The Month of Letters Challenge

February 5, 2014 Challenges 12

 I still have a card my dying grandmother sent me when I was 8 or 9 years old.  It doesn’t say much, just that she loves me, but I treasure the knowledge that even in her pain, she cared enough to send me a letter.

I don’t know about you, but I still get a thrill when I receive a personal letter or card in the mail.  It tells me that the writer cares about me as a person, that I am important enough to them that they took the time to write and post something, not just dash off a text or email.  It’s something I can keep and read again, if I choose.  Besides that card from my grandmother, I’ve kept love letters from my husband, some of the cards my daughter has made for me over the years, letters from my parents.

Letters are, according to author Mary Robinette Kowal, “both lasting and ephemeral.”  They are also intimate, written for an audience of one or perhaps two. While I’m no Luddite (I’m all for the quick communication that phones, texts, and email make possible), there’s something very special and almost timeless about a letter or a card. They’re more thoughtful, perhaps because they’re written by hand, so it’s much harder to change your phrasing after the fact. 

A few years ago, Kowal started the Month of Letters Challenge after she took a month off from the Internet.  It’s a way to recapture a more leisurely sense of time along with the intimacy and thoughtfulness that comes from writing for an audience of one.  I only found out about the challenge today, but I plan to jump in for the rest of the month.  I’ve already got today’s card ready — a note to our daughter at college.

Here’s how it works: During the month of February, commit to mailing something – a letter, a note, a postcard, a newspaper clipping, a birthday card, even a feather or a fabric swatch – on every day that the Post Office is open.  (That’s 23 days, not counting Sundays and a federal holiday.) And commit to writing back to everyone who writes to you.  (That can count as one of your mailed items.)  Go to the lettermo website if you’d like to sign up. 

Let’s make it a Month of Letters.

Photo © Peter Milosevic. (Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

12 Responses to “The Month of Letters Challenge”

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Thanks! I’ve got a sweater box full of note cards that I inherited from my mother-in-law a few years ago. I keep meaning to write notes to various friends and relatives, but I never seem to get to it. Now I’ve got a goal – one a day for the rest of the month.

  1. Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic

    This sounds like a great idea, Lark. I actually was working on two cards to send to my daughters today. I plan to send them tomorrow. And I got a letter over the weekend from a friend I’ve had since junior high school so I need to answer her letter. I’m going to go check out the website now.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Sounds good! One thing I’m going to do is answer Christmas cards. We didn’t send any out this year (my bad), but we got a bunch, and I want to acknowledge the friends and family who sent them. I also want to send sympathy cards to two friends who have lost family members in the last few weeks.

  2. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings

    What a great idea. It is so sad that we don’t take the time to write letters and cards as much anymore. I still have several cards and letters from my grandparents before they passed away. I found one not long ago and I just sat in my closet and sobbed. I will be sending out a few cards and letters this month, but I can’t commit to the whole month. To answer your question. I would recommend Sarah Addison Allen’s Sugar Queen to start or Garden Spells both are fantastic and they are older so you can get them at the library! I hope you love them!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I sob when I read my grandmother’s card, too. I knew her for such a short time.

      Thank you for the recommendation. I’ve got Garden Spells on my TBR list, so I think I’ll bump it higher up the list.

  3. kimbacaffeinate

    what a clever idea, I use to love to send handwritten letters, but since developing RA my handwriting is atrocious and it is painful to write more than a few sentences. This sounds like fun though.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Ouch, that must be frustrating as well as painful. I have a friend with RA and her hands are all twisted; she loves to cook but has a hard time doing it any more. My sympathies, my friend; I truly hope it doesn’t keep you from doing other things you love. Clearly, you’re still reading and blogging! 🙂