The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cards As Letters

I have had a few of you asking me if postcards and greeting cards "count" as letters. The answer is yes, of course, AS LONG as the postcard or greeting card contains more than "Wish you were here!" or "From _____(insert name)" on it. The whole point of TLWR is that we take time to handwrite our thoughts onto paper and then place that paper into a mailbox.

I will admit, I am a bit of a stationary junkie........specifically when it comes to cards. I LOVE walking into a store that is dedicated to cards and stationary. Hallmark or Carleton Cards are okay but it's stores like The Papery on Bank Street in Ottawa (also in Toronto and Victoria, BC) or Paper/Papier in the Byward Market in Ottawa that really get my heart a flutter. I usually will collect about 15-20 cards that I love and then I will take time to go through them and decide on the ones I really must have. Cards are expensive. The average art card costing around $4-$5. This is a gift in itself. When I give a gift, I will normally make my own card.

I have a collection of cards that I keep on hand for events/situations that affect all of us. I like to have sympathy, encouragement and 'blank inside' cards on hand at all times. When I see paricularly moving cards, I buy them. You never know when you're going to need to send something more than a friendly letter.

I had two long phone conversations yesterday with two friends who are both going through difficult times. I want them to know that when we hang up the phone that they are still in my thoughts. The words written on the cards by the person employed by the card company could be enough and perhaps, I couldn't "say it" any better. It is important that when you send out cards of this type, you take the time to write even three sentences about how you are feeling and how you hope that the receiver of the card feels better soon.

For those of you who are reading my blog but have yet to actually write a letter,  perhaps you need to take baby steps and write in a card first. There is something so satisfying about starting out with blank paper or cards and then finishing with three or more addressed and stamped envelopes on your kitchen table waiting to be mailed. You can even combine the card and letter. Buy small sheets of blank stationary and write a short note in the card and then tuck your letter inside.

It's the long weekend in Canada..........set some time aside to write to someone who could use some encouragement or just a friendly, "Hello, I am thinking of you!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Seuss of Letter Writing

As far as hobbies and interests go, letter writing is one that is easily transportable. I always found it tricky taking my rug hooking or macrame to the ski hill for example.......just kidding. But letter writing supplies are  so easy to take along with you. Even if you don't bring anything with you and you find yourself anywhere, you can usually find a piece of paper or a postcard and write your note. Supplies for letter writing take up little room as well which is another added bonus.

Yesterday, I packed up and went to the beach with the intention of stretching out on my blanket and writing some letters. I was in great need of a few hours of R & R and I found it when I emerged from the trail onto the sandy and sunny beach. I set up my blanket under a young tree so that I was in partial shade and I proceeded to unpack all of my letter writing paper, my pen and a firm magazine to write upon. I was pretty much all alone except for one other person...well actually two other people, a woman and her 7 year old daughter. Aside from the woman's annoying habit of whistling a happy tune, I had peace.

I managed to FINALLY write my letter to a soldier which was a bit more challenging than I expected. I am hoping he or she writes me back so that I have more to write about next time. I also got a letter out to a TLWR fan who has written to me and I sent a couple of letters out to friends. I plan to head back to the beach on Friday and will complete the rest of the letters that I need to write and send. It is so much more enjoyable having new stationary. Seriously.....makes a huge difference. For those of you who sent your addresses for the TLWR's "46 Letters in 46 Days Challenge," you'll be getting your letters in the next couple of weeks. Btw, for the late comers, if you would like to take part in the challenge, you have until July 31st to email me your snail mail address to

I will leave you with this poem I wrote this morning.
"Seuss for Letter Writers"

Would you write on a train?
Would you write on a plane?
Would you write anywhere?
Would you write without a care?

I will write on a train.
I will write on a plane.
I will write anywhere.
I will write without a care.

Can you write in your bed?
Can you write on a sled?
Though my hand may get a cramp
I will write on a ramp.

Would you write at the game?
Would you write in the rain?
In front of those who dare to complain?
I would write at the game.
I would write in the rain (under an umbrella, of course!)

Can you write with your seat belt on?
Can you write from dusk til dawn?
Writing letters is the way
A revolution to start the day.

I will write in my home.
I will write when I roam.
Leave it to me lads and ma'am.
The Letter Writing Revolution Creator, I AM!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Things Unsaid

We have all had experiences in our lives that didn't go the way we had wished. If we could sit down and plan out our lives from the beginning. most of us would tweak a few of the things we have had to go through and survive. Perhaps your life has been fairly uneventful and straight-forward. I highly doubt that every single day has been filled with rainbows and unicorns. It is just a part of life. The thing is, the majority of our experiences whether they be perceived as good or bad are usually shared with or involve at least one other person.

