08 January 2013

A Daily Letter - The Attempt Shall Be Made

As a number of you know (or fairly guessed), I am big into letter writing.  And not so big into New Year's Resolutions.  But this year I am going to try to be more committed to correspondence.  To the point where I am actually "doing a thing" -- the Month of Letters challenge this coming February!

Normally I shy away from formal events such as these.  In part because I am an introvert and letter writing is a private activity.  But also because, like most folks, I have only a limited amount of time and many things I want to do!  This particular event, though, has me intrigued because the person who is leading it is someone whose creative bent resonates with mine.

I didn't know that when I first heard about the Month of Letters challenge on Twitter the other day.  Then I did a little info-scrounging and came upon the author of the event - and this sentence on her About page had me at the instant.

Mary Robinette Kowal is a novelist and professional puppeteer.

From the album on Ms. Kowal's site.

I have never heard of Ms. Kowal nor her books.  The rest of her About page, however, will have me at the library soon to investigate. Her About page bio tells of an eclectic maker/writer/imagineer. 

"Hugo-award winning author, Mary Robinette Kowal is a novelist and professional puppeteer. Her debut novel Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor 2010) was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel. In 2008 she won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, while three of her short fiction works have been nominated for the Hugo Award: “Evil Robot Monkey” in 2009 and “For Want of a Nail” in 2011, which won the Hugo for short story that year. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies, as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean Press.

Kowal is also an award-winning puppeteer. With over twenty years of experience, she has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve.

When she isn’t writing or puppeteering, Kowal brings her speech and theater background to her work as a voice actor. As the voice behind several audio books and short stories, she has recorded fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi.

Mary lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Sometimes she even writes on them."

And she owns typewriters!  How can I not be inspired?  Though I will have to modify the 'rules' to suit my style of letters - which tend to be lengthy and often introspective.  For me it will be this: writing/typing at least two pages of a letter per day will be considered has a letter for the day.  I know I am likely to write more and more often per day, but I am not about to have myself fretting over an artificial goal.  The point is to WRITE & CONNECT consistently.  

Whom I shall write to will really be the challenge.  I have a small coterie of pen friends, but not enough to match a letter-per-day output.  I'll take these next few weeks before the event begins to create a list of people I might write to just for fun. 

And I will restock my supply of postage stamps as the price of 1st class/postcards/international letter postage is going up again starting on 27 January of this new year.

  • Letters (1oz.) — 1-cent increase to 46 cents
  • Letters additional ounces — unchanged at 20 cents
  • Letters to all international destinations (1oz.) — $1.10
  • Postcards — 1-cent increase to 33 cents
Complete info on the increases can be found at this USPS page.

One last thing, an International Forever Stamp is being issued for the first time this year.  And it seems to be ROUND!  This is very cool.  

The USPS description for it is this:
"In 2013, the U.S. Postal Service introduces Global Forever®, a new international rate stamp. The Global Forever® stamp offers a single price for any First-Class Mail International 1-ounce letter to any country in the world. For the January 27, 2013, price change, the Global Forever® stamp may also be used to mail a 2-ounce letter to Canada.

This stamp features a rendering of Earth composed of images created from satellite data and redesigned with 3D computer technology. The view of our planet shows the Atlantic Ocean flanked by the Americas, Africa, and part of northern Europe. In the stamp art, the globe is isolated on a white background. The shape of the stamp is round. The text, which surrounds the image of Earth, includes the words “Global Forever.”

Artist Leonello Calvetti used a variety of maps, primarily from NASA, to create his design. With 3D computer technology he was able to modify depth, vary color, and create subtle light and shadow details on terrain surfaces to achieve a high level of photorealism while also attaining something new. “I always have been fascinated by space and what astronauts could see from out there,” Calvetti says. “As an artist, an illustrator, I wanted to make my own representation of the Earth.”

Art director William J. Gicker selected this depiction of Earth by Calvetti. Greg Breeding designed the stamp.

The Global Forever® stamps are being issued in self-adhesive sheets of 20 at the $1.10 rate, or $22.00 per sheet.  Made in the USA."


  1. I admire your conviction! Alas, when I attempt to crank out correspondence it tends to sit next to the typewriter. Doing the address, stamp and walk out to the mailbox are a different matter.

    Good luck!

    1. I'm not going to get too bent if I manage only half of the number. It's just a way of getting me going on letters again. Last night I cleared out my little writing desk. It is one of those closed-front varieties. Used to be my Grandmother's. I'd gotten into the habit of flipping open the front and tossing in papers. It was a mess!

      As for mailing, we have it easy here. The P.O. has gradually removed almost all street pick up boxes. Instead, one leave one's mail by one's house mailbox (or in our case, in the front door mail slot) and our Post Person picks it up.


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