Friday, March 2, 2012

Post(card) Mortem

I made it. A postcard a day for a month. It doesn't sound very hard, does it? I mean, plenty of people who participated in the Month of Letters Challenge wrote real letters, and based on the comments on that site, many people sent a lot more than one a day. Scribbling a few lines on a postcard is nothing in comparison! But I wanted to make this project something I'd actually do (and quite frankly, I know I wouldn't have kept up with it if I'd been writing letters every day), and I wanted this to be something that I could carry forward beyond February 29.

I set a few goals for myself around this project - I didn't sign up to cultivate addresses of strangers, I wanted to be thoughtful and pick postcards that I could identify with the recipient. I asked for volunteers from my Facebook friends, and when I ran out of those, I just sent postcards to people whose addresses I already have. Which ended up being a fab decision - I've gotten some great responses from people who didn't even know I was doing this, and a few people knew about the project but missed my call for volunteers. I also didn't ask for or expect people to write me back. It's all about the sending, baby. I wrote all the postcards in real time, rather than writing them all on the weekends and mailing them daily, or missing a few days and then catching up. Part of this was practical: I just knew that if I allowed myself some "days off" I'd forget about it and get hopelessly behind. But I also wanted to really write to each person, and to keep the project alive for the whole month. That's not to say everything went perfectly - I missed three days and had to send the postcard late, and there were a couple where I just dashed off a quick note in order to make the deadline. But even on the days where it felt perhaps a bit burdensome, I looked forward to looking through my stash of postcards and planning who would get which one, and when. And I laughed every time I was sorting through papers and found EVEN MORE postcards.

Another goal that I didn't really think about until I'd started was to use the postcards I had rather than buying new ones just for this month. This was to get me to send out the postcards that I've been hanging on to for so long instead of just buying some generic ones to get me through the month. The only postcard I bought all month was the one from Colorado Springs - and really, how could I not send a postcard from the road when I had a trip so conveniently placed? Now that I've cleared out my stores a bit, the postcard embargo is lifted, hooray!

Some minor regrets: because I've been in a slow motion de-clutter zone for the last year or so, I know I got rid of some postcards that I wish I'd had in February. Around the holidays I recycled some postcards from Reno, for instance. They were rather generic postcards, but they were from a trip in 1998? '99? when a group of us 'kidnapped' our friend for her bridal shower, which ended up being a weekend getaway. It would have been fun to send her one of those. Also, I finally got rid of a ton of duplicate postcards from my dance company's shows over the years - always making sure I kept at least one, but now I really wish I had more copies to send out.

So what's next? I'm hoping to continue, although at a slower pace - I'm thinking weekly. I also want to highlight some of the many postcards (and other items) I've received and saved over the years. I do hope that the quality of the pictures will improve dramatically. I didn't want to add anything that might slow down my progress in February, so I took photos with my phone every day, but last night I used this amazing new technology called a SCANNER to create a library of postcards that should be easier to see. [/nerd]

Yours in correspondence....

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