Ideally,when we come into this world, we would be assigned a guide....someone older with a large amount of life experience who possesses copious amounts of wisdom.  Now some may say that we are assigned that person in the form of our parent (s). I would think it would be a pretty sure bet that some of you reading this would strongly disagree. Yes, parents generally are wise simply because they have lived longer than their children however, parents are "winging it" to some degree. Also, many children are born to incompetent, abusive, shaming, miserable, neglectful parents. They don't measure up in the "wise guide" category. Those children probably wish they were assigned another adult to give them guidance.

When you experience those difficult times in life, we are usually ill-equipped to deal with them and bring closure to them. Often this is because we haven't completed the grief or the disappointment with the other person. We may be carting around anger towards the person (s) involved. Most of us are walking around with conversations that never happened but maybe should have happened swirling around in our heads. How many of us have stated, "I wish I would have said........" or "If I had one more moment with him, I would tell him........" or "I really should share this with her before it is too late......."?

Remember my post called "Hard to Write Letters?" Well, I stumbled across a blog yesterday that is a close cousin of the "Hard to Write Letters" and this blog is a very cool idea that I wanted to share with you. It's called "The Things Unsaid Project." Here is what it is all about in a nutshell:

“The Things Unsaid Project” is a daring new social art project that allows individuals the opportunity to voice their long-silent words and remind us all of our shared connections, emotions, and experiences. We all have things we’ve wanted to say, but—for whatever reason—haven’t voiced. From apologies and admiration to gratitude and aggravation, “The Things Unsaid Project” offers you the chance to share those missing words, to communicate those “things unsaid” and release your thoughts into the world.

Here’s how you can participate:

1.) Address your letter to a person or group (i.e. Dear Mom, Dear Joey, To My Classmates, To the Girl on the #91 Bus on Tuesday Morning). Please do not be specific enough, such as using last names, that the recipient is clearly identifiable.

2.) Handwrite a one-page letter (front side only) sharing what you’ve wanted to say but never have.

3.) Please keep the letter anonymous and do not sign your name.

4.) Seal your completed letter in an envelope and send to: The Things Unsaid Project, P.O. Box 1103, Park Ridge, IL, 60068.

5.) Return to to read others’ unsaid thoughts and see if your letter has been posted. Letters will begin being posted on June 1.

6.) Please tell others about The Things Unsaid Project.

Please note that in mailing and submitting your anonymous letter, you grant “The Things Unsaid Project” full permission to include your letter on the web, in print, in any visual art display, and/or any related project ventures. “The Things Unsaid Project” also reserves the right to edit, to the best of its judgment, any sensitive or identifying information. “The Things Unsaid Project” welcomes your participation and looks forward to receiving your letter.

“The Things Unsaid Project”

I think this is a very cool concept. Not sure if I have anything unsaid to write as I have always been a rather upfront kind of a gal. I have made peace with those I needed to make peace with. If you have something to say that you have been harbouring for months or even years, this might be a good opportunityt o unload it. Free this toxic energy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Welcome Home, Tiny Star

In a past life (past meaning before now but still in this lifetime), I was a Doula. I suppose I am still a Doula. It's not really something you do as much as something you are. For those of you who may not know what a Doula is or does, I had the privilege of assisting mothers (and their partners) in childbirth. No, I am not a Midwife. I have a different role than a Midwife. A Midwife's main concern is the healthy arrival of the baby and a very close second is the well-being of the mother. A Doula puts all of her love and energy into the well-being of the mother first. Of course, we are also hopeful for the healthy arrival of the newborn. Our role is to provide emotional & physical support to the parents although we do not perform any clinical duties.

So, anyway, I was a Doula and only retired a year ago August 2nd when I had to recognize that mothering a child with severe special needs and being on-call to help other mothers (and fathers) bring their babies into the world did not go hand-in-hand. And so, I hung up my doula hat.

In the time that I was a Doula, I wrote over 100 very special letters. Every baby that was born received a letter describing the day they were born and the moments/hours that followed. I admit that I do have several notebooks of chicken scratched notes of the details of births long past that have never made it into a letter. This is something that I still intend on completing "one of these days." These letters to "my" babies marked the beginning of their lives and their histories that they began creating on that day they were born. They also became a record of the journey of labour and birth that the mamas endured and experienced.........shedding light on sometimes forgotten moments..........clarifying those things that brought confusion and perhaps adding a positive spin on things that occurred in a birth that unfolded exactly opposite of what she had imagined. Sadly, after a hard drive crash, my husband discovered that only one file on the entire system had not been backed up. This file contained 10 years worth of birth stories. Here's an excerpt from one of the letters I still have a copy of:

