I am glad to say that five handwritten letters and notes went out in the mail on July 5th, the Tuesday on which service via the USPS resumed. I am also happy to report that Maddie and I have been on daily walks every day so far this month. The only problem is that I scheduled this challenge in conjunction with Maddie's least favorite time of the year, early July, a time in which every street in my neighborhood is blazing with fireworks.
Maddie has never done well with fireworks, and on two of our five walks, she ran so fast she took the leash right out of my hand and made a beeline right back to the front door before we had even made it to the end of the block. On both of those days I decided to substitute a long car ride, which seemed to be much more enjoyable for her anyways, and on one of the nights I was up pretty late (after the buzz had died down) so we went on a nice, long evening walk around the neighborhood. Before leaving for vacation, we've got a few trips to the park in store, along with a trip to the vet and a shopping spree at PetSmart.
A happy dog cools herself down with some heavy panting
The letter writing habit has not been nearly as difficult getting started as I feared it would be, and has already become something I look forward to doing in the evening before bed. Although I have kept the notes relatively short and sweet so far, I look forward to more lengthy correspondences as momentum builds in the challenge. So far, I have written an old friend from high school, an author whom I admire, a casual reader of the blog who I have never met, a friend who I wanted to send the Yankees calendar to, my favorite local bookseller and a bookseller who lives far away, but with whom I hope to begin a regular correspondence.
Several requests for calendars have also come in, and they were all sent out in the mail today. There are a few more that I need to deliver locally and the rest will probably be given out at the Andover Antique Mall as freebies, so make sure to get in your outstanding requests as soon as possible.
I will leave you with a quote from page 58 of Molly O'Shaughnessy's Just Write: The Art of Personal Correspondence: "Written correspondence provides a more unique opportunity than ever before, because the social isolation engendered by modern technology forcefully compels us to reach out on a more personal level. Practiced pen pals find writing to be a more intimate medium one that is capable of grappling with the intense emotions often involved in complex human relationships. While we often find discourse with another especially difficult in the heat of the moment, letter writing provides us the requisite time to access our rational minds. In this way, we allow emotions to diffuse quietly in order to purposefully choose our words and anticipate their possible interpretations, rather than carelessly launching them into another person's space. In fact, in a world of flat-screen computers and instantaneous text messages, writing seems the only medium capable of saving us from the chilling loneliness of a dismally digital world or the potentially fatal misinterpretation caused by ill-chosen speech."
Oh yeah, I also discovered a wonderful little book I didn't even know existed on my leisurely stroll through Watermark Books today. It contains bibliographical information and illustrations for over 140 turn of the century book covers from the period of 1875-1930. I'm already worried this might become a new area of interest that may take up another shelf or two in the basement, as I realized I own a copy of the first cover illustrated, Mr. Bodley Abroad by Horace Scudder.