As a writer, my love of putting pen to paper has always poured over into many facets of my life. I’m wordy, I’m talkative, I’m a collector of journals, a total pen snob, a ferocious reader and I’ve never met a dinner table that I didn’t view as the ideal stage for some serious story telling. What can I say, a writer has got to write, am I right? One aspect of my writin’ soul that has never strayed is my card game. My family has saved cards that I crafted as a little Olivia to best document this. You know in grade school when your teacher pulls out the construction paper and markers around holiday season, gleefully announcing you’ll be creating cards today? That was my jam. Catch me in the front row (always, hi type A) squealing with actual delight. You’d find me using my chubby little fingers and way with words to proudly provide my parents with a lengthy essay on my love for them, written in attempted cursive and on thick, grainy craft paper. While other kids kept it short and sweet – love you mom and dad love billy (honestly get your life together, Billy) I was power snacking on some almonds for protein (Mama didn’t raise no reckless snacker) and plunging deep into writer zone. Every one else would have long since abandoned their cards on their desks and I’d be furiously rounding the corner on my third paragraph. I can remember teachers lightly suggesting that I didn’t have to write so much, if I didn’t want to. I’m pretty sure that was then and there when I decided those teachers were not writers. Or my friends. Because, how could I possibly write less? Especially when I’m over here trying to encapsulate in actual words my love for my beloved parents or dog – who often also received such cards. Yeah thanks, hard pass on that one, Mrs. Franklin. Come holiday season my parents grew to expect and adore these novels that I passed off as cards, and thankfully always seemed appreciative of such a gift, thought admittedly I’m sure reading such lengthy letters on jam packed Christmas mornings weren’t always ideal. So that bring us to today. I’m 26. I have a job. That job pays me. And what do I do with a disturbing amount of said paycheck? I buy high end greeting cards and quality pens by the fistfuls, and I send those cards out, hard.
I’m not kidding. Card game strong, as my Dad often says. By that I mean, I literally obsessively hoard beautiful stationery, cards, and paper goods. Yeah, I said that. I’ll say it again, if you need me too. I’m a shameless stationery hoarder, and I’m a better person for it. In a world of DMs, iMessage and 140 characters, I’m still a die hard long hand kinda girl.
If you come over to our beloved 900 square foot beach bungalow, you’ll find what my husband adorably calls my ‘writing room’. Please do not get confused with images of luxury. This is simply our guest room. But in actuality, it’s the most soothing, floral, feminine, peaceful, happy room. It’s adorned with images of poppies and painted a cool, creamy robin’s egg blue and totally, utterly my space. That is, until we have a guest. Anyways. It’s where I go to write. And for a long (too long) of time, before I started this blog, it’s where I wrote for everyone but myself. But, that’s not the point of this blog post. No, it’s about how my deep, well documented and long standing love affair with snail mail not only kept my flame for writing burning bright until I could wander back but made me a better wife, daughter and friend.
In my writing room are two large wicker baskets filled to the brim with gorgeous, thick, hand crafted stationery – organized in a borderline Beautiful Mind type way and lusciously blank. I have so many cards that there couldn’t possibly be an occasion I’ll fail to recognize and acknowledge with the appropriate piece of stationery. No, seriously. I go far and beyond the birthdays, the anniversaries, and the holidays. Those are easy. I’m talking about the hard stuff. Did your boss’s dog die? I’ve got a card for that. Did your best friend finally get that promotion? I’ve got a card for that. But really, those a kind of low pitches aren’t they? Let’s step it up a notch. That’s right. Do you want to tell your partner you love them more than Amazon Prime? I literally have that card. Do you want to tell your girl gang that you love them more than tacos, aka a whole lot? Again, I am a proud owner of that card. Do you want to tell a friend who is doing their best to get through a tough time that if they were playing the virtual Oregon Trail game this would be the equivalent to kicking some major dysentery ass? I legitimately have that card and am giddy with excitement to send it. And while all of the incredibly gorgeous, fun, witty, drool-worthy lettering is a kick in the pants, the thing that I love the most about cards is the space left for me to fill with words. Oh, that blankness. That smooth, creamy, totally-up-to-me blankness. I can fill each and every card with at least ten good reasons of why I love the recipient, or I can lose myself in a mini essay on how many reasons why the recipient is receiving such a card. Cards have been a canvas for me to put into word just how much a person, a moment, an event, or even a gift has meant to me. And for a writer who lost her way, cards kept me writing when I wasn’t sure I saw a reason to write, anymore. I know. Blasphemy. But it can feel a bit ludicrous to carve out time for your creative passions when they feel simply…too luxurious, too simple, too easy to pay the bills. Again, I’m cringing as I type this because in actuality writing has always and will always be the greatest north star for me. I’ve never really let myself get too far from it, even at times when I thought I was the farthest I’d ever been from being ‘a writer’. I was throwing all I had into fostering my left brain (yuck, so much yuck) and leaving my beloved craft to sit on the back, back burner. I thought that was the responsible thing to do. Yet somehow, I always found time to write these cards. Somewhere along the way, I made it a goal to send out three cards a week. Yeah I know, that’s some crazy behavior right there. And if you’re doing the math, a very expensive goal. But the joy I found in pouring my little writin’ heart out in those cards kept the habit fully fueled, and left me on first name basis with all of the local stationery stores. And while I got such pleasure out of sending those cards, it was the shock, amusement, and heartfelt appreciation of every single recipient that really left an impression on me. It’s like people were completely and totally blown away that I’d take ten minutes out of my day to put pen to paper – to simply show them how wonderful I think they are. Sending such love notes leave me feeling like a better person, plain and simple. Acknowledging the hard work, the recent struggles, the well-deserved triumphs or even the often taken-for-granted presence of a person in my life with a note has given me the chance to slow down, to reflect, and to write. To write for myself and to send a little light along the way. So from here on out, I’m embracing my right brain, my inner little Olivia, and my love of some long ass cards. Coming to a mailbox near you!
Oh! For those of you interested. I get ninety percent of my cards here: https://sugarpaper.com/collections
And the world’s greatest pen to write a love letter with? Here: http://www.uchida.com/product/63/le-pen