Ten Rules for Letter Writing by Micheal Kovacs

  1. Write letters.
  2. Letters are a conversation in slow motion between two people. Treat it as such.
  3. No one HAS to write back. If they do, it is a gift. Respect it as such.
  4. No one can tell you how to write. Conversely, you are not allowed to tell anyone how they should be writing you.
  5. Write letters.
  6. You must make the choice between what you choose more: content or presentation.
  7. If someone does not write back, send a postcard asking how they are doing and if they got the letter. If there is no reply, respect the silence and keep going on with life.
  8. To quote Charles Bukowski, as the spirit wanes, the form rises. You are not obliged to follow any strict form in personal letter writing. If you wish to do so fine, but that is a personal choice.
  9. Unless otherwise stated or understood, letters are between the sender and reader. Respect that privacy.
  10. Oh yeah, did I mention WRITE LETTERS!

Michael Kovacs is a writer, musician, composer,author, and artist. He has performed in venues from New York City to San Francisco to the island of Malta and beyond. One
of his areas of focus is personal letter writing, and he has given seminars on this art at pen shows all across the country. His book, “Not the Yearbook You Expected” is on Amazon and his catalogue of music is available on iTunes and CDBaby.

For more from Michael Kovacs, you can follow him on Twitter and read more of his work on his blog Songs in the Key of the Ink: The Art of Personal Letter Writing. 

 

 

 

Our Favorite Tricks for Using Stationery in Your Home Decor

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Via Crane & Co

After the invites have all been sent out and the thank yous are in the mail, what’s to become of all that leftover pretty paper? Throw it away? Not if these projects have anything to say about it!

Paper is actually a pretty versatile material for home decor—and reusing it helps you reclaim materials that would otherwise be sent straight to the landfill. And if you’re already using an ecofriendly product, such as paper made from 100 percent recovered cotton, your projects will have double impact, with the extra bonus of beautifying your home, of course!

The best part is, you don’t have to be an origami master with years of paper folding experience on your crafting resume in order to use it in your decor. These simple projects can add a delicate note of interest to a boring wall or provide a basket of roses that will never wither and die. So break out the scissors and let’s get folding!

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Via Capitol Romance

A Pocketful of Posies

Paper flowers have been a DIY staple for years, but with the rise of Pinterest tutorials and blog articles, users have concocted some truly fantastic creations that look just like the real thing—maybe even better, since paper roses will never wilt! This tutorial uses watercolors to perfectly nail the pale pink hues of real live roses, while this one produces stylized florals that look like they were pulled from an illustrator’s idle doodles. For extra attractive petals that are naturally beautiful, use letter sheets in a delicate hue, like ecru or pearl white.

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Via Classic Play

Easy Paper Wreath

When you pull out the scissors and crafting supplies, kids are going to want to get in on the action, and with this fun project they can! It includes some hand-colored pieces that make the whole process like dying Easter eggs—and keep little hands busy, while you get a brilliant and triumphant wreath out of the deal.

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Via Twitter

Cute-as-a-button Custom Mobile

Speaking of kiddos, if you have some moms-to-be on your gift list, you’ll appreciate this guide that will help you turn stationery scraps into pure baby shower gold. While any paper type will do, for the ultimate gift, select paper with the highest craftsmanship, such as Crane’s hand-engraved correspondence cards. This is one gift you won’t need to worry about returning!

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Via Lia Griffith

Paper Succulent Garden

Super-trendy succulent gardens have the power to make any home appear as though it was transported straight from an Anthropologie display, but unfortunately, not all of us were blessed with a thumb green enough to make it happen. Thankfully, this paper succulent project never needs any watering—and it looks real enough to make you do a double take!

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Via Gathering Beauty

Delicate paper boxes

During the Victorian era, it was customary for a woman to keep a “work box”—a place to store spare buttons, beads, and other bric-a-brac. These timeless paper boxes are the modern equivalent. They make a lovely home for safety pins, jewelry, or any other item that’s worth storing, and can be pressed into service as a delicate gift box for peak confectionery splendor.

