The Penpalooza Post: Special Book Edition!
Some updates, and a request!
Hello Penpalooza community!
Long-time, no letters! I hope you are all well and scribbling away. If you are receiving this, then it is because you at one point signed up for the Penpalooza project back in 2020 (remember 2020? When everyone was inside growing their own herbs and hunting down yeast on the Internet?). I am hoping that at least a few of you have continued writing to one another, even if the pandemic is no longer making headlines and many have ventured back out into the world. Letters are not, I believe, just a hobby to turn to in acute crisis (though many great epistolary friendships begin this way!); in fact, it is how you power through and keep sending letters even after life regains its steady rhythm that keeps a correspondence going for many years.
In any case, I’ve been busy writing — letters, yes, but also a little book about them! In early 2024, Crown/Clarkson Potter will publish a beautiful (and, I hope, deeply weird) coffee table book I have been working on about engaging in postal communication in a world that has rendered the medium an antique, modeled after a bestselling turn-of-the-century correspondence bible written by a very snooty Victorian who had many strong opinions on how you should lick a stamp or introduce yourself via letter to someone who has a horse you would like to buy. While I have rewritten the rules to fit our times (less horses, more guides on how to write letters filled with exquisite and very off-line gossip, or how to write about the weather in a way that is not a total snoozefest), I hope the book retains some of the unhinged, zany spirit of the original.
In any case, I am writing you all because I am at the point of the process where I am reaching out to Penpalooza members who have an interest in potentially being included in the book for a section about the project! I am looking to interview a few of you who have kept going with your correspondence and would like to chat with me about it. I am also going to be including a section on mail art and embellishments, and if any of you have pen pals who are sending particularly gorgeous letters, I would love to know about it so that I can speak to them about featuring their work (feel free to also nominate yourself!).
If you’d be open to chatting with me about Penpalooza and/or your obsession with wax seals or calligraphy pens, please reach out at email@example.com.
In the meantime, this newsletter will be returning as a quarterly digest with some tips about stepping up your mail game. If you are no longer into the whole snail mail thing, you can always unsubscribe, with no hard feelings. Life has many chapters in it and you are free to move in and out of your Letters Era at will.
Looking forward to hopefully hearing from (some) of you! You can also write to the email address above at any time if you are looking for a new penpal — I will be checking it regularly to help facilitate match-ups if your mail trails have run cold. The Elster exchange is now expired, though I will be launching a brand new Penpalooza exchange (Penpal-two-za?) in the spring for those who want to sign up that way. For now, if you email above, I can set you up with someone to write to.
Yessss!!! Can’t wait to pre order this
Amazing Rachel! I wrote about PenPalooza for The Guardian–you might be able to quote from my piece if that’s any help? One of my penpals sent me sourdough starter–if only I’d baked with it, now that would make a nice piece (of bread!) Can’t wait to see the finished book.