This has gone on since I first discovered the power of the United States Postal System, back in my early teens.
It started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comic. I wrote the creators and then they wrote me back. I wrote to other creators listed in their comic and those people wrote me back too. Soon I was a part of a small press community and sending two quarters to each other in the mail seemed innocent enough in return for some handmade/photocopied collection of work. Then I found a penpal who had the same last name and the same box number living in a different part of the state. Again the mail and doodles mounted because he too was an artist. I would meet him years later unsuspectingly at R.I.T. and he demanded to see my I.D. before any further conversation would continue...go figure.
In high school I'd fill out those cards for free school information or subscriptions...with the addresses of my friends. They'd end up getting Encyclopedia Britannica's coming to their house and Armed Services recruiters stopping by. I even had one friend who ended up joining the Army who later got kicked out for having flat feet (at least that's what he told me.) I'm not sure if it was serendipity or if I just happen to push the process along.
Amidst the dental floss mobiles, dirty socks (15 pairs to illustrate a Happy Anniversary metaphor for my parents), full-color life-sized cutout art displays of me (for my girlfriend at the time), and disturbingly altered children's holiday greeting cards (one in particular of a rabbit I re-airbrushed and fitted with bandaids and stitches sewn in with real-thread) I've tried to maintain contact with those near and dear to me. Many have even kept all my correspondences with them in their "Shane" files. Which was weird because many of these people didn't know each other but they each had one of these files.
With the advent of the FAX machine I should have realized it was the beginning of the end. The above sample is taken from 15 or so cover sheets on a couple different comic book and RPG gigs I was doing back in the late 90's. I'm not sure if it was taken as a treat, a threat or ignored completely. But if nothing else I hope it was fun.
The internet has replaced all this..."creative time-wasting" and careful letter construction. Penmanship is gone, paper is gone and everything tactile that came with the territory. I started it up again...sort of over a year and some change ago with a very close friend of mine. I typed it at a larger than normal size so it could be read but I always included some art on the letter and envelope. It was good to get back to it and I hoped the correspondence, while rambly at times, helped in reconnecting with my friend who I should have been more connected to all these years.
At least I was part of his life again toward the end.
Reach out, surprise someone, write a letter, add some art...start something old that's new again. You won't believe how rewarding it can be.