There’s definitely no shortage of awesome stationery projects to try. The only hard part now is deciding which one to do first!

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Via Mr.Printables

Geometric Origami Ice Cream

Not into botanicals? Not to worry—paper projects have something for everyone! This one teaches you how to construct ice cream origami for a geometric wall hanging that’s super sweet. I love how the boxy shapes make these look like they were snatched straight from an 80s video game!

There’s definitely no shortage of awesome stationery projects to try. The only hard part now is deciding which one to do first!

Created by Erin Vaughan 

Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner.  She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize.com, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

 

 

Interview: John Segal, Art Director for the 1801 Collection

Crane & Co. 1801 Collection

Crane & Co.’s longstanding history gets a beautiful revival with its 1801 Collection. Specially curated by one of the Crane team’s leading creatives, art director John Segal, this collection embraces a choice selection of archived artwork that warranted being brought back to life. An avid collector of fountain pens, Segal will tell you that his favorite design within the collection is, of course, the celery and gold fountain pen. An extraordinary piece of engraving work and featuring a color scheme that is both unique and subtle, who can really blame him? But in a compilation so full of enticing and enthrallingly beautiful motifs, there’s really no wrong answer. Join us as we get to know this beautiful collection, and the man behind it.

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Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Though I’ll never quite feel like a native, I’ve called New York home for 25 years. I ride my bike to work every day, I’m an avid collector of fountain pens, and I can name the starting lineup of the 1969 American League Champion Baltimore Orioles. I like my coffee black, I have a small 12lb dog named Daisy, and my favorite color is orange.

How long have you been with the Crane team?

I have been a full-time employee of Crane for three years, though my relationship with the company is longstanding. When the opportunity to come on board full-time presented itself, I jumped at the chance. This is my dream job. I feel very fortunate to have, what I believe, is one of the greatest jobs in America. I design things that I love and get to use, and for a company that has a unique story and special role in America.

Can you attribute anything from your past to working at Crane today?

From a very early age, I knew I wanted to become a designer, but I didn’t really understand what designers did. I liked the idea of having a drawing table full of instruments (I have a very pronounced tool fixation). I figured the way to indulge in this fetish was to find a profession that used these tools.

But, I always remembered my parents having a keepsake box on their coffee table growing up. Their wedding invitations had been engraved, and the engraving was then turned into this box – it fascinated me. It now sits on my own coffee table and I consider it one of my most treasured possessions. Whether it influenced my choice in career or not, I don’t know. But whatever the case, it seems appropriate.

What’s your favorite part about coming to work every day?

I wear a lot of different hats at work, and there’s always something new on my desk to deal with. My absolute favorite thing about work is driving up to the factory in North Adams, Massachusetts. I love nothing more than to walk onto the factory floor, hear the hum of the machines and take in the smells of the printing ink. Anyone that works in the printing industry knows that rush, and it’s amazing.

Tell us a little bit about what your desk looks like.

At any given time, my desk is covered with coffee cups, paintbrushes, inkbottles, rulers, takeout containers – you name it. But underneath it all is a gleaming 8-foot slab of perfect white Formica – and the organized Swiss designer I always wished to be. Pristine underneath, frenzied on top – it’s forever in chaos.

How does life outside of work inspire you, and in what ways do you seek it out?

Bike riding, of course – something I do daily. But I also maintain the theory of “you are the company you keep.” I’m surrounded by talented and creative people. My wife is an amazingly gifted art director, and my daughter is an artist and writer. And, living in New York, you’re never far from inspiration – it’s everywhere.

Tell me about your design process. Does that change or stay consistent?

I like to see what else is resonating in the marketplace, and you’ll find me visiting all the trade shows, gift shows and stationery shows. I love visiting old-time office supplies stores to fine N.O. stock (new/old stock). Plus, I draw huge inspiration from the Japanese aesthetic and often find myself on the site Sumally (it’s like the Japanese Pinterest, and it’s absolutely delightful and entrancing).

