Sunday, August 02, 2009

Snail mail under seige: USPS looks to cut service

The New York Times has a story about how the "Increasing Postal Deficits Intensify Talks on Solution." One option? Cut delivery service to five days per week, eliminating Saturday mail and potentially saving more than $3 billion a year.

As a person who loves writing, fountain pens, and handwritten letters, this makes me sad. In fact, it's renewed my fervor for letter writing and journaling, which has almost completely fallen by the wayside since I became a working mom. There just do not seem to be enough hours in the day to feed the beast at work, feed and spend time with my family at night, and carve out "me time" for things like writing letters to friends and chronicling life's weekly ebbs and flows.

But you make time for the things that matter, right? So now that Ava's getting bigger, more verbal (latest words? "Sometimes" and "I guess"), I'm sharing my love of writing with her.

I don't use pencils, so she's learning how to use a fountain pen, ink pens and markers without stabbing herself or anyone else in the eyeball, or ruining nearby clothing or furniture. Only a couple times have I had to explain, "Pens are for paper, not tables or walls or couches, right?" Given that boundary, an unlimited supply of legal size sheets or left over scratch paper from me and her dad, she's been fine and is content to happily scribble away at my side or while sitting on our laps as we read or catch up at the end of the day.

"Dear Santa, I know it's July but..."

Ava making edits on my letter.

I was also poking around online and realized I'm not the only one who loves writing, pens and snail mail. I found the following pen and snail-mail-centric blogs. How cool is that?! I'll be adding these to my feed reader pronto.

I also just refilled a pen and pulled out some paper I've been saving for when inspiration hits. Today's as good a day as any. And sure, e-mail and Twitter and blogging are faster, but really, have you ever opened your e-mail with the same sense of anticipation that you have opening an unexpected letter from a friend? I think not.

So why not sit down tonight before the USPS goes under or stamps go up again and jot off a few lines on a piece of paper or a card to a friend just to say, "Hey, I thought about you today and hope you're enjoying the summer or life finally free of that deadweight or the Mariners this season" or whatever. As one writer said, "I hate writing, but love having written." I would add, I love having received a written letter.