa, and then proceeded to write one another for the next 5 years. I can’t say that the letters were anything special–no written words of wisdom that belied our ages, no hinting at secret longing or love, no exchanges of teenage angst. He wrote about his band and drew me pictures; I wrote about what I was reading or drawing that week.  I looked forward to getting his letters, neatly folded in halves three times, always on notebook paper. I wrote my letters on girlie stationary that I was given to me for Christmases and birthdays, and folded them in the clever ways that junior high school girls bothered to learn back then.  Every time I got another letter or sent one out, as silly and pointless as they seemed, it gave me excitement and made me anxious for the next exchange.

Today on Facebook my friend Joe posted a link to his Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is a website that helps people fund their ideas. It’s pretty simple: make a goal, set a deadline and an amount to be raised, and then determine the “rewards” you will give people for pledging their monetary sponsorship to your idea. Seeing Joe’s idea got me incredibly excited… there always something enthralling about the hand-written word when used creatively. (At the end of this post I will link to a few projects that are interesting in this regard.) Joe’s project is called, “Let There Be Letters!“(click the name to link to his page) and in his words:

HERE’S THE GOAL: To help fund the proliferation of letters. To be rewarded by receiving one or two (consider your options, because there are plenty). To help Let There Be Letters send letters to other people, too. To connect with people, to add a touch of strangeness to certain lives.

HERE’S THE REASON: Because handwritten letters touch us differently than other forms of communication. Because the style is dying. Because you want to hear from us. Because we like to write. Because it is good to hear the sincerity of strangers. Because honest endeavors for the public good ought not to go ignored. Because we’re silly, and serious about it.

This is not just the funding for the project, this is the project.

What a wonderful idea.

I just received a letter in the mail from my grandma yesterday. I love her handwriting, the way she phrases her sentences, the way she hyphenates words that might not need hyphenation, and the way she signs her name with a heart-shaped balloon at the end to symbolize my grandpa who passed 9 months ago. There is so much you can learn about someone by a hand-written note, and so much you can learn about yourself. My sister was plagued with letter-writing perfectionism for years. So much so that she rarely accomplished the task of mailing the letter. After a decade or so, I finally convinced her: “Just write! Off the top of your head! Don’t practice, just write it!” Never mind the scribbled-out words, the imperfect grammar, just write! Let your energy be conveyed through the words freshly and without rehearsal!

So I encourage you to write a letter this week–to your sibling, your parents, your friend, or to your partner. It can be fun, silly, confessional, or loving. It can be a picture, a card, a postcard, or a wordy message. No matter the effort, think of how much it will make someone’s day to get something other than a bill or junk mail; how refreshing to receive a letter–not a message–in their mail box rather than their inbox!

A few links:

Joe’s Project Let There Be Letters!

60 Days: A Personal Journal Project

Post Secret There is at least 1 book published out there with the same name, for the same project. Pretty interesting read.

Have a great day! Let me know how the letter writing goes!

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Science of Happiness

59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman

59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman

I long while back, I stumbled upon the Richard Wiseman Blog, which contained a post about the Science of Happiness.  I recommend you take a look at Wiseman’s sites–they are pretty great! It seems that a lot of things he researches are ways to live life and have everything be a little nicer.

Check out the comments below the post announcing the experiment results also. They are very telling about people’s overall outlook on life’s experiences.

His book, 59 Seconds, is based on his research. Hope you enjoy reading!

New Postcard designs!

I’ve been working on creating a series of postcards for Be Nice. I have twelve designs or so, and it’s just a matter of time before I sew them all and have them scanned and mass-produced! I’ll let you know as I get them made, but here are two of my newest cards:

"Be Nice." postcard

"Be Nice." postcard

 

and:

"Be Nice." postcard

"Be Nice." postcard

More to come in the future! 🙂

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.

Favorite fingers find us in frightening frays

Oh, I just read the greatest book! My grandma recommended this one. It is called: “Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life” by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal. If you are looking for a pick-me-up story, this is a great read. It’s fast and easy to pop through and all the stories are short, so it’s great for a wait in an office, a lunch break, or a daily train commute.

Below is a synopsis of one of the stories from the text, which is a great example of how being courteous on the road can pay off in the short or long run.

A man is driving furiously to an appointment across town for which he is likely to be late. Just as he is entering an expressway, he is cut off by another driver. He rolls down his window and screams obsinities at the other driver. Obviously angered and in a hurry as well, the other driver replies in kind by cutting off the man again and returning with more fervor his own explatives. Suddenly both of them arrive at their destination. They had both been late for their appointments–with each other!

Imagine if this had happened to you all those times you yelled in traffic or shared your favorite finger with your fellow driver!  I think this story can remind us all: when we’re behind the wheel, manners don’t go on a sabatical. Take a deep breath when you get angry, focus on driving safely, and just let it go. There are so many things in the world to get angry or stressed about. Why let an inconsiderate (and unsafe!) fool add to your plate? They don’t deserve that kind of attention, do they?\

 

© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009. (Except quoted and paraphrased material above.)