Tell me a little bit about what you were tasked with when asked to create this collection, and how it started to take shape.

The objective behind 1801 was to bring the most talented artisans, the most beautiful art and the most incredible paper and technique into one place. This collection represents the highest level of craftsmanship and execution.

Crane & Co. 1801 Collection Paperweights

What brought you to the designs chosen?

There was extraordinary art in the archives that really warranted being brought back to life. It’s a true revival of the best of the best. With multi-pass engraving, the colors chosen, the details in each design – they’re all so special and magical.

What makes this collection unique?

1801 is the year that Stephen Crane founded the mill in Dalton, Massachusetts, and all artwork and images come from the Crane archives. This collection is the marriage between subject matter, printing, paper, edge painting and packaging. Every piece in that box – from the wrapping, to the hot foil stamp, to the tissue-lined envelopes – represents the finest craftsmanship on the market. Everything was hand-made by people that are exceedingly good at their jobs and their craft.

Describe the person who would love this collection.

My mother! Though she would say that it is too nice to write on. But the person that loves this collection is a true connoisseur of stationery, someone that appreciates fine art and the highest level of craftsmanship. Though this collection was created to be written on, I can see someone having it on his or her desk just to look at – it’s that beautiful.

How do you make a note truly memorable?

As they say, the hardest part is showing up. The hardest part about writing a note is actually writing it and getting it in the mail. People are thrilled to get notes. Speak from the heart, be brief and concise, and get it in the mail.

Kara Neff lives in New York City by way of Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. She can be found writing freelance for beauty, fashion and interior design outside of her full-time job as a fashion writer. 

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Real Weddings: Pretty On Paper

1Ecruwhite Royalty Wedding Invitation

Meet Jens and Amol, a couple so pretty on paper you would think it too good to be true. World-travelers, yet homebodies when in town, these two businessmen know how to keep the flame alive. Date nights are a weekly ritual and weekends together are a sweet dose of couple activities. Their love for each other seems almost tangible, something which they were able to harness beautifully in their choice of stationery. Crane, being their stationery destination of choice, and a resource they use near exclusively in their home, was an easy decision for their wedding – and the perfect fit. Choosing an invitation suite that accommodated their exquisitely posh – yet within the bounds of casual – affair, was something the Crane team was wholly equipped for, and readily tuned into. The result? Something akin to magic, something near perfect. Their love became a sentiment caught on paper, and one all guests could touch, hold, and feel forever.

2Ecruwhite Royalty Wedding Invitation

Though it may not have been love at first sight for these two, they appear a seamlessly complementary fit to one another. With a wedding that fully articulated their styles, they approached the look and feel with a sort of casual formality that made their day equal parts lovely and luxurious. What all started at a business conference led to a candle-lit proposal, and then to an incredible wedding that included a surprise serenade by Jens at their reception. This beautiful couple planned quite the event – and it all started with their invitations.

3Ecruwhite Royalty Wedding Invitation

So let’s get to know them a little bit more in depth. We promise it will only prove that, though pretty on paper, they’re even better in real life.

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Tell us a little bit about yourselves! What type of couple are you – adventurer-seekers, or the popcorn and movie night type?

Jens: We both have hectic jobs that require quite a bit of travel, so when we happen to be in the same place and not working, we really like to just enjoy our time and not be too scheduled…so that could be a bottle of wine at home, a nice dinner out, or hitting the gym. One of my favorite times is our Saturday mornings when we spend hours reading the weekend papers and having breakfast together before working out. We also make sure to have at least one ‘date night’ a week.

Amol: I love our relaxing weekends, and weekly date nights, but when we’re not at home we love traveling (Jens especially!). Over the last two years we’ve been to places like South Africa, Turkey, Belgium, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Maldives. Our favorite place is Mexico, for the resorts (Jens) and the spicy, veggie food + margaritas (Amol).

Tell us how you and your partner met, and what was the proposal like? Give us all the details.  

