Thursday, March 19, 2015

Snail Mail

So I have joined this rather gorgeous little Snail Mail group.

Do you know about Snail Mail?  And Mail Art?  It's like a movement, y'all.

People are craving the beauty that can be contained in the simple art of a letter.  The soul that's lacking from a text or an email or a social media account.

And I love letters.  I have a long history of letter writing that stopped dead when email came along.

And I'm sad for the kids who grew up in a time that's never really known the magic of mail.

I feel so lucky that in my twenties when I was travelling around the planet Facebook didn't exist.  Mobile phones were still a rarity.  And email was not yet embedded into our consciousness.

Just thinking about it makes me feel like Winston Smith from 1984, grasping at memories of a time long since past and no longer acknowledged, when things were so different.  Warm and idyllic and distant.

But, even before my travelling days I wrote and received letters.  I moved from Sydney to Melbourne when I was 14, leaving many much loved girlfriends behind.  We exchanged letters for years because it was too expensive to call each other on the phone (!).  Every now and then I'd wander down the shops to the phone booth, my pocket laden with coins.  Mostly though, we wrote to each other.

Long, long, rambling letters that sometimes took weeks to write.

And receiving letters in the mail was the best.  I remember holding on to letters for days, enjoying the anticipation of opening them, finding just the right time to sit and really indulge in them, reading and re-reading them.

I still have boxes of letters from those days and I love that I have them.  Letters that span entire friendships, letters from people I don't see anymore, letters from past crushes and secret admirers.

They are wonderful to have.

We did a huge spring clean recently and I read through some of my letters.  Some of them are quite familiar as I have returned to them many times over the years.  They serve as a wonderful reminder of so many things.  Places been, friendships made, sights seen.  But also they serve as a reminder of myself, like a compass back to me.  A touchstone.  I can see who I was then, how I have changed, but mostly how I haven't.  It brings ones self into sharp perspective.  Magnifies the qualities and themes that have stayed with you after all these years.  Ah, so that's who I am, underneath it all, at the source.

It's wonderful, cathartic and melancholic, uplifting.  A beautiful and familiar mix of emotions.

You just don't get that from an email.

So here I am writing letters again as part of a little snail mail group that has been set up by a fellow blogger and creative gal who I met through Blog With Pip (yep, that course just keeps on giving!)  Deb has a crafty blog and business at Sew Crafty Goodness and her generous spirit is shining through in this latest endeavour, the Sew Crafty Goodness Snail Mail Group.

There are lots and lots of snail mail groups out there and if you are looking for one a quick internet search or Instagram swipe will find you many choices.  But I like Deb's because it's not intimidating.  Many of these groups have been running for years and have hundreds of members and while that's somewhat exciting it's also a little bit daunting for someone whose just getting back on the letter writing horse.  So I'm starting gently with this lovely, warm, non-competitive, inviting little group.  I think is going to be lots of fun.

You can join too, if you're interested.  Especially if you are reading this from overseas, we need some far flung addresses to spice things up a little!

I'll be writing more about my Snail Mail experience here and updating with snaps over on Instagram so be sure to follow along.  Who knows, maybe one day we'll be exchanging letters like friends of old.

If you're not at all sure about this Snail Mail or Mail Art caper you can read more about it at Naomi Loves, Naomi writes about snail mail, creates gorgeous mail art and recently put together a lovely list of movies about snail mail.  There's lots of inspiration there.

And Pip Lincoln of Meet Me at Mikes fame is running a wonderful project too called #52Hellos, so you can check that out too.

Or, if you want to start slowly you could try just sending a letter to me.  One Small Life now has it's own mailbox (so exciting!).  So go ahead, give it a whirl, if nothing else you'll be guaranteeing yourself a little something in the mail.

Kate @ One Small Life
PO Box 397
Carnegie VIC 3163
**Update the One Small Life PO Box is temporarily suspended.  I'll be sure and update you when it's reinstated**

Do you enjoy writing letters?


  1. Interesting thing is that kids still love getting postcards and letters in the mail and I try to send some occasionally to the ones I know, so maybe the snail mail will survive for another generation.

    I'll aim to find time to send you a letter, specially because your postbox is very close to where I used to live. I wonder if I passed you on the Carnegie main street.

    1. Well if this snail mail movement is any indication then I think the next generation will be sure to experience it - and maybe it will even be all the more special for it's novelty. It's certainly not the go to form of communication anymore.

      I hope you do send a letter. I'll keep a look out for it at the Carnegie PO!

  2. Oh thank you so much Kate for this post. So happy to have you join our group with all your enthusiasm. Isn't it a wonderful thing getting something in the mail that is not a bill. I can't tell you the number of times over the last months that my heart has skipped a beat when I've opened the letterbox to find a lovingly crafted envelope inside and I just know it's from one of our snail mail group. It is a very lovely thing indeed. xx

    1. It is, a very lovely thing. And this group you have created is a very lovely thing too! x

  3. How lovely this is, I too am from the pre-facebook/email era (thank the lord and heavens above every single day for that small blessing), and I love writing and receiving letters. If I thought I might have the time to do this then I so would especially when I see the beautiful handwritten font on your bloody marvellous, I would have sqeeeeed and been most excited if that turned up in my

    1. Yep, it was pretty special. You should think about joining the group Emma, it's very casual and supportive and not at all pressure-y. If you want. I for one would love to see you pop up there. x