Thursday, May 5

The Battle Rages On

Ugh, I haven't updated this in forever. I keep doing that, not-updating. Yes, very Zen, but not very entertaining.

We returned to the States one day after our third wedding anniversary and one day before my 41st birthday. ...No, I can't believe I'm that old either. Thanks, I don't feel I look it either. Very kind of you. Since returning I find some of my former passions somewhat diminished: I've completely slacked off on my photo-a-day blog since I don't feel anything I can do here will be as interesting as the last six months (not very generous, I know), and I've altogether stopped writing postcards or any kind of postal correspondence.

That latter is especially a crime, considering my love for this medium. Indeed, 85% of polled Americans say the USPS is their favorite federal department. (In return, the USPS says it's losing money and will have to declare bankruptcy and shut down in ten years. Can you imagine? I seriously cannot.) But after sending postcards from southeast Asia, complete with exotic and interesting postage stamps and postmarks using the Buddhist calendar instead of the U.S.'s Christian reckoning... what can compare? "Hi, I'm in Minnesota, here's a funny little card about a regional delicacy we call 'hotdish.'" "Greetings from Minnesota, we have a lot of lakes and even more mosquitos, if you can believe it." "Hello, guess who just discovered his cache of Forever stamps?"

That's not kind, I know, and it's not right. Writing a letter or a postcard is valuable no matter the origin. People love getting personal missives in the mail, period. Even moreso now, as it's increasingly attaining "novelty" status. I'm hoping I'll get over this blue funk and get back to writing regularly.

I did just finish a letter, in fact. This weekend sees the 80th birthday of my favorite author, Gene Wolfe. I've written him before and I wrote him today. I wished him a happy birthday, I apologized for not being able to visit him at the sci-fi convention in Wisconsin last September (that really crushed me, but we were packing up to leave the country and I had no free time), and I tried to share the most interesting anecdotes from our travels. Most other authors I admire to such a pronounced degree have passed on decades or centuries ago. It was imperative that I got over my shyness in the face of his auspiciousness and pen a letter of appreciation, the first time, before it was no longer an option. I've since urged anyone who'll listen to do the same.

And, truth be told, Minneapolis does have some awesome postcards. There's a big indie art scene here and some prominent creators have generated really excellent clothing, artwork, and stationery. This place is worthy of some "local pride" and investing in these artists' works is beneficial all the way around. For that sake, I love sending out postcards to my friends in diaspora--even though it discourages me that few of them have any interest in responding (some couldn't be arsed to send an e-mail or even a quick note on Facebook that they'd received my postcards from abroad). But that shouldn't be my motivation to write. Getting something in return is a terrible motivation to do something you love. The fact that I've selected a suitable pen, sought out an attractive postcard or writing set, and practiced several hundreds of hours of handwriting to create a little message to let a friend know I've been thinking of them should be the end unto itself.

My reasons to not-write are flimsy, and the reasons to write are multifarious. My path is clear, and the momentum to follow it is imminent, I just have to become the action. I will, I am.

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