Penpals of Prose (and Plots)

One thing I hope I tend not to do on this blog is get too repetitive (apart from maybe with the NTTVBG but then that’s a  bit special). Today I am about to repeat a little on a subject that I discussed over the weekend. I do enjoy my weekly Bookish Bits, and hope you do to, I do have the occasional worry that in talking about a few topics some of them get a little lost, so I thought I would bring one up again today. As I mentioned on Saturday the idea of Penpals has been one that I have had whizzing around my head for a few weeks which reading Dangerous Liaisons finally made me do something about.

Apart from some lovely books now and again I don’t really skip with joy to grab the post each day. I normally think ‘oh what takeaway will I be being flogged today and which utility needs paying off’. I get the occasional letter from my younger siblings aged 11 and 8 though it’s sporadic (though having said that I actually think it’s my turn to write – I have been wondering why I have heard nothing, oops) and have always sent them postcards from here there and everywhere as I remember how much I loved getting post when I was little… preferably postcards or garish envelopes with a lovely letter inside my memory tells me. My Dad’s parents currently write to me, though I think that’s more as we didn’t meet until ten years ago and its slow and steady and so phoning isn’t quite apt yet.

One of my cousins, who is 8, has started to get penpals through school (it appears its back in fashion) and it made me think about the pen-friends I once had. One was called Erin from Marlboro we all had penpals from Marlboro as I lived in Marlborough and my junior school thought it was a cute idea. Then the town was twinned with Gambia and so we got a new penpal. After that at secondary school and starting a new language I got a French one and I think the constant changes of the ‘penpal’ I would be given made me loose heart.

I will have to go through my letters actually. I keep all the letters I receive in a bag (which I will have to try and take a picture of) look back at them now and again as they remind me of so much. The ones from my friend for life Barry are about ten sides of A4 and we tell each other everything, writing every two or three days, we were about seventeen then and it seems ‘going through a lot’! We don’t even message each other that amount on facebook now, ha!

When I popped the idea and the new Penpal Page up on Saturday I hoped I might get one or two of you interested but what a response! Though some comments haven’t transferred to email yet (and I havent chased commenters due to interest yet so do email me) the emails I have received in the last few days it seem to show I am clearly not the only person who would like to bring back the joy of letter writing and the little ray of sunshine a letter amongst the bills can provide. In fact such was the response I am changing everything a bit.

Those of you who have emailed should have had an email back with a ‘registration form’ attached. Now this instantly sounds like a money making scheme and its honestly not. I am doing this because I love the idea of letters filled with bookish bites flying through the sky to people all over the globe. I just wasn’t sure I could write to so many people (and you may not want to write to me but to someone at random which is fair enough) and so I am going to try and match people up by the books they love and loath so who you get is a lucky dip.

To round up I will simply leave the idea with you. Let me know of any of your penpal tales as I would love to hear all about them. Do you still keep in touch? Have you had any nightmare penpals? If you are interested in this new little project of mine do email I hope I will be hearing from even more of you soon. Oh and feel free to spread the word if you fancy on your weekly catch up posts or just amongst yourselves however you would like, the more the merrier.



Filed under Book Thoughts

25 responses to “Penpals of Prose (and Plots)

  1. I’ve just emailed you…! I’ll put the word out on my blog too.

  2. I had pen pals when I was a kid, but none of them had very long legs. I think the longest it ever lasted was a year. I think this sounds like a great idea Simon! I am just pretty sure I wouldn’t be consistent enough and I would let people down. I will have fun hearing about your project though!

    • You actually bring up a good point, how consistent should a correspondance with a penpal be? Hmmm I will probably just write back within a day or two of receiving one, unless things are a little manic and then it might take longer.

  3. I love this idea. I still write letters to all my friends and, though they tend not to write back, I always get facebook or email messages telling me how much they love getting letters. I have boxes and boxes of all the letters I’ve received over the years and they’re so nice to go through. I’m still contemplating getting involved with this scheme (my own letters keep me quite busy), but, regardless, I wish it all the luck in the world!

