Leah Dieterich is gracious every day. It isn’t that she is regularly showered with gifts or good deeds, but rather the thxthxthx.com founder is just thankful for the little things: Tote Bags (“for being gender-neutral purses”) and a New Longboard (“for allowing my afterwork exercise to be considered play”), to name just a couple.
Her notes of gratitude can be followed on Twitter and read in her new book. Here, Dieterich talks with us about long distance letters, being a lefty and why a signature is her favorite part of the writing process.
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
I remember always being encouraged (read: forced) to write thank you notes for gifts, and I remember writing letters, too, although I’m not sure to whom. I had a very special handwritten correspondence in high school with a friend who was studying abroad. I saved all of those letters.
How did thxthxthx — the blog & the book — come to be?
The practice of writing daily thank you notes to random things came at a time in my life when my husband and I were going through a big transition in our relationship. We’d decided for our careers to live on opposite coasts for one year, which turned into two. That separation was a time of huge growth for me, but also of great instability. I think thxthxthx came as a response to that. Finding one thing to be thankful for a day helped to ground me. Once I began blogging the notes I was approached by an agent who then helped me sell the book. It was a dream come true.
What do you enjoy about stationery?
I love the tactile quality. I love the intimacy that comes from holding something the sender actually touched. And in a time when it literally takes almost no effort at all to write an email or tweet or text, receiving a physical letter makes you feel special and worthy. It has more impact than ever.
What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
I love the signature. Because that’s the point when you don’t have to be careful anymore and can just write with true abandon. I always write in pen, so I write fairly deliberately so I don’t have to scratch things out or throw anything away. When you get to the end, you know you can’t screw up your name, so you can really let loose.
To whom do you most often write?
I have exchanged very elaborate handmade cards with my husband for every holiday since we met 12 years ago.
What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
I like a good envelope, actually. A handmade one or a decorated oneWhat makes your correspondence distinct?
My handwriting is very good for a lefty. I’m proud of that.
What do you think classic correspondence will look like in a decade or two?
I think it will continue to evolve and become more digital, but I think the piece of paper and the hand written card will never go away. At least I hope not.
Have a question for Leah? Email our Crane Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org.