Welcome, or welcome back, to LetterMo 2023. There is a lot going on here on the Month of Letters site, as well as the related Facebook groups, I thought I’d create a handy Orientation. This is an overview of how you can engage with this site, with links to more information on any given topic.
Participants: This page has a few options. One shows you all current members of the LetterMo.com site. One shows you all the folks you’ve created friendships with. The last allows you to search for members, by name, user name, country, or keywords in participants’ bios.
Resources: A few resources, including list of national post services, and mail missions – organizations where you can send letters for specific groups, like deployed military.
Profile: Available once you’ve logged in. The URL will be https://lettermo.com/members/YourUserName/profile/ You can access it from the top menu bar, or in the upper right hand corner of the page.
Activity – Post an update, view your activity from the site, mentions, favorites, and friends’ activities. https://lettermo.com/members/YourUserName/
Profile – View or edit your profile, change your profile picture or update your status. https://lettermo.com/members/YourUserName/profile/
Notifications – Where you can find friend requests, and other information from the LetterMo.com site. https://lettermo.com/members/YourUserName/notifications/
Friends -A list of your friends, and folks requesting to be your friend. https://lettermo.com/members/YourUserName/friends/
Forums – A summary of your activity on the forums, including topics you started, replies you’ve made, and subscriptions https://lettermo.com/members/YourUserName/forums
Settings – Update your password, what emails you’d like to recieve, and profile visibility. https://lettermo.com/members/YourUserName/settings/
Contact: Where you can find Month of Letters on the internet, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Hopefully this helps you find your way around the LetterMo website, and as always, if you still have questions, just ask.
John Keats and Fanny Brawne – Letter exchanges in the early 1800’s Movie – Bright Star 2009 Director Jane Campion Writers Jane Campion(screenplay) Andrew Motion (biography “Keats”)
It’s 1818 in Hampstead Village on the outskirts of London. Poet Charles Brown lives in one half of a house, the Dilkes family the other. Through association with the Dilkes, the fatherless Brawne family knows Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown and the Brawne’s eldest daughter, Fanny, don’t like each other. She thinks him arrogant and rude; he feels that she’s a pretentious flirt, knowing only how to sew (admittedly well as she makes all her own fashionable clothes), and voicing opinions on subjects about which she knows nothing. Insecure struggling poet John Keats comes to live with his friend, Mr. Brown. Miss Brawne and Mr. Keats have a mutual attraction to each other, but their relationship is slow to develop, in part, since Mr. Brown does whatever he can to keep the two apart. Other obstacles face the couple, including their eventual overwhelming passion for each other clouding their view of what the other does, Mr. Keats’ struggling career, which offers him little in the way of monetary security (which will lead to Mrs. Brawne not giving consent for them to marry), and health issues which had earlier taken the life of Mr. Keats’ brother, Tom. – Huggo
Declaration by Letter. Its pivotal power defines and strengthens the storyline’s progression and drama. The detail and attention to letter writing is highly appreciated in this film. The arrival and ritual
The envelope and construction
The writing and penmanship
The content and inclusions
The emotional reaction
The reply and response
The underpinning of Bright Star’s screenplay is rich on the transmission of letters, and of course, based on the romantic writings of Keats. More about his writing and correspondence to be found at http://keatslettersproject.com/. There are many other historical, film, book, drama series, shows or movie examples. A great number of fantastic series to binge, too numerous to list, all set in the mid 1800s to early 1900s. In most plots, you will often see something by arriving by post. Lettermo members will pause at those scenes, to appreciate and ogle the paper, pen, ink, fold, style penmanship and addressing detail! (Recently watched the Duchess of Duke Street 1976-77 series and you can count the letters/desks/pens and stationery, from episode to episode!) From events, arrivals, announcements, invitations and important news, everything was predicated by the coming and going of a handwritten Letter. Letters of importance can start or end wars, be a hopeful beginning or a poignant end, both in fiction and real life.
