I received the above postcard, an absolute work of art, in the mail recently from Bonnie Jeanne (aka PostMuse), who runs the Orphaned Postcard Project and blog over at postmuse.blogspot.com.
I had mailed her a vintage Lancaster County postcard, partly as thanks for being a regular Papergreat commenter and partly because I'm rediscovering the joy of actually mailing postcards1, which nicely complements the joy of discovering them in old shoeboxes, scanning them and writing about them. And this fabulous card was her reply to me. It even has its own title — "B is for Bingo, Blanket, BBQ, Bing." She describes the artistic spark behind her work as: "I just started stitching bits of stuff to cardstock. I'm having a blast clearing out lots of little bits! Not sure how well they travel yet..."
If you love mailing and receiving postcards as a way of connecting with the world in a non-electronic way — even in this day of rising stamp prices and shrinking postal delivery — PostMuse's Orphaned Postcard Project is one wonderful effort you can get involved with.
She began the project in 2008 and participation is a breeze, as outlined on her website.2
Commenting on a recent Papergreat post, Bonnie Jeanne explains: "I don't collect postcards as much as I collect connections. Doesn't really matter what is on the front as long as the message on [the back] connects me to the person who wrote it."
And those connections come through on her blog, in which she writes about the postcards that arrive back in her mailbox from the project. Some of her recent posts include:
Another great website to check out if want to mail and receive postcards is Postcrossing.
Its motto is simple: "Send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person in the world!"
I'm still in the preliminary stages of using Postcrossing. (It's really quite simple.) I've sent postcards to people in Russia, China, Belarus, Poland and Germany.
And I've received one postcard back — from a Russian native who is now living in Troisdorf, Germany, and loves visiting that country's historic castles. She sent me a postcard of Eltz Castle and wrote:
"In Russian are not real castles, but here in Germany you can travel from one castle to another, so many of them! Here on the card is one of my favorite castles — Burg Eltz. Usually the castles are 'sitting' on a mountain top. But this castle is on the valley hidden in the mountains, an amasing place. Every stone here is a part of history with footmarks from real knights and wraiths..."
So, I recommend both the Orphaned Postcard Project and Postcrossing if you're looking to connect with other people in a way that leaves a memorable and lasting paper trail.
1. I was originally going to take this post in a different direction. Look at all these articles and blog posts that came up when I typed "the lost art of sending mail" and "the lost art of sending postcards" into Google! Most of these, by the way, were published within the past 12 months.
- The Guardian: "The lost art of letter-writing" by Charlotte Higgins
- TruMinistry.com: "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Courtney Wilson
- Christian Schools Today: "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by KLRUSHMER
- Care2.com: "Is Letter Writing a Lost Art?" by Aidan Koch
- whatawaygook: "The Lost Art of Letter-writing" by Shauna Browne
- House of Joyful Noise: "The Lost Art of Letter Writing and Creative Correspondence" by Laura Richard and Julie Merilatt
- A Whimsical Bohemian: "A Lost Art: Letter Writing" by Lisa Swifka
- Notes From a Dreamer ... on the Universe (or everything universal): "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Bobbie Ann Pimm
- A Better Iowa: "The lost art of letter writing" by Deb McMahon
- Books from My Closet: "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Daniela
- Firemoonrage: "Thinking of You! The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Firemoonrage
- Deep Roots at Home: "The Lost Art of the Written Note" by Jacqueline
- Planting Acorns: "Letters and Notes: A Lost Art" by Merrill Stewart
- GlennStarkey.net: "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Glenn Starkey
- The New York Review of Books: "The Lost Art of Postcard Writing" by Charles Simic
- Bistro Chic: "The Lost Art of Postcard Correspondence" by Jennifer
- Solo Travel Girl: "Writing and Sending Postcards. A Lost Art?" by Jennifer Huber
- red Ravine: "The Dying Art Of Letter Writing (Postcards From The Edge)" by QuoinMonkey
"Many of the old postcards were rescued from a long ago neighbor’s trash. I noticed a big box overflowing with postcards and since I was already exchanging postcards I thought it a shame to see those cards go to a landfill. I didn’t ask, just took them. I didn’t do much with them, though, because other postcard folk wanted 'new' postcards, not the dusty vintage views in that box. I carted that box from Massachusetts to the third floor apartment in my first Pittsburgh home, then down from that apartment into my current home. Mostly they collected more dust...
"And then I came up with Orphaned Postcard Project, mostly to find something to do with the gazillions of contemporary blank postcards I had accumulated. But then I got caught up in the spreadsheet and pulled out that box and added all those dusty views. Most of the UK and Italy cards are rescued cards."