Saturday, 24 June 2017

Happy Anniversary LWA!

Today is the 10th Anniversary Party of the Letter Writers Alliance, or LWA as most of us refer to it.  Sadly, I cannot be there but I'll be there in spirit. For those of you who don't know what the LWA is, hurry over here and have a look. Kathy and Donovan created the LWA to reinforce the importance of putting pen to paper. Their mission statement says it all:  

In this era of instantaneous communication, a handwritten letter is a rare and wondrous item. The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form; neither long lines, nor late deliveries, nor increasing postal rates will keep us from our mission.

Over the past ten years they have given support to all those whose love of writing letters is not just a hobby but a passion. They highlight those who embrace the cause whether they are making stationery, creating artistamps, sending out mail art, featuring new stamps offered by the post office and so many more things. The LWA is an international organization and its membership has surpassed the 11,000 mark and is still growing. Their voice has reached all parts of the world and welcomes everyone who shares their values.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Letter Writers Alliance, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to mark the day than an open letter to two much loved letter proponents.

Dear Kathy and Donovan,

Happy Anniversary to you both and to all the members of the LWA. Thanks to the two of you, champions of letter writers everywhere, letter writing has risen out of the dust like the phoenix and soared to new heights. Your vision to bring letter writers together through socials, on line events, pen pal matches and all the thought provoking posts on your web site has been an incredible gift.

I joined LWA six years ago. Before that I belonged to two pen pal newsletters and even wrote for one of them. That seemed to be winding down and I felt devastated that letter writing which had been a constant all my life was fading away due to the rise of the internet. There didn't seem to be so many like-minded people around and one by one the remaining ones were turning to email. Little did I know that the internet was more of a saviour of letter writing than a deterrent. One day while doing a search I found 16 Sparrows quite by accident. The elation at finding there were still others out there who felt as I did about letter writing was a revelation. I immediately became a member and my journey into the new, media rich world of pen palling began. Since joining I've met so many wonderful people who share my love of letter writing, I've learned new things and I was even inspired to start a blog to share my adventures in the world of correspondence.

Thank you to you both for rescuing all of us whose love of writing letters was left without an outlet to share our passion. You have made an impact on so many.

                                                                                    With all my best wishes and gratitude,

                                                                                                           Anna M
                                                                                                      Member #1631

Friday, 23 June 2017

My quirky little desk planner tells me it is World Typewriter Day today. Although I type on my keyboard a lot, I don't use my typewriter so much these days. I suppose I've been spoiled by the instant edit function and you can see by my ancient typewriter eraser that I have made a few lot of mistakes while using a typewriter. 

 However, once I do get out my powder blue, portable typewriter I'm always glad I did. It's very nostalgic for me, bringing back memories of high school where I learned to type. My class was doomed to use the old manual typewriters while all other classes had the benefit of electric ones. I didn't much care because the dinosaur model we had at home needed a bit of pounding to get the letters on the paper so I didn't have to alter my method of typing as my sister did when we were at school. Pounding the keys of an electric typewriter produced lots of extra characters as well as stern looks from the typing teacher. I remember typing letters on our old relic, mostly typing in red as the ribbon was so worn and the black ink had to be saved for school work. It was something my father brought home from work one day, saved from being trashed.

I have very fond memories of those days and believe it or not that typewriter. It weighed a ton and it was a two-man effort to drag it out of my mother's closet and get it onto the table so we could use it but it was worth it. My sister and I both used it for letters and also typing work for school. It had that distinctive font that only typewriters have and fewer keys than modern keyboards have so things like the exclamation point had to be created by using a period/full stop, back-spacing and using an apostrophe. In time we got more adept at typing these two-part characters.

Some made use of the fact that you could type, back-space and over-type another letter or symbol which lead to the original emoticons. And there were those who took it one step further and created artwork using their typewriters. These images would range from simple little pictures to full blown works of art. One man in particular, Paul Smith, a man with severe cerebral palsy, created masterpieces with his manual typewriter. When email was new and everyone was forwarding everything and anything, I received an email detailing Paul Smith's work and have marveled at his typed images ever since. You can read the amazing story of Paul Smith and see some of his work here. 

Typewriter art by Paul Smith
The typewriter has a long and distinguished career which you can have a look at by going here.  I admit, before I read this article I had no idea just how long the concept of typing had been around.  The writing ball produced by a Danish Pastor looks very interesting and I'd love to see how it actually typed. I googled typewriter images and the weird and wonderful collection of typewriters/contraptions  that ensued was incredible. Through all its manifestations, from archaic to state of the art, I still have a fond affection for our old Royal typewriter. I'm smiling just thinking of those wonderful days.

Today, I thought I would type a letter or two in homage to World Typewriter Day. It will be a nostalgic journey, and I'm looking forward to it. Why don't you type some letters too? Go on, drag out your old typewriter and live the dream! For those of you who don't have the pleasure of owning a typewriter, go here for some fabulous fonts that immortalize our old friend. I've used Travelling Typewriter font for the banner on this post. 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Today, June 1st, is International Pen Pal Day.  I hope you will set aside some time to pen a few letters to mark the day.  If you are stretched for time, write notes or postcards, but do send something. It's a beautiful sunny day here and I've been in the garden writing post cards to my pals, and some to family and friends too. It's so nice to be back writing again. See you in the post!