Wednesday, January 25, 2012

february challenge: a month of letters

Last spring, The Spouse and I were apart for about 4 months while he went through boot camp training for the Navy. While in boot camp, recruits are very limited as far as correspondence. I was happy to get a ten minute phone call once a month. Letters, perhaps twice a month.

It was tough, not knowing how he was doing, not being able to see or touch him, or hear his voice. I wanted a way to still feel connected to him, to support him even though we were so far apart. So I resolved to write him a letter, every day while he was away.

For four months, on every day that the mail went out, I wrote him at least a two page letter. I filled it with everyday nonsense, my feelings, current events, anything I could think of. I had no idea if they were doing any good or if he even had time to read them. But at some point, they weren't just for him. They were helping me deal with our separation. By the time he graduated, I sent him about 80 letters.

Turns out, they were doing him lots of good. In one of his letters to me, The Spouse told me my letters were like "a breath of fresh air," that he was considered lucky by his fellow recruits, since his name was always called during mail call. And later, when he graduated, I got to meet some of his fellow recruits. As I was introduced to one, he shook my hand and said, "You're the one who sent all the letters."

a box for all my letters
letters from The Spouse while he was away
Letters hold a special place for me. I still use them to keep in touch with a handful of dedicated pen pals, most of them scattered throughout the U.S. and the world. I make sure all the letters and cards I send are handwritten and handcrafted. With Valentine's Day around the corner, I was hoping to get a few more friends on board for letter exchanges. And The Month of Letters Challenge by author superstar Mary Robinette Kowal is the perfect opportunity to make new pen pals.
Here's the challenge:
1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.
That's about 24 letters. I love that it doesn't just have to be a letter. I plan on doing some handmade postcards and goodies to send as well.

To learn more, head over to The Month of Letters Challenge on Mary's website. Happy penning!

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