....................There was a breeze blowing the curtains and the sun was shining on the midwife. It was a glorious evening to be born! At 6:53pm, the midwife did an exam and determined that your mom's cervix was 7-8cm dilated and that your head was low and waters were bulging. Five minutes later, you were born!!! In seconds, your head was crowning and then three pushes and you were out. Your Auntie held your mom’s leg and the midwife climbed up onto the bed to catch you. Your Granny was standing in the corner praying as though her life depended on it. The midwife told me after that she thought she was just standing in the corner swearing!!
You let out a BIG wail immediately and you were so gorgeous. Your dad cut the cord at 7pm. Here are some things people said right after your birth:
“What is it?” (your mom)
“A girl!” (your dad)
“A girl???” (your mom)
“Yes, a girl!!” (your dad)
“Wait until we tell your dad that we had a girl!” (your mom to your dad)
“She sounds like her brother.” (your mom)
“Look at her eyebrows.” (your mom)
“She looks like you when you were a baby.” (your Aunt to your mommy)
At 7:10pm, the placenta was birthed and by 7:14pm, the midwife had checked your mom out thoroughly and everything was relatively intact. Your mom and dad started making phone calls around 7:20pm. Everyone was thrilled and relieved that all was well.............
I always ended the letters with "And this is how everything unfolded on the day you were born." I know that these letters are treasured and I hope that every single one has been preserved as there are no copies of them anywhere now.

I also received many handwritten notes and letters from my clients and  have kept every single one. Being a Doula, gave my life tremendous purpose and the privilege of being a part of such an incredible experience, made all of the long and unpredictable hours worth it all.

I will close with a letter that was written to me when I left Victoria, BC, in 2000 to begin a new life in Ottawa, ON.
To My Doula, Julie;
I was thinking about you last night. I wanted to say how wonderful you were at my birth and how lucky I was to have met you when I did. And how amazing you are at what you do. Do keep it up because you have found your true vocation in life. I believe that so few people have found their calling. Not many people can do what you do so well. It is a true gift to fill such a fragile position at such a vulnerable time in a woman's life. And remember: Your vocation travels unlike many others. Pregnant women abound the world over. There are no geographical boundaries associated with giving birth and your vocation. I hope that you do not lament so much where you are because you are an asset wherever you go. Thinking about you and thinking about my birth.

Because I was self-employed and doing the work of a "woman's servant" (the apparent meaning of the word 'Doula'), these letters and notes were my points of reference, my pat on the back and my gage as to how I was doing in this very important role. Now that I am a mother of a child with significant special needs, I make it a point to write notes and cards to my daughter's many therapists, caregivers and specialists who walk this road with us. Taking time to express your thoughts in writing is invaluable to the receiver.

Think about some of the professionals in your life and let them know that you appreciate their dedication and the good work they do. Let them know in the form of a handwritten letter.

***This post is dedicated to Doula Emmanuelle, who is patiently waiting for a labour to begin before she leaves for her holidays on Friday.***

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm Back

It is Sunday evening and the gallery exhibit is over. I can now return to writing this blog which has been dreadfully neglected.

Prior to arriving at the gallery this morning, I zipped into the Glebe area of Ottawa with one goal in mind: stationary. I had about 15 minutes to gather some much needed letter writing supplies and so I visited The Papery shop. Ooohhhhhh, the beautiful paper, cards, pens, envelopes, letter writing sets.....

I have many letters to write and the only thing stopping me is the lack of writing paper. I did get creative and decorate some plain coloured sheets of paper with magazine clippings a couple of weeks ago but even that supply is dwindling. One such page of homemade stationary went to our local farmer who grows the weekly basket of veggies we receive. Check out a recent post at Rural Rainbow Ramblings regarding the love letter they received.. We are so appreciative of the hard work going on at their organic farm that I had to express my love and thoughts in a letter to them. I spoke with the owner and she was so thrilled to pick up the mail and find an actual letter. The interns working the farm this summer were equally delighted and she said it gave them all a real boost. Oh, the power of the handwritten letter.

If the sun is shining tomorrow, I am heading straight to the beach with my supplies and a few of you will be getting letters this week. I am also beginning the "46 Letters in 46 Days" Challenge so if you sent your mailing address to me, you can expect a letter in the next couples of weeks. If you haven't done so, there is still time. Just send your snail mail address to with TLWR as your subject line.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.
Stephanie G.......your postcard finally arrived. I will be writing to you soon!

I look forward to hearing from you and hearing your comments about your own letter writing adventures.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Remembering a Time

I am back..........
I was never really gone but as I mentioned in a previous post, I am very busy getting ready for an art exhibit this weekend and so I am spending my spare moments doing all of the last minute tasks. I promise to be a more regular blogger when the exhibit is finished and I can return to a less hectic pace. Who am I kidding? I am doubtful that my life will ever reach a less hectic least not anytime soon. But after this weekend, I will have more time to focus on my blog and letter writing.

In the midst of my busy-ness, I have managed to write a few letters. I am a little disappointed at the submissions for my 45 Letters in 45 Days Challenge. At this rate, I will be able to write all of the letters to the respondants within a week. Not much of a challenge but for those of you who have sent me your addresses, you will be getting a letter. If you are expecting a letter because I know you and have your address already, send me a friendly reminder as I do not go through all of my followers to see who I know and who I do not know. Come one, come all.......experience the anticipation of a letter in your mailbox.

