In a world consumed by breaking news, fear of missing out, and being the first to share information; there is something calming to me about manually writing or typing out a thought on a typewriter. The keys weigh heavy and stick sometimes, unlike that of the laptop I write on for the blog. The weight grade of paper I want to use is heavier than that of simple copier paper, the strikes from keys impress themselves upon what appears to be the cheapest of canvas or velum, even if it is indeed wood pulp, before releasing from the constraints of the mechanism holding it in position so that it lines up evenly. The ink is actually from a ribbon that stands between the key and the paper which, even at it’s best does not always line up in a way that makes each letter visible across a sheet in a uniform tone, though you can feel it and trace it’s outline like a ghost of the thought trying to be conveyed.
I type letters to people that I admire, appreciative of their contribution to my life through their art or words. I have yet to receive a response, but I wonder if in that time, they recognize the dedication it takes to properly type something in that medium. As the ballpoint of a pen scribbles my signature at the bottom of each letter, even if for a moment, I feel more accomplished than if I were to respond via email. This response took time, and since I don’t use whiteout or liquid paper to correct mistakes, there is a large probability that this may be the third or fourth time I have responded, so I must really mean it.
When I was in Elementary School, I did notably write one piece of fan mail. To properly set the stage; I think that it was around 1994 that I was a budding child actor (nothing major, but more on that in future boombox posts) who thought that the dreams of obtaining a film or television role was as simple as wanting it badly enough. Obviously there was work involved there as well, but the idea of willing things into existence was a strong factor. I wrote to an actor who was around my age and that was successful in 1994. I wrote to Jonathan Taylor Thomas. I don’t remember if it was through some sort of fan club scenario, or who I even sent the letter to. And in the miracle of either PR, or possibly even a parent, I one day received a response about 3 months later.
I was elated because it felt like someone used their time to respond for something I sent.
I enjoy reading a project called PostSecret each week. Started by Frank Warren, participants from all over the world share artful postcards with their secrets anonymously. Vulnerable sentiments presented weekly and at times in topical themes. These vary weekly, and are a window into the human experience.
When I first arrived in D.C., I was lucky enough to see a Smithsonian Exhibit in the Postal Museum. The online site was opened up in a further interactive way. While not only focused on the Postsecret exhibit, this might be my favorite D.C. Attraction. Located next to Union Station, it is accessible and informative with a rich history of mail service and carriers through time.
The track this week is “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by the incomparable Stevie Wonder. I am a huge fan of Wonder’s work and was fortunate enough to attend a concert of his in Houston a few years back. He was so willing to perform almost all of the hits spanning across his extensive career for the crowd. He made time to address the crowd between songs, and it felt as though he was having a conversation with all of us individually. Much like receiving a letter, the performance felt tailored to a collective in a way that was indicative of someone taking time to reach out personably and warmly.