    • Well if you do decide to give it a whirl do let me know. The more the merrier and its something I hope will be long term and more and more people will give it a try, we will see.

  4. What fun! The only penpals I’ve had in my life were my cousin from a different state when I was a teen, and then as an adult I wrote to the wonderful blogger, Amanda, of The Blog Jar. With a baby nearly ready to arrive, I think I’ll skip the penpalling for now, but it is a wonderful pastime and so neat to get a letter in with all the bills. You guys and gals have fun!

    • With a baby very soon to arrive I can understand totally why penpals might not be the first thing on your mind. I am hoping to keep this going so anytime you fancy adding yourself to it (be that a yera or so lol) then do feel free!

  5. Pingback: Pen Pals of Prose « Mad Bibliophile

  6. This is a wonderful idea, Simon. I’ll spread the word over at my blog as well! Alas, I write letters or cards to my young nieces as well as my grandparents. I used to have penpals back in elementary school from Italy, Ireland and Japan (and the occasional friend who moved away) but all were relatively short lived. No crazies were involved, at least!

    • Thank you Kimberly thats really kind fo you, the more people that can get involved the merrier I think. I am still loving the idea of planes with penpals fo prose letter whizzing around the globe.

  7. My only pen pal story is about a girl I met at summer camp when I was 9. She and I wrote letters back in forth until I was 16 when she came to stay with me for several weeks during the summer. She and I have written letters and now emails back and forth for 37 years. Even as I write that, I can’t quite believe it, but it is true! We have shared most of our lives through letters!

  8. I had a few awkward penpals – the one that professed love for me after about 3 letters and the ones who struggled to communicate in English and I wasn’t at all conversant in their languages. This was mostly when I was probably between 10 and 15.

    My penpals were mostly European though I had one Turkish one. The stamps were fantastic and I collected them! Getting a package from the USSR back in the day was amazing.

    But they are all sad stories because they all vanished eventually and I never heard from them again.

    • Oooh blimey thats a bit worrying, I dont think I want a stalerish penpal lol. I can understand sometimes the struggle to communicate butas long as you get the gist I think its all good.

      I am hoping to be soon getting lots of foreign and fabulous looking parcels… we will see.

  9. I think this is such a wonderful idea, and honestly, I have been thinking about it since the weekend. However, I am like Sandy in that I am afraid I will let my pal down. I tend to write the letters – but somehow they never quite find their way to the post office.

    • Hahahaha I know that feeling when you the intention is 100% there but then life gets in the way. I am quite tough on myself so I like to make sure if I do things I do them to completion but its also a bit of a nightmare when I take too much on.

  10. I wanted to email you when you first launched this project–I miss writing letters and trekking to the Post Office to mail them, and looking forward to getting letters in the mail. But, but, but–haha, I was worried you’d be overwhelmed with the response. I still want to be penpals, though, haha. [But I haven’t emailed you, so what does that say about me?]

  11. Juanita

    I was very briefly penpals in high school with a girl I met at debate camp. During my second year of college, I became penpals with a girl who lived on my floor during freshman year but had transferred to another school. We exchanged letters for four or five years. I do miss it, so I may sign up.

  12. A great idea, glad to see more people putting pen to paper. I already write to three or four people regularly, so I don’t think I will sign up – but it’s such fun. There’s nothing like getting a proper letter through the postbox, and I now have boxes full of letters.

  13. This is a truly marvelous idea which gets me nostalgic. I do remember that I had penpals back in the 80’s as well and even if it didn’t last long due to perhaps getting distracted by life and whatnot… There’s just an amazing feeling when one receives a letter through the post. The feel of reading an ink on paper letter is just wonderful. Now that everything is fast paced and correspondences are sent via e-mail, sending a letter through post and the incredible patience it takes to wait for the reply letter back in the days just takes on a whole new meaning. 🙂

    Awesome post!

    Cheers, Niconica

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