Jens: We met at a networking conference when Amol was in business school and I was representing my employer at that time. Needless to say I was all business and made a bad impression…a couple of months later when Amol was in New York I wrote him to see if he wanted to catch up over a drink. He only realized it was a date about an hour in! The proposal was just as much a surprise to Amol. He had just accepted a new job offer, and I had told him I would come home to cook a celebratory meal. What he didn’t know was that he would be walking in on 400 tealight candles and 1,000 rose petals, as well as a wedding proposal.

Amol: I remember when I first met Jens, and I was so put off because, despite having mutual friends, he wouldn’t talk to me because I wasn’t interested in consulting! I nearly didn’t make it to what turned out to be our first date because it was a cold evening in January, I was coming back from a dinner with a couple of friends, and couldn’t find a cab. I’m glad I made it though! The moment Jens proposed was so indicative of how he is in general — the surprise, the bottle of Dom Perignon he had saved for that very occasion (before he met me, he had that bottle planned), the hundreds of tealights in our apartment. It all felt so perfect and amazing.

Tell me about the process of choosing your wedding invitations and did you have something in mind when you first approached Crane.com? What drew you to Crane.com? Did that change?

Jens: I’ve always used Crane for my personal stationery. I like the combination of a non-fussy design with the formality of the high quality paper stock for a written thank you note. For the wedding we were looking for the same kind of casual formality: black tie dress code at the Harvard Club of New York, but with guests truly enjoying every moment rather than being uncomfortable or bored. The invitation we chose fit with the venue and dress code: heavy paper stock with a very traditional font type and wording. We also worked with a calligrapher, Ashantai Yungai, that came recommended by Crane. He was the cherry on the cake, making sure our invitations wowed people as they received them.

4Printed Ecruwhite Save the Date Card

Amol: We’ve always used Crane stationery at our house, so choosing Crane was our number one choice. Our invitations were hand-calligraphed in navy blue ink, which was one of our wedding colors, and we really wanted them to feel special.

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Was there anything about the process of choosing your invitations that you weren’t expecting?

Jens: I didn’t realize there would be so much choice! Nor did I expect that, once presented with all the choices, I actually had strong opinions about wedding invitations. I was also shocked to see how much (or how little) some of the invitations cost. Crane was a great choice for us: I was very familiar with the quality of their products, and it allowed us to get a very luxurious invitation suite without exploding our budget.

7Ecruwhite Royalty Wedding Invitation

Do you have any advice for couples on the invitation process?

Jens: One of the best tips I received when picking our invitation, was to remember that for months, the save the date and subsequently the invitation are really the only tangible part of the wedding for all of your guests, so you want to set the right tone and create the right expectations. That’s why, for example, we made sure to use a calligrapher for both the save-the-dates and the actual invitations.

Amol: Completely agree. Not skimping on the invitations was one of the best decisions we made. I still have a copy of our invite, which we saved with our album.

Tell me about your wedding! What was your favorite moment?

Jens: The ceremony was actually my favorite moment of the day. We had a dear friend officiate, and the whole ceremony felt very personal. I really liked that we both wrote our own vows. I’ll remember those forever. I also really liked the speeches. We went light on the number of speeches and how long they could go, and everyone did such a great job at keeping them short, sweet, and funny.

Amol: My favorite part of the day was a surprise piano performance by Jens of John Legend’s song, “All of Me.” Jens had every single moment of the wedding planned out, so I was completely taken aback when suddenly this big piano rolled into the room, and Jens sat down to sing and play that song. He serenaded me in front of all our guests and loved ones, it was so beautiful — I was completely struck by how emotional and happy I felt. To this day, whenever I hear that song, I think back to our wedding day, it was really special.

Credits:

Photos by STAK Studios.

Kara Neff lives in New York City by way of Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. She can be found writing freelance for beauty, fashion and interior design outside of her full-time job as a fashion writer. 

Are you a bride, groom or stationer who has a Crane & Co. wedding invitation you’d like to have featured in Real Weddings? Email us at submissions@crane.com.