I have been trying to figure out a way to match same aged children as pen pals as a few of you have mentioned that your children want penpals. Send me your child's age and name and I will find them a pen pal. Of course, I will be sure it is someone I know personally.

I stopped in at my mom's house this morning and on the table was an old letter that I had written in December 1996. I was living in Victoria, BC and the letter was sent home in a package filled with homemade gifts for my family. It was my first Christmas on my own. I had had only one other Christmas away from home in 1990 but I was with my older sister, then. We were backpacking through Europe and spent it in France. Reading this letter today brought back so many memories. I had made seashell tree ornaments with shells I found on the beach by my home and embedded them into discs made of Dass clay. I also sent home fresh holly which didn't grow in my home province of Ontario. I laughed when I read that my then boyfriend (now husband) kept watch as I chopped the holly from someone's tree in their yard. When I read this to my husband, he said, "Oh, ya, I forgot about that." So had I.

The humble letter....bringer of joy (most of the time) to the receiver, therapeutic (most of the time) to the writer and an unintentional recorder of history. The hundreds of letters contained in my trunk hold memories that have long slipped away from my mind. This is one of the reasons it is critical that we keep it alive and not let it dissolve in the next one or two generations.

Did any of you write to someone lately purely because you were motivated to by The Letter Writing Revolution? Has anyone written that love letter or a letter to a soldier? I would like to hear from you.

I have some great ideas for this blog but alas they will have to wait until this art show has been completed.
I look forward to hearing about your letter writing experiences.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

50 Followers and An Award to Boot!

Look at that! An award for my very new blog. Thanks to Cat at AmLo Farms for choosing The Letter Writing Revolution as one of her top ten deserving blogs. Wow! I am really pleased because Cat isn't a family member or a close friend in real life. She is really a stranger who found me through someone else's blog and she liked it enough to send that wee award above to me. Cool.
Of course, I gratefully accept this award but there are rules for the acceptance of the award which are:
  • Thank the blogger who bestowed the Award on you.
  • Sum up your blogging experience, philosophy and motivation in five (5) words.
  • Pass the Award on to 10 deserving bloggers.
Thank you, Cat, I am flattered and thrilled that you chose me as one of your top ten deserving blogs especially since I don't know you personally and therefore you didn't feel obligated to pick me :-)
Five Words: Revitalizing the Art of Letterwriting (that's all one word, right?).
This is where I have run into a bit of a problem. I have just started this whole blogging thing so I am quite unfamiliar with the bazillions of blogs out there. I read maybe only a handful regularly but I am slowly discovering more and more. So, for the sake of sharing those favs with you. I will list them here:
The Knitty Gritty Homestead
The Gluten Free Goddess
1000 Awesome Things
Simplicity Mom
Twig and Toadstool
Rural Rainbow Ramblings

But, I am going to keep looking around and as I discover more favourites, I will share this award with them.

I have had two requests from mothers looking for pen pals for their children. You've come to the right place! I am your Letter Writing Queen Hook Up. You want a letter? I'll write you one. You need a pen pal for your child? I will find you someone. You want to write a letter? My mailbox awaits.

I better get writing.........YOUR mailbox awaits.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Creative Writing

Being The Letter Writing Revolution blog creator, you would assume I have a plethora of stationary in every colour, weight, size and shape. You would be greatly mistaken. I have spent hours over the years perusing stationary stores buying loads of cards that I knew would come in handy at some point. I used to be employed by Canadian Art Connections (, a fine art publishing company in Victoria, BC that was the official publisher for the Trans Canada Trail posters and cards. I had a stock room filled with greeting cards at my disposal of fine art images by the likes of Ted Harrison, Linda Frimer, Roy Vickers, Graham Herbert and the late Emily Carr. When I was in any store where there were funky postcards or cards of any kind, I would buy a few and they would promptly go into my large and unusually deep "stationary drawer." After years of collecting stationary, I went through a cleansing period recently and decided that it was time to part with this extraordinary amount of writing paper, envelopes, cards and even hundreds of stickers. I bagged them and offered them to my nieces who gratefully accepted. That was a mere three months ago............

Had I known that I was going to launch The Letter Writing Revolution, I might have hung onto a few cards. Hence, the topic of discussion on this post...creative writing but not the creative writing you are thinking of. I am talking about the creativity required to turn a boring piece of paper (white or otherwise) into some cool stationary.

Thankfully, a trip last summer to Paper/Papier in the Byward Market in Ottawa, resulted in a stack of various colours of card stock sheets of paper with some envelopes, the majority being black. That's right, black stationary. I love black stationary because it is so unusual and unexpected. It is so easily jazzed up as well and silver ink shows up on black paper quite nicely. Recently, having to reply to a few letters from dear readers, I had to get creative. I was not about to send a letter on white computer paper stuffed in a standard, white business envelope. No way. Thankfully, I had hung onto my purchase from Paper/Papier and so I had something to work with at least.

