I’ve been made fun of in the past for being someone who has entertainment anxiety. I consider it a product of growing up on an island in the Caribbean where there wasn’t a ton to do as a kid, which left lots of time for reading (some heroes included – Ramona Quimby, Anastasia Krumpink, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield), writing letters and lots of imagination time with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls. As an adult, I always prepare myself for downtime on the subway, waiting in line, waiting for friends who are late. I arm my purse with a book, my on-the-go letter writing kit and of course my Iphone.
This past Thursday I had a 3 hour layover that turned into a 7 hour layover. My carryon was full of cards to be written and letters from pen pals to be responded to. When I starred at the departures board in the airport and saw that my layover at first was extended to 5 hours, my first thought was great, “I’m gonna get so much done”. I scouted out the nearest wall outlet, plugged in my phone and started writing letters. A few letters and 2 hours later on a bathroom break, I starred at the departures board again and noticed that my flight had been delayed again, making the total layover 7 hours. I texted my mom and boyfriend to let them know and then set up camp again and began writing. What I noticed at some point in that time was the absence of stress over this uncontrollable change of plans. I credit it all to the epistolary time I spent with my pen pals. And of course, I have to give some credit to the part of me that was well prepared to quell my entertainment anxiety : )
“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart” – Phyllis Theroux
One particular letter was to a Mail More Love subscriber who has turned into a pen pal. She wrote me about a trip she was planning to New Orleans and I was writing back. It got me thinking about some of my favorite letters to write – travel letters. I have three kinds I write – postcards from my destination; letters written during travel about all the things I am doing that are different from my daily routine, usually written from a café wherever I am with a big iced tea in front of me; and my favorite, the revisiting letter. I started writing those with my snailmate, Patrick of Edelweiss Post. They usually come about organically because of something we are writing to each other. But in case you want to write a revisiting letter for National Letter Writing Month, here’s what I do. I pick the place I visited that I remember fondly – say Santa Fe New Mexico and I close my eyes and revisit the trip in my mind. I recount all the details from the trip that I can and by the end of the letter I feel just as enriched and excited as I did when I was actually on the trip.
Since I am on a trip right now, I’m going to sign off of the computer now and write some letters….here’s how one of them might begin….
April 2, 2017
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Dear Patrick, I’m sitting on the gallery at the Annex. The breeze is blowing and I’m starring at a cluster of palm trees outside my Grandma’s house………
Until the next note,