Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


What Do You Call A Poet?
Julie Jordan Scott, self-described storyteller, poet, performer, mommy and lover of life, sent this fabulous homemade postcard. The photo was taken at a park near her home. She took the photo and placed some backing on it and sent it along with interesting comments. Julie loves to write -- a blogger, a life coach, a teacher, a speaker, and an author of many poems. I like to visit her blog, Julie Unplugged, which contains wonderfully uplifting stories and ruminations from her life of writing. Her casual intelligent writing style is refreshing. I have nothing but admiration for brave souls like Julie who chuck the corporate drumbeat and set out on their own to create a meaningful life.

The purple placard in this photo postcard gives synonyms for the word poet (bard, minstrel, rimer, rimester, versifer, troubadour, singer, minnesinger), and some definitions.  The spelling of some of these terms is archaic -- rimester today is spelled rhymester and rimer is a tool for shaping the rimes of a ladder -- but it's a noble idea that a municipality has attempted to elevate the level of discussion on what constitutes poetry. I think it a good accessible poem of a contemporary poet like Ted Kooser or Billy Collins would have given the public a better idea of what a delight a good poem can be.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Month of Letters

A Month of Letters Participant
Today A Month of Letters Challenge began. If you hurry you can still join. Mary Robinette Kowa, an award winning author and puppeteer, is the architect for this challenge to send a piece of mail, anything really, to some one during the month of February.
Mary, like us postcard hounds, loves to send and receive snail mail, especially hand-written, that reminds us that someone thought of us and cares enough to take the time to send a note -- be it a postcard, letter, a swath of fabric or surprise package. Introducing her challenge, Kowa said, "I find that I slow down and write differently than I do with an email. Email is all about the now. Letters are different, because whatever I write needs to be something that will be relevant a week later..."
She's spot on. Our writing changes depending on the medium we are using. Content follows form. When I sent my first "letter," a postcard, I ended up writing an eight-line, rhymed poem based on the postcard's image contrasting the climate of the addressee. It was creative fun. 
So Are You Ready For A Challenge? Here's how Mary set it up: 
 "In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch
Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.
All you are committing to is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 23 items." 
You can find out a lot more about the challenge and register for it at Mary's site here. At the site you will find all kinds of great ways to interact with other letter writers in the challenge. She even has badges like the one above and other achievement badges you can download to your blog or web site to show your are a man or women of letters.

New US Postal Service Rates

The  price of US stamps went up January 27th so don't forget if you are mailing from the US you'll need a little more postage. This is the third increase for postcard postage in less than two years. I'm glad I stocked up on Forever stamps back in April of 2011. Back then postcards were only $0.28. I'm still buying extra one, two and three cent stamps on the specialty postcard stamps from that time.
The frequent rate increases have become a regular small hassle. I do wonder when the US Postal Service (USPS) will, if ever, get out of hot financial water. The quasi-governmental agency did better with packages in 2012 but still sees a  steady decline in first-class mail. Officials are quick to point out that pressures such as less mail in the electronic age, higher fuel and labor cost negate the possibility of even modest gains.  For more on that click here

Here are the new rates:
Postcards go up one cent from $0.32 to $0.33.
First Class letters also increase one cent from $0.45 to $0.46.
Most significant, International-bound postcards are now $1.10.
Remember when these were $0.98?