I did something that I have always loved doing. I found a stack of old magaiznes (Alive magazine to be exact) and I cut out images that I thought would make interesting additions to my plain coloured pieces of paper. Here are some of the results:

Unfortunately, I own a crappy camera otherwise you would REALLY be able to see how wicked my creative writing paper is.

Other options for creating cool writing paper is using your own personal photos and cutting and pasting them onto a document, then printing. You can also find interesting images/pictures/photographs online which can easily be applied to regular computer paper. And if you're feeling really wild, throw on some glitter or stickers. I tend to lean more towards classic, simple creations. Plain paper can easily come to life with calligraphy or the use of coloured ink only.

Have fun creating your own stationary...........

The Challenge Update:
I have received a handful of mailing addresses from my followers. So far the challenge will be relatively painless since I only have a handful of letters to write. This misses the point, tho. When you have started a revolution about letter writing, the purpose is to write a lot of letters and encourage others to do the same. You only have to gain by participating in the challenge (see the post entitled "45 Letters in 45 Days Challenge"). Don't be shy!! Send me your snail mail address to and you will receive a handwritten letter in the mail. Simple and joyful. If you live within close proximity to me or you are a family member, I still would love for you to participate. Thank you in advance!

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Friday and I Got Mail

If you're new to this Blog, please read the very first post to understand what The Letter Writing Revolution is all about:

The weekend is upon us and finally a rainy day has arrived to break the extreme heat that has hit these parts in the last week. I believe it was 44 degrees Celsius with the humidity yesterday. Now, we are blessed with a slight breeze and rain...lots of rain.

I just walked to the post office to mail a love letter to a farmer. Lo and behold, I received three letters today! One of the letters was in a large bubble envelope containing a very cool cookbook. My friend, Sandra, who lives on the westcoast had been wanting to send me this cookbook for sometime. The Letter Writing Revolution prompted her to handwrite a very long and enjoyable letter which she sent with the book. Thank you, Sandra!!! I loved your letter and you will most certainly receive one back.

I LOVED the letters I received today and what they contained. I really forgot how amazing it feels to receive handwritten mail. So much more personal than an email and well, don't even get me started on texting. While I was in the post office, I chatted with our new Post Master. I told her about The Letter Writing Revolution (TLWR for short) yesterday and so we were chatting today about the loss of this wonderful art. I commented that young people today will have no real history of their life without letters. I have hundreds of journals of my life contained in the form of letters. Letters that I have written and letters that I have received over the last 30 years. Texting and email just doesn't cut it. It isn't a true connection in my books and it is fleeting. The Letter Writing Revolution has had me considering ending my Facebook account. I am tired of running into people whom I haven't seen in a decade who know all about my life. When I look confused they smile and say, "I read it on Facebook." It's too easy and kind of weird and a little creepy, too.

Trust me. I get the convenience of it all. I really do. I love it for advertising my business and for notifications and posting pics and of course checking out everyone else's business (without them even knowing!) BUT I am starting to feel that maybe if I wasn't a part of it all, I would have more real contact with the people I really care about and who care about me. Emailing, texting and Facebook gives us a false sense of connection. The more we are connected, the more we are disconnected. How wonderful it was to see the beautiful and unique penmanship of the writer's of today's letters. What a treat to receive an actual photograph of my friend, Sandra (which I promptly stuck on my fridge door). What joy to open the envelopes to find a variety of paper.....cream linen, $ store Japanese variety and paper adorned with butterflies, flowers and stickers :-)

The people who wrote the letters that I received today shared some interesting thoughts about this whole letter writing experience:
  • Thank you for this feels good to try and think with a pen.
  • Your blog has been inspiring to say the least.
  • I used to love receiving mail back in the day when emailing was non-existent
  • Thank you for your letter. I was like the little boy on your blog when my letter arrived.
  • I had to make an enormous decision~ what special place would I choose to read and enjoy my letter.
I like to tear open letters in the post office and sit on the steps or read as I walk home. This has resulted in close calls with other people walking and the odd car. Today, due to the rain, I had to be patient and wait until I got home. As soon as I had my shoes and jacket off, I sat down at the kitchen table and dove into my letters. I hope to provide this experience to my followers who respond to yesterday's post.

I have received a few emails from TLWR Blog followers with your addresses. Thank you!! You will receive a letter from me in the next few weeks. Please email me your snail mail address to so that I may complete the "45 Letters in 45 Days" Challenge which is technically the "46 Letters in 46 Days" Challenge now that I have another new follower :-)

Have a good weekend and be sure to write that letter to a soldier, a friend or your child or that love letter that is waiting to be written. The time is now. There's no such thing has a poorly written letter. Just write down your thoughts from your heart and that will be enough.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The "45 Letters in 45 Days" Challenge

If you're new to this Blog, please read the very first post to understand what The Letter Writing Revolution is all about:

You might assume I live alone (with about twenty cats) and have a lot of time on my hands when you read my next brilliant idea.......
As of today, I see that I have 45 followers and I thought it might be fun (or maybe completely insane) to challenge myself to 45 letters in 45 days. This means that each follower would have to send me an email with your snail mail address so that I may write you a letter. This is assuming that the followers are actually "following" this blog on a regular basis.  Of course, you can always opt out of assisting me in my challenge (party pooper!).