There is a fundamental emphasis on letter writing in Bright Star, and the way it lends power to the storyline and development. Scripts, scenes, props and cinematography shots were created around the arrival, writing, placement and sending of the missives, posts, envelopes!
Mr. Charles Armitage Brown sent a flirty handcrafted Valentine to Fanny. It was in the shape of a suitcase, and when opened, revealed the message:
Darling Valentine, I am not sure you should have a kiss for your amber enchantress eyes or a whipping. – Yours, the Suitcase
Fanny remarked in earlier conversation at the color of Mr Brown’s eyes, “being suitcase brown” (plain). The Valentine was an emotive and forward response for the time period, with a recognition of her wit and banter meant to get under her skin. This Valentine, sealed with a red wax heart, invoked jealousy from John Keats. He was furious that his friend would send a Valentine to his Lady, even though Brown sent it for his own selfish reasons – in order to discredit Fanny’s character as a well-suited match for John Keats. They were 20-somethings in 1819, so the hormones ran high, too! How the sending and receiving of a slip of paper with a written message enraged and affected Keats, further demonstrates the importance of letter writing! It framed the expression of Love between John and Fanny in future scenes, letter excerpts included. His poetic pinings for her can make your heart swell! So young, and so well expressed in written form and poetry, you can imagine if Keats lived beyond 25, how masterful and powerful his creations would have become. #letterlocking #vintagevalentine
Another thing to be noted is how Mr Brown constructed theSuitcase Valentine. Crafted on a diagonal perspective, it opened just like a chest or case; a 19th century 3D Effect! Some time and thought went into it, hand drawn and colored too! Perhaps a mail artist would appreciate its simple but effective design! The attention to small detail in paper, pen, construction and style is appreciated in this century. #mailart
In today’s world, a letter written with attention to its recipient can be just as meaningful and powerful, hopefully without fits of jealousy or fireplace burning! Finding a penpal in the 21st century is rare and therefore more cherished. You can find some of these great humans, the like-minded and letter-laden spirits, here at lettermo.com. Even a few short friendly sentences on a card to a friend or loved one can brighten the spirit, inspire and bring a nostalgic comfort. The investment of the letter writer’s time is the highest value in a Letter! It is a compliment and a recognition of you personally. Your letter is truly a gift, created especially for you. I hope humanity does not lose the beautiful process and the appreciation of a Letter’s value. We need only look to the wonderful writers of the 19th Century: Bronte, Emerson, Whitman and Keats, made masters by what they chose to put down on paper, and send out to the world.
Seek out inspiration from poets, writers, filmmakers like Jane Campion, your fellow Letter enthusiasts and penpals. They can cure writer’s block, or give you an idea about how you want to convey something. It is enriching to read their words, or watch their creations, and allow them to inspire your own letter-writing content and individual style.
Film Timestamp 1:03:23
“When I don’t hear from him, it’s as if I’ve died, as if the air is sucked out from my lungs, and I am left desolate, but when I receive a letter, I know our World is real. It’s the one I care for.” – Fanny Brawne (while clinging to the letter)
Gear up to send yours out to the world for The Month of Letters 2022 LetterMo22 – A whole two centuries after Keats wrote his!! Bonus if you have those nice wax seals! #lettermo #lettermo22 post your images and give the world your time-wise words. (incoherent musings, late replies, bags of tea, and poetic inclusion’s count too!)
Without our hardworking postal carriers, LetterMo could not be the treasure that it is. So while you’re putting today’s outgoing in the mailbox, show your appreciation and drop in an extra note to say “thanks” to those who allow us to connect with each other.
Hooray! Happy LetterMo to the letter writing community around the world.
Join the fun and spirit of letter writing and challenge yourself to write and send a piece of mail for every day the mail runs in your country. Everyone’s situation is different and life happens, especially these past years, so do what you can. Catch up when you need to and however you need to. The spirit if the program is to write more this month, and connect by mail.