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Enter our “World Stationery Day” Giveaway

In celebration of the 2016 World Stationery Day and the written word, we are hosting a Giveaway! Everyone who participates on April 27, 2016, as detailed below, will receive one box of free Crane stationery. Here is how to take part:

1) Log onto your Pinterest account, follow us and create a board called “World Stationery Day 2016”.

2) Fill your board with at least 15 pins featuring all things stationery, including at least 5 pins of Crane & Co. stationery. Use images from our website www.crane.com or our Pinterest boards as your pins.

3) Email us a link to your board at submissions@crane.com.

4) Tell all your friends about this important day and ask them to enter, too.

5) Keep writing!

Terms & Conditions 

By participating in the 2016 World Stationery Day Giveaway, the participant grants Crane & Co. permission to promote the participant’s name and submission for marketing purposes. Slight alterations may be made by staff in order to fit size restrictions on our digital marketing platforms.

If children under the age of 18 are shown on the participant’s submitted Pinterest board, a parent or legal guardian must approve the inclusion of said photo. The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m., EDT on Wednesday, 27 April, 2016. Links to boards must be received before the end of the giveaway to be eligible. Any received after Wednesday, 27 April, 2016, will be disqualified. Only one Pinterest board per participant is permitted, and it must be submitted via email.

All submitted boards have an equal opportunity. Boards will be accepted with no discrimination toward sex, race or age. All decisions are final. Crane & Co. reserves the right to refuse any board they deem unacceptable for any reason.

Participants will be responsible for obtaining any and all consents, approvals and licenses required in connection with their participation in the giveaway. Participants will be contacted by Crane & Co. via Pinterest and the prize will be release within two weeks.

Participation in this giveaway includes automatic sign-up for the weekly Crane & Co. e-newsletter.

Each participant will receive one box of stationery from the www.crane.com website, with an estimated value of $20. Crane & Co. reserves the right to substitute a product of equal or greater value. The participant may not exchange the giveaway item for cash or any other merchandise or service. The participant will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize.

Participants are granting Crane & Co. an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to use your Pinterest board in connection with the giveaway and feature your Pinterest board and all its content in connection with the giveaway in all media (now known or hereafter developed). Participants agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights participants grant above. Participants will not receive any compensation or credit for use of their Pinterest board, other than as described in these terms and conditions.

By entering this giveaway, each participant is, to the extent allowed by law, releasing and holding harmless Crane & Co., Inc and its subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability arising from or in connection with the giveaway or any prize received.

You are not eligible to participate in the giveaway if you are an employee or an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of Crane & Co. or any of its subsidiaries, or a person involved in any part of the administration or execution of the giveaway. This giveaway is void in Puerto Rico and wherever else prohibited.

Have a question about our giveaway? Email the Crane Concierge at submissions@crane.com.

Enter our “Oscar Stationery” Giveaway

In celebration of 88th Academy Awards, we are hosting the “Oscar Stationery” Giveaway. Everyone who participates will receive one box of stationery from the “Boxed Note Cards” section of www.crane.com. Here is how to enter:

1) Log onto your Pinterest account, follow us and create a board called “Oscar Stationery”.

2) Fill your board with at least 7 A-listers nominated for Oscar this year and match them with Crane & Co. stationery pieces that suit their personality best in your opinion. Use images from our website www.crane.com or our Pinterest boards as your Pins.

3) Email us a link to your board at concierge@crane.com.

4) Tell all your friends to enter, too.

5) Toast to all 2016 Oscar Nominees and wish them best of luck!

Terms & Conditions 

By entering the “Oscar Stationery” Giveaway, the contestant grants Crane & Co. permission to promote the contestant’s name and submission for marketing purposes. Slight alterations may be made by staff in order to fit size restrictions on our digital marketing platforms.

If children under the age of 18 are shown on the contestant’s submitted Pinterest board, a parent or legal guardian must approve the inclusion of said photo. The contest ends at 11:59 p.m., EDT on Monday, February 29th, 2016. Entries must be received before the end of the contest to be eligible. Any received after February 29th, 2016, will be disqualified. Only one Pinterest board per contestant is permitted, and it must be submitted via email.