How hard can it be? I will set aside 20 minutes per day to handwrite a letter. Each letter will be original and will be mailed the same day that it is written. You are not obligated to write me back but I suspect some of you have yet to experience the thrill of getting a handwritten letter. Maybe you used to write letters because you were actually alive before email and texting existed but perhaps it has been a long while since someone sat down and wrote YOU a letter. I would like to offer you this wonderful experience. It would be my absolute pleasure to spend time writing to YOU and mailing YOU a letter.....the old-fashioned way.

This is a free, no-obligation offer.

For those of you who do not know me personally, I will use your mailing address for letter writing ONLY. I am not into scams or stalking or anything of that sort. Perhaps you would like me to write a letter to your child.....just specify when you email me your address. I am happy to surprise your child with a letter. Just make sure you tell me how old they are so that it is age-appropriate.

So, for the next couple of weeks, I will be collecting snail mail addresses and I hope to receive all 45 addresses of my followers. I will begin the "45 Letters in 45 Days" Challenge on July 25th. Please forward your snail mail address to and put in the subject line: TLWR

You will receive a letter from me by early August..............I promise.
Thank you to my follower from Switzerland who surprised me with a delightful letter!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Letter to A Soldier

When I was a child, I remember hearing stories of my Great Uncle Stanley who fought in WW2 and who  became a Prisoner of War (POW). Apparently, as the story goes, my Great Uncle Stanley was a Navigation Officer and the plane he was in was in trouble. The pilot instructed them to jump out. After my uncle and his buddy bailed, the pilot managed to get the air craft under control and fly to safety. My uncle, on the other hand, landed in a body of water and then swam to an island. Soon after, the Germans promptly took him and his friend as prisoners. Here is one of the letters he wrote on August 3rd 1943. It is addressed to my grandfather (who wasn't yet my grandfather) and somehow in August of 1943, this letter from a war camp in Germany found it's way to the upper Ottawa valley with only 3 words as its guide: Sheenboro, Quebec, Canada.

And here is the other side:

I have managed to decipher the faded penciled words on this letter and wish to share them with you:

Dear Brother of mine;
As ever, I am in the very best of health but I am still looking forward to mail. I have nothing to worry about except my sun tan and my occupation after this war. Tell me all about the conditions upon our return and what the gov't expects to do for us. I also have two or three businesses in mind but they will take time to mature. I expect to be in England for some time after the war on a diet. But I never felt better than I do now. Send Delores an engraved compact for Nov. 5th and also initiate travelling logs for Christmas. I expect to get married when I return if I feel up to it. By now the Red Cross will have advised you about what you can send. Also tell all the folks to write. Had any news since Jean was married? Tell Gilbert that the demand for lumber will be very great after the war so buy your own mill. Send some snaps if you think they will reach me in time. Say hello to Father Harrington and all the folks. I will be with you all soon.
Love to all, Stan

As you can see, he had a sense of humour. They were fed a potato per day (if lucky) and sometimes there wasn't a thing to eat. The biggest crime you could commit in the camp was stealing food from another prisoner. This resulted in a harsh punishment that involved a head dunking into the hole that was used for voiding. Little did he know when he wrote the last line of "I will be with you soon" that he was just beginning a two year stint as a POW from 1943 to 1945. In that time, he wrote a few letters to his brother and sister-in-law who eventually became my grandfather and grandmother. These letters are an important part of my family history.

During WW2, the only option of staying in contact with your loved one was letter writing. I imagine the joy a young soldier would feel when the mail came in and he was handed a letter from home.....maybe from his mother or from his gal whom he left behind to go to war. How many letters were written in the quiet hours of the night by lantern and how many letters were worn out from being read over and over again? It is fascinating to me to handle this 67-year old letter and to know that my Great Uncle touched it as did my Grandfather and Grandmother when they were in their early 20's.

Today, when soldiers are deployed to places like Afghanistan, many families can stay in contact with their loved one through email and regular doses of Skype. Often, mothers (and sometimes fathers) are left behind to single parent their children. This alone leaves little time for handwriting letters. And who can resist the instant communication of email and the chance to view your loved one in real time on the computer screen.
Since this is The Letter Writing Revolution, I am going to suggest we all write one letter (at least) to a soldier serving in Afghanistan. If you would like to write a letter to a Canadian Soldier serving in Afghanistan right now, click HERE for instructions and addresses.

I have been told that it is their policy to answer every letter they receive so you should receive a letter back from the soldier who gets your letter. Tell them about you, your family, what you do, what you appreciate and let them know that you are grateful for their service (even if you disagree with this whole war thing).

