I recently renewed my passion for written letters (you know, paper, postage, the mailbox??). I last had pen pals when I was a child through a service my school teacher signed us up for. It had been decades since I wrote to someone I didn't know personally. If I am honest it had been almost that long since I mailed more than Christmas or birthday cards and thank you notes.
Long, newsy letters have given way to text messages, emails and phone calls. When I was a child it was so expensive to call long distance that I wrote letters to my grandparents and cousins and remember the rush of getting a letter in the mail.
A couple of years ago while staying with my parents they shared a box of old family letters that had been hidden in the wall of my grandparents old house. I spent almost a year reading, scannign and transcribing that treasure trove of letters and it rekindled my interest in letter writing.
Since then I have participated in a couple of different organized card and letter writing programs. Check out iHanna's bi-annual home made postcard exchange, Jennifer Belthoff's Love Notes and the annual snailmailmyemail event. I also joined Postcrossing.
More recently I linked up with a group of avid pen-pals. Some of the letters are more of an opporrtunity to share the sender's creative offerings or swap mail and paper items (think stickers, tea bags, etc.) than newsy letters, but others focus more on the letters themselves. I enjoy unlocking the mailbox so much more these days knowing there's likely a postcard or letter from across the world mixed in with the junk and the bills.
One of my pen-pals shared her new passion for leaving love letters to strangers around town (check out moreloveletters.com for inspiration and to participate in the movement). I have started drafting notes and leaving them tucked in books in the library, at the local Barnes and Nobel, in restaurant and airport restrooms, etc.