Tuesday, February 28, 2017

28 Days of Letter Writing

Today is Day 28 of InCoWriMo 2017, the final day, the final letter. I've done it! I have written a form of handwritten correspondence for each of the 28 days in February 2017 following a project called InCoWriMo or International Correspondence Writing Month. I've been ignoring what has been a passion of mine, and I also feel has been my "calling," yes from God, letter writing. In the past I used to write letters of encouragement for my then home church. My wife used to tell me that I wrote nice letters. I let that get away. But thanks to InCoWriMo I have started writing letters again. 

Twenty eight days of writing notes and letters has been a time of discovery and learning. I've known for sometime that my obsession with penmanship, flexible nib fountain pens, fountain pen friendly paper, etc, has stopped me from writing or at the very least, impeded getting my thoughts or mana`o across to the recipient of my handwritten letter or note. But yet I incorrectly felt nice penmanship was what everyone wanted. At the beginning the month, a lot of my letters were brief and usually started of with, "just a short note" while I struggled with my poor penmanship. I knew that had to stop if I truly wanted to make the words on my letters count. 

I mentioned about my pen obsession and how I thought it was getting in my way to my friend Joan from Rusty's Hawaiian Coffee. She has been encouraging me with my writing for some time now. And she nailed it with this, "Exactly. Less focus on form, more focus on letting words flow." As the title of an old book I have read says, Put Your Heart on Paper written by Henriette Klauser. I haven't been doing that. So I put penmanship aside, ignored the flexible nib, used a ballpoint pen, wrote on postcards, wrote in cursive or not. But I wrote. And I am writing letters. More than "just a short note." And I'm letting the words flow from my heart.

I'm not stopping after February 28, 2017 either. Now that I've gotten started, I'm continuing on with my calling. At the beginning I had compiled a list for my InCoWriMo letters to send, but I did ad lib along the way, so there are a few names left I did not get to. But those names that are left on the list are the ones I really wanted to put an effort into. I wanted to put more time and thought into writing each letter without having to worry about the letter of the day. So those names will go onto a new ongoing list titled Letters to Write. 

And to those who received one of my letters early on that said "just a short note." Let me know. I'll send another one. I do need the practice!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Not Calligraphy, and it was Refreshing!

Today I wrote a letter for InCoWriMo. It's day 7 and I'm already a day behind so I thought to write the usual, "just a short note" as I often wind up doing for InCoWriMo. But today I would make it simple, I would not use a flexible nib fountain pen and worry about the lettering and how it will look, but concentrate on what I want to say. Afterall a note saying "Just a short note for InCoWriMo" is just empty words. I chose to use an old Mont Blanc 149 and I wouldn't have to think about ascenders, descenders, weight, etc. Just write.

An it felt refreshing! 

I've been struggling with this for years. I feel as though I "owe" it to the recipient to write the letter with nice handwriting or as some call it, calligraphy. That is what I had been recognized for in the past years.  However when I focus on the lettering, I lose touch of why I write notes and letters to begin with. That I want to convey a message. As my friend Joan told me, there should be, "less focus on form, more focus on letting words flow."

This focus on form has kept me from a host of creative endeavors including art and music. Recently I posted a picture of an art set on Instagram. We bought it for our son mainly because it was really inexpensive. Someone posted a comment on that post, "Dang that's really cool!" I replied back saying I wasn't sure about the quality of the art supplies because of the price. She replied back with, "Hours of fun if nothing else-and that's what counts." 


So hopefully from now moving forward, no more "just a short note for InCoWriMo." No more empty words! After all if there's anything I feel has been my calling from God, it's writing letters. And I've been letting Him down.