Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hmm, there appears to be a glitch in the mail-trix.

Oh man, I'm geeked out. I'm plain exhausted from the Calgary Expo. There were some highs (meeting Katee Sackhoff and Jasika Nicole) and some lows (the exit was temporarily shut down by the Fire Marshall and I'm ashamed to say that I might have contemplated eating my husband's arm at one point, I was so freaking hungry), but I made it back in close to one piece. I was planning on being practically comatose most of today, but something roused me out of the depths of my stupour and I took to the blog world to make one important announcement:



My past stance on computer-typed letters was "okay, I don't mind recieving the occasional letter of this type." Sometimes life gets busy, and it's fine if someone sneaks in a letter during a slow time at work. But no more.

I recieved a computer-typed letter this week from someone who responded to my penpal ad. My initial feeling was YAY, thanks for adding to my great mail week. However, imagine my surprise when I was visiting the blog of a fellow penpaller, and discovered that hey, she also recieved a letter from this same person. Not just any letter, mind you, THE EXACT SAME LETTER.

When I recieve a letter, I'm grateful for the time and effort that someone put into writing me something. It's a great feeling. Penpalling is not about booting up the computer, printing out a form introduction, slapping a stamp on it and sending it on its way. That takes the fun out of snail mail. I get enough form letters from every corporation and company I've ever provided my address to, I don't need more. If you don't have the time to write a real letter, or don't want to put in the effort, DON'T WRITE. Printing out a letter shouldn't be an option. It's an insult to those of us who spend hours and put a lot of heart into our letters. Sometimes I feel as though my hand will fall off after a really long letter, and it hardly seems fair that someone should be the recipient of that letter when that same person couldn't put in the same bit of effort for me.

I understand that intro letters can be tedious. "Hi, my name is Laura, blah, blah, blah, blah." But I also know that my intro letters are never the same. I always write different letters, because I know that different people will want to read about different things. I don't simply write one letter, and send several people a photocopy of that letter. That is the antithesis of penpalling.

I'm grateful that I've only recieved two computer-written letters during my re-discovery of snail mail. All my other responses have been from penpallers who love stationery and hand-written correspondence as much as I do. To you all, please know that I'm thankful for your mail. I've fallen in love with your stationery and your penmanship (some to the point where I'm contemplating replacing my hand with a robotic one that writes as nice as you do....), and I'm very happy that you like me enough to continue writing.

Now that my tirade is done, I return to my geek-induced coma.....


  1. Although I am not as well versed in penpalling as you are I agree that it is very uncool to send the same letter to different people. Its a first impression you are giving someone and it should be unique. You wouldn't introduce yourself to a group people on the street the same way everytime.

  2. To be honest, I think for an introduction letter it's ok. First letters are always a bit difficult to write imo. One writes about the same thing, each time, no ? I almost all of the time, type my first letters, after I most of the time handwrite them.

    1. Hello, thanks for visiting my blog! :) While I certainly see your point (I agree, first letters can be very difficult), I personally would never send a computer typed letter to one of my penpals. I never write the same intro letter to all my penpals; they might be similiar, but I always have a different intro for everyone. For example, if I know someone is into science fiction, I'll write about my mutual love for science fiction. But I might not mention science fiction to someone else because his/her passion is tea, so I'll discuss my love for tea in that letter. It's about connecting over mutual interests--interests that are unique to that person alone. My reasoning is that people are such beautiful, different creatures and letters should reflect that individuality as well.

      However, I should clarify that I'm not against typed letters (I recently recieved a typed letter from a penpal that was wonderful)--I'm against typed letters that lack individuality because they're meant to be sent to a generic group (ie: form letters that are essentially dear sir/madam letters).

      That's my personal feelings about this, and I certainly respect your stance on this topic as well--everyone has different opinions on things. We'll just have to agree to disagree. :)

  3. Laura, I'm Andy from Belgium and I did send you a typed letter, if I remember well, somehow I have the impression you are talking about me :) I would like to know if I'm the 'penpal' you're talking about. Because if so, I don't find it fair to judge someone from a first letter and call it the 'antithesis of penpalling'. I'm sure I have enough penpals who would tell you with pleasure what kind of penpal I am. If... if .... it's me you are talking about, I hope you will write back and give it a chance. Personally I don't mind typed letter at all, not even if the same letter is sent to another penpal. Though ... I handwrite almost every letter and yes tell same stories, though each time with another personal touch and one goes deeper into what the other penpal wrote, no ? I've been penpalling since I was 16 ... so I know what I'm talking about :) I also emailed you and would appreciate an answer :) Thx. Andy/Belgium

  4. :-) No, I believe it was my letter that struck a nerve. And yes, all of my intro letters are basically the same letter because I am not going to put hours into a first letter, only to find out that people don't write back. If I do get a response, I will hand write my reply, but I refuse to put so much effort only to be rejected because someone wants to fill their mailboxes. I've spent too many years falling for that, and maybe I am a bit jaded. :-) I feel like its okay because you don't really know the interests of a person, since it is the first letter, until you get going. My first letter is: My name is Delaney, I am 38, I am a single mother of 2 boys, etc.

    But that's just me! :-)