And of course, I want to hear about it!!! This is a post that I hope will be spread far and wide and if you are reading this and you live outside of Canada, you can contact a military base close to you to find out how to get letters to your soldiers.

On that note, I am off to write a letter to a soldier.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Surrending Part 2

I've known James for my entire adult life. I think I first met him at a party when I was a teenager. Although James and I have mutal friends, we have never spent a lot of time hanging out together until recently. I was in need of some cool, quality photos of my casts and of me casting. I knew James was an avid photographer and since he has a unique style, I knew it would reflect in his photos. This is James:

James emailed me yesterday about some photography stuff and mentioned that he had been following this blog and that he liked it. I didn't think this type of blog would be of interest to him but it turns out, I was wrong. I am rarely wrong. Ask my husband.
He came by last evening and I jokingly asked him if he had written any letters since he was reading this blog. I expected the answer to be "No" but to my surprise, he told me that he had, in fact, written two letters. Actually, to clarify.......he had started but hadn't finished writing two letters. What surprised me even more was that one of the letters had been almost written to me. He then proceeded to tell me that after starting the letter, he realized that some things are better left unsaid. And you can imagine how I responded to that....."James!! You can't share that with me and then not tell me WHAT you were writing about...." Am I right??? Totally not fair. Okay, granted, life isn't very fair but this was really, really unfair.

So, I told James that he would be the subject of todays' post. This post is titled Surrendering Part 2 because as much as we need to surrender to our expectations of what happens to our letter after it is sent (see yesterday's post), I think that it is equally important to surrender our thoughts to another person who you think deserves to read them. Obviously, my friend James had something to say to me otherwise he wouldn't have gone to the trouble of almost writing the letter. I say he surrender whatever it is that is preventing him from sending the letter because now I am curious. I hate to think there is a half- assed, almost written letter out there waiting to be mailed ESPECIALLY since it is for me. Don't you agree, readers?
James: I will be patiently awaiting that letter from you :-)

P.S I know this post contradicts the post on Hard-to-Write Letters in that we always have the option to write a letter and never send it. I am encouraging James to finish and mail this particular letter because I don't believe it contains elements of the hard-to-write letter. At least I hope it doesn't :-)

Monday, July 5, 2010


I am well aware of my negligence to my blog. It isn't that I am losing steam nor have I lost motivation to carry on with my revolution. As I said two posts ago, I am in a major time crunch right now and so certain things need to be patient while I get my other work completed. Today I am sanding the Goddess of Abundance cast outside in 33 degree heat. I am procrastinating and so you get a blog post as I buy a bit more time in my air conditioned house.

I received an email from a mom who had a brilliant idea of writing her three children letters about how proud she was of them and to celebrate the end of another school year. She placed them in the mail box so that when they returned home from their last day of school, they were thrilled to find letters in the box addressed to them. BUT, as soon as they opened them and scanned the letter to see who it was from, their excitement quickly turned to disappointment when they realized their mother had written the letters. As you can imagine, this mother was also very disappointed by their reactions. She was certain they would surround her with love and hugs and gratefulness for her thoughtfulness. Not a chance. They quickly read the letters, tossed them aside and ran off to do other things.

An excerpt from the mother's email below:

"Here's something to be said of the expectations that come when you send a letter (especially a mushy, sappy one): don't expect the person to be bowled over by your words. Just find joy in the process of writing the letter and then let it go. I was a little crushed that my children didn't seem to really care, or be touched by the words I wrote. In any case, I know that the letters will be saved and I hope that one day, the full effect of my words will help the kids understand just
how much they are loved."

So, there you have it, folks. Write a letter and surrender it. Do it without expectation of reaction. Just do it and send it. Let it go....literally. It's like giving a gift. After the gift leaves your hands, it is out of your control. If the person you give it to chooses to put it in a yard sale or re-gift it, that is their choice and their right. The same can be said for the letter. Do not write a letter hoping to receive one back, compliments or gratefulness. Just write it from the heart and set it free.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ottawa Citizen Article

In honour of Canada Day, I wanted to share this timely article that was in yesterday's Ottawa Citizen. Thanks, Em (and Tim), for bringing it to my attention. Enjoy!

