In the fall of last year, for reasons unclear to me then, I became interested in what collectors call “old paper” – handwritten diaries and letters of the kind you might find at estate sales, in antique shops, and sometimes in used bookstores.
I started my own hoard of old paper.
I became mildly obsessed.
I still am.
Gradually, I began to figure out why. It has to do with a sadness about handwriting’s disappearance from the world, about the magic of pen or pencil pressed to paper by a human hand, and how this will soon be completely gone forever.
Unless! Unless more is put into the world.
And so I arrived at the latest project, Letter A Day. Every day of 2013, I’m sending a handwritten letter, free, to anyone who asks. “You will receive an original, somewhat newsy, most likely meandering but sincere letter, such as you might once upon a time have gotten from a person who was not a stranger to you,” the Facebook page says.
If I don’t get 365 requests, then I’ll write letters to every friend, relative, acquaintance and potentially welcoming person until the number is reached.
If I get more than 365 requests, then I’ll just keep going.
The LAD project, which is an offshoot of an earlier one called Narrative Urge, started January 1. Requests for letters have come from all over the U.S., as well as Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Want a letter? Email me your postal address by scrolling to the bottom of my website landing page. It's free, and your name will be kept confidential. And please share this with your friends.