Saturday, September 8

Vintage Postcards for Creative Correspondence

One thing I've noticed lately on Tumblr is that a lot of youth are getting interested in "old-fashioned" correspondence. One user I follow regularly posts ads from girls aged 16-24 looking for pen pals. They're so anxious to reach out and connect, exploring postcards and hand-written letters as the vehicle.

I think this is marvelous and would do anything to encourage this. Obviously it's inappropriate for so many reasons for me to offer to write with them, but what can I do to foster this? If anything, I need to embody this practice by actually writing to the people I'm supposed to be writing to. I have excuses, but I would rather sit down and make time to cultivate these postal relationships.

But at least there is room to let people know where to go for resources. If you have someone to write to (or several someones, hopefully), you can pick up good pens at an art store, and maybe Barnes & Noble or Paper Source will have interesting letter sets. This is only a step up from the most rudimentary and basic form: using whatever pen/pencil you have lying around the house and filling up a couple pages of notebook paper. You can get as fancy or as minimalist as you like.

For people who are looking for something more interesting than a dozen souvenir postcards had from any gas station or gift shop, think about this: antique stores. If you're not too precious about marring a token of history, think about it as fulfilling an old postcard's Zen purpose. Seriously, many antique shops will have a selection of vintage cards somehow unused for the past several decades! Most of the time you'll find them neat and orderly, grouped by theme or geography, but today at Hunt & Gather (in my new neighborhood) I found, in the corner of the sprawling basement space, a disheveled bin of vintage postcards, marked down from what you can usually expect to pay for these things. It was a dream! If I didn't already have a small mountain of postcard books and vintage cards salvaged from cleaning out my wife's former childhood home, I would've just stuck two fists in and hauled my catch up, sight unseen, to the cash register.

So think about that. Find a nice pen, hit up the post office for interesting stamps, and haunt your local antique stores for amazing postcards. Every one loves receiving personal mail, and there are so many little ways to heighten the experience.