Thanks to all the volunteer administrators who run the program – we would not be here without you!
As February 1st draws near, how is your planning going for the month? Have you got names pencilled in your calendar? Signed up at LetterMo to become a member and requested new penpal addresses? Other than the basic introductory information, you may wonder what you can write about.
Here is a list of occasions that you can draw inspiration from. Remember to thank your Mail Carrier on February 4th! Send fan mail to your favourite Weatherperson (5th). Share a recipe for your favourite plum pudding (12th) or Margarita (22nd). Express your gratitude for Caregivers Day (18th) and support for World Day of Social Justice (20th).
There’s always something interesting to write about and share! Which is your favourite occasion listed below? Let us know if there something else you celebrate in your region.
REMINDER: Sign up and log in from the menu bar on the right side indicated in the blue rectangle and not the top left. You must be logged in to the site to access the forums and content otherwise you will get a “page not found” message.
Can you believe it? February is almost here! Have you got your
Postage stamps ✅
Washi and stickers✅
Signed up for a letter writing challenge
The letter writing community is lucky to kickstart the year by having two different programs during the month of February. Why February? It’s the shortest month of year and often not the best weather, so letter writing is a great way to pass the time while staying cosy indoors.
So what are the two different programs? A Month of Letters, or as we call it LetterMo around here, was started by writer Mary Robinette Kowal who took a month break from the internet. International Correspondence Writing Month or InCoWriMo, is an obvious nod to NaNoWriMo for the inspiration to write every day.
So what are the differences between #LetterMo and #InCoWriMo? See the chart below.
The various elements of LetterMo requires a team of dedicated volunteers who run things behind the scenes. We are also lucky to have built a strong community over the years that welcomes newcomers each year and shares their knowledge of the program and love of mail.
You may wonder, do people participate in both? There are definitely people who do the crossover as well as write and send out more than one letter a day! If you want to see some of the mail that is sent out, visit our Instagram profile and check out our stories – LetterMo 2021 or check out #LetterMo2021
With people around the world discovering or rediscovering the joy of the written word received by post, we hope letter writing will no longer be classified as a “lost art”
Are you ready? Come join the fun – sign up today! See you in the forums!
Let us know in the comments what you are doing to be ready for February 1st.
Ever heard the phrase “we just need your John Hancock” in reference to signing a contract or form? This idiom refers to one of the US’s founding fathers, and his noticeably bold signature on the Declaration of Independence.
Hancock’s signature towers over the names of others present at the signing of the US Declaration of Independence
Born on January 23, 1737, Hancock’s birthday was given a new purpose in 1977, when it was declared National Handwriting Day. The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) reminds us that “handwriting can add intimacy to a letter and reveal details about the writer’s personality. Throughout history, handwritten documents have sparked love affairs, started wars, established peace, freed slaves, created movements and declared independence.”
The WIMA also has recommendations of how we can celebrate National Handwriting Day:
Write a note. A quick handwritten note can make huge impact on someone’s day, from a note in your child’s lunchbox to a love note to a sweetheart.
Pen a poem.Not everyone is Shakespeare, but poetry is a great way to bring out your innermost thoughts about something you are passionate about.
Jot in your journal. Writing down your deepest thoughts in a private journal can help work through things you with which you may be struggling.
Sign your name. Channel your inner John Hancock and practice your signature, there is still a place today to sign on the dotted line.
And of course our favorite:
Compose a letter. The days of writing a letter on paper and sending it in the mail are not gone, reach out to someone you haven’t communicated with in a while by writing them a letter. Everyone loves getting mail!
So sharpen your pencils, refill your ink wells, and pull out your stationary. Everyone can take advantage of a little practice, whatever form of your LetterMo letters, be they typed, handwritten, or pictorial.
In February, mail one item every day it runs. #lettermo Sign up to find Lettermo Penpals!