One Sunday afternoon in 1965, Ottawa high school teacher Norm Sheahan woke from a nap with an ambitious Centennial project in mind: He would write to the country’s political leaders, asking them to explain why they were proud to be Canadian.
The father of four young boys wasn’t sure Canada’s then prime minister or the provinces’ premiers would respond. But when they did — some, including Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, with moving, personal letters — Sheahan had a memorable gift for his children on July 1, 1967. With Canada approaching its 150th birthday, Sheahan has reprised the project. He has again written to the country’s leaders, asking them why they’re proud of the nation; his cover letter included a photo of the current Sheahan family, which now boasts 10 grandchildren.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General MichaĆ«lle Jean and eight premiers have responded to the overture. Norm Sheahan, 75, and his wife, Diane, hope the latest letters will offer inspiration to a new generation. “We’re very proud to be Canadians and we’re trying to pass that on to our grandchildren,” he says. Only the premiers of Quebec and Alberta have yet to reply. Sheahan’s favourite new letter undoubtedly comes from Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams. The combative Williams, who once ordered all Canadian flags removed from provincial buildings during a dispute with the federal government over equalization, sent a thoughtful, heartfelt letter in which he compares the country to a family. Like the Sheahan family itself, Williams says, Canada is composed of members with their own strengths and dreams — individuals made stronger by their ties to one another. The country is one family, he says, united by its shared experience, good and bad. “In all families, there are times when you don’t see eye-to-eye and you challenge each other,” Williams writes in the letter, addressed to the Sheahan grandchildren, “but those are times when you can work out wonderful solutions that help you grow — solutions that provide opportunities to celebrate the kind of co-operation that binds families closer together than ever. Some members of the family are older, some are bigger, some are smaller — but all of you are equally part of the one family. This is how it is with Canada. We are one federation — one family.” Williams’ letter is the longest in the collection and stretches to two full pages, single-spaced. He invites the Sheahans to visit his province: “The stories we tell are so vivid, the ocean so blue, the whales and icebergs so huge, the music so lively and the people so eager to invite you in that you cannot help feeling a strong sense of family when you come here.”
Williams wrote the letter less than two months before travelling to the U.S. for heart surgery.
The letter brought tears to Sheahan’s eyes. “It’s just what we wanted to tell our grandchildren,” he says.
Diane Sheahan was equally moved: “It was beautiful, the whole thing,” she says.
The letter-writing exercise has given the Sheahans newfound respect for the the country’s oft-maligned politicians, particularly those like Williams who took the time to offer a meaningful response.
Sheahan, who spent 35 years as a science teacher and guidance counsellor in Ottawa-area high schools, calls his two sets of love letters to Canada a “treasure.”
He shared the first set with the Citizen in 1992 as the country faced a national unity crisis. He’s sharing the latest in response to the Citizen’s published request for readers’ stories about their Canada Day memories. Sheahan describes himself as a proud Canadian. He has travelled with his family to every province during summer camping trips.
“The people of Canada are very special and the country is magnificent,” he says. “We’ve gone to a lot of countries and I don’t think you’ll find any landscape better than Canada’s.”
In early July, the Sheahans will hold their annual reunion in Kingston where each family member will receive a bound copy of the letter collection.
I have been fortunate enough to travel the breadth of our vast country, and have witnessed firsthand the magnificence of our geography, the strength and the ingenuity of our diverse population, and the richness of our abundant natural resources … Each time I return from travels abroad, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to live in Canada, a model of freedom, harmony and prosperity.”
Prime Minister
Stephen Harper
“I realize that this letter may be put away as a keepsake for a few years until a future Premier is asked to answer this important question for a new generation of Sheahans. Perhaps another 50 years will pass, or more. Just as the Sheahan family will endure, so too Canada will endure and Canadians will prosper as we continue to work together in the spirit of family.”
and Labrador Premier Danny Williams
As Canadians, we have many cherished values, but it is our collective belief in tolerance, respect and understanding that I see as one of the true cornerstones of our society. By embracing these values, we send a clear message to the world that we are a nation that is committed to protecting the rights and dignity of every citizen in every community.”
Ontario Premier
Dalton McGuinty
We do have a lot to celebrate. From the evolution of the automobile, telephones, keyboards and coffee shops, the creation of the Canadarm and technological advances, we all have stories to tell and memories to share. The celebration will be a great time to stop and say, ‘Wow, we have come a long way!’”
B.C. Premier
Gordon Campbell
In comparison with many other countries, particularly those of Europe and Asia, our own country is young, yet it has quickly become a great nation. Providence gave us a great and beautiful land blessed with vast natural resources. These assets are a guarantee to a tremendous future, provided, of course, that all Canadians do the best they possibly can for that future by working together in mutual understanding and respect.”
Prime Minister
Lester B. Pearson
In my opinion, the greatest single lesson which our Canadian history teaches is the need for tolerance and mutual understanding ... Each one of us must try to understand his fellow citizens of whatever race, language or creed they may be, respect them, love them and help them.”
Quebec Premier
Jean Lesage
Sixteen years ago, after thorough consideration, we chose to become Canadians. There has not been a day in all the years since then that we have not been given another reason to be proud of our new country.”
Newfoundland Premier Joey Smallwood
Love your parents, love your country and be proud that you are Canadians, free citizens of a free country under God!”
Saskatchewan Premier Ross Thatcher
My conviction in Canada’s future rests on the growing recognition on the part of government and the people of Canada that the education of our youth is of the highest priority. With an educated citizenry, and possessing the natural resources which Canada has, from coast to coast, there is no question that this is the country of the future.”
Ontario Premier
John Robarts