All submitted boards have an equal opportunity. Boards will be accepted with no discrimination toward sex, race or age. All decisions are final. Crane & Co. reserves the right to refuse any board they deem unacceptable for any reason.

Contestants will be responsible for obtaining any and all consents, approvals and licenses required in connection with their participation in the contest. Contestants will be contacted by Crane & Co. via Pinterest and the prize will be release within two weeks.

By entering the contest, contestants are automatically signed up for the weekly Crane & Co. e-newsletter.

The winner will receive one box of stationery from the “Boxed Note Cards” section of www.crane.com. The estimated value of this prize is $20.00. Crane & Co. reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. The winner may not exchange the prize for cash or any other merchandise or service. The winner will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes related to accepting the prize.

Contestants are granting Crane & Co. an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to use your entry in connection with the contest and feature your entry and all its content in connection with the contest in all media (now known or hereafter developed). Contestants agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights contestants grant above. Contestants will not receive any compensation or credit for use of their entry, other than as described in these terms and conditions.

The potential winner may be required sign an affidavit of eligibility, a liability/publicity release and other documentation. If the potential winner does not and return these required forms within the time period stated on the winner notification message, Crane & Co. may disqualify that person and select an alternate winner. Crane & Co. is not responsible for any unauthorized use of contestants.

By entry this contest, each contestant is, to the extent allowed by law, releasing and holding harmless Crane & Co., Inc and its subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability arising from or in connection with the contest or any prize won.

You are not eligible to participate in the contest if you are an employee or an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of Crane & Co. or any of its subsidiaries, or a person involved in any part of the administration or execution of the contest. This contest is void in Puerto Rico and wherever else prohibited.

Have a question about our contest? Email the Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

And the winner of our “Love Is…” Valentine’s Day Pinterest Contest Is…

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 4.16.51 PMThis past week we had the delight of viewing all of the entries for our “Love Is…” Valentine’s Day Pinterest contest. The task was to create a board inspired by our gold engraved #XOXO Correspondence Card, and in response we received a most creative assortment.

Just a few of items our enthusiasts love include:

Unfortunately, we had to pick (at random) one lucky winner. Take a peek at her “Love Is…” Pinterest board.

XOXO,
Crane & Co.

Life’s richer with friends, so let’s stay in touch! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

Photos: Santa’s Elves are Hard at Work in the Factory

Post Script: Writer and Letter Writer David Infante

When we stumbled upon writer David Infante’s lovely online piece praising the practice of writing letters, we of course wanted to know more about the 26-year-old New Yorker’s fancy for classic correspondence. Here, the former conscious thank you note objector shares why railroad spikes may make for good pen pal letters and writing while curious always has the potential for a most memorable response.

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When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
In college. When I was a kid, my parents made me write “thank you” notes to anyone who gave me a gift—Christmas, birthday, etc.—and I hated it. Sometimes, if the gift wasn’t even that good, I would be angry that it had been given to me. Now I have to write another note, and for what?! I would fight back, too, if I had already verbally thanked the giftee face-to-face. As a Cool Teen™ trying to spend as much time as possible playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater on N64, I didn’t see the point of sending a note after the fact—it seemed redundant.

When I got to college, I was sort of lost. I had a really rough freshman year at a small liberal arts school, and I hated it. I was depressed and alone. I don’t want to make it sound like writing notes “saved” me—I was living a perfectly acceptable life for a college freshman, I was just a bit down on myself. So to cheer myself up, I started collecting my friends’ home addresses and sending them Christmas cards. Just for the hell of it. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it, so then I did it again at Easter, then again the following Christmas and so on. Obviously I still wrote “thank you” notes—it was an ingrained habit at that point. It kinda went from there, but it started because I had a lot of downtime and wasn’t enjoying myself in a new environment.

What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
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