All posts by Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY and GLAMOUR IN GLASS. In 2008 she received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2011, her short story “For Want of a Nail” won the Hugo Award for Short Story. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor, recording fiction for authors such as Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. You may write to her at: P.O. Box 221298 Chicago, IL 60622

The torch passes to a new team! LetterMo is alive! ALIVE!

My dears,

I am so relieved and grateful. Ronda Stall and Cooksterz have stepped up to the letterbox and are making sure that LetterMo continues on through snow, rain, heat and gloom of night.

They are working on cleaning the forums of spam and getting everything ready for this February. I’ll be lurking in the background but going forward, you have new couriers. Please help them with, and thank them for, the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Fondly yours,

Mary Robinette Kowal

Would you like to run the Month of Letters?

My dears,

This is a difficult post to write, but the time has come for me to give up the Month of Letters. It began as a way for me to disconnect from the internet and slow down. I have loved all of the people that I got to meet through it.

But over the years, the effort involved in maintaining and running the site has grown to the point that I can’t sustain it. In full and painful honesty, we’re at the point that February triggers my depression symptoms as I realize that I’m letting people down.

We’re slammed with spammers and I don’t have the ability to stop them. There are things that the site needs that I can’t provide.

So what I’d like to do, rather than just shutting it down, is to hand the Month of Letters over to another caretaker. I issued the initial challenge, yes, but it is bigger than me.

Do you want to run Month of Letters?

If you do, I’ll still pay for hosting. I can cheer from backstage. But I’m at a point where I need to let go of trying to manage the site. In 2018, I’m trying to be better about understanding my limits. Please understand and accept my apologies.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Robinette Kowal

Edited to add: There’s a new team! LetterMo is alive!

Welcome to Day One of the Month of Letters Challenge

I’ve just written my first letter for the month, which was a thank you for a lovely, lovely hand-knitted sweater. There’s something so beautifully personal about things that our hands have touched. I think this is one of the charms to mailing letters. Even if you aren’t writing it by hand, knowing that you touched gives the letter an ephemeral beauty.

Meanwhile, we are also creatures of the Information Age, and do like our computers so… I have some new badges for you.

Now, if you’re a newcomer, to log your letters, click on the “Fun Stuff” menu and then “What have you mailed today?”  Just fill that in once a day with what you’ve sent out. And make sure to check out the badges page for some other fun.

And finally, some housekeeping… I’ve just learned that the LetterMo email has been broken since early January. We’re trying to fix it, but bear with me. I’ve attempted to reset the contact form so it goes to my personal email address as a temporary measure. I’m so sorry for the confusion and frustration that’s caused for folks looking for help. I wasn’t ignoring you on purpose.

The final housekeeping note– Again, this year, please don’t write to me. There are tons of people that would love to get your letters and I get plenty. I love mail, but the pace that happens in February can get a little overwhelming. So hop into the forums and visit the address exchange board. 

2017 LetterMo explanation cards

Several years ago, Tempest Bradford came up with these business cards to tuck into your correspondence. Here’s the updated 2017 version in a couple of formats. If you want to support the website, and don’t want to bother with the hassle of printing and cutting yourself, you can order them from the LetterMo store on Zazzle.

Or… You can download this PDF of the 2017 LetterMo cards and print them out yourself.

The 2017 LetterMo postcard

For 2017, I’ve got a brand-new postcard design for you AND it’s a small way to help support the site, which receives 10% of the sales.

You’ll also notice that I cleverly did NOT put the year on it this time, so you can reuse the card next year if you don’t send them all this year. One of the things I do with these is use the ability to customize it, and add my return address directly on the back of the card. It’s super-handy.

 

(Or, if you just want the card, and can’t afford to spend the money, here’s a pdf so you can print your own. Postcard 2017 pdf)

Enough — Write to your representative

You and I, we know the power of letters. If there’s ever a time that you are going to write to your representative, this is it. That time you have carved out for a pen pal, take time to write a letter and express your grief that people continue to be murdered because legislators won’t even study the problem.

I have my own, very strong views, about actions that our government should take regarding guns. I’m not going to push those on you. But if you are heartsick, know that we, as letter writers, have a power. Letters are taken more seriously than emails or Facebook or Twitter.

rainbow stationeryAnd to make that easier for you, I have some tools.

  1. Your congressperson’s mailing address. Simply enter your address or zipcode. Click on their name to get the mailing address.
  2. Your governor’s address
  3. Don’t have stationery or stamps? Postable.com has created a 30% discount code to make it easy to write to your representative*. Just use: ITSTIME
  4. Printable Stationery
  5. A template of a letter, which does, indeed, express my very strong feelings. I provide it only as an example because sometimes grief robs us of our words.

Dear [representative]

I am heartsick about the shootings that keep happening. Orlando was the most recent, and largest, but by no means unique. I want my government to make this stop by passing comprehensive gun control laws.

When you consider what it takes to own a car, which has other purposes, is it too much to ask that we are as stringent with firearms? While there are legitimate uses for guns, most Americans own them as a hobby and are improperly trained. Any other hobby, with this high of a death rate, would have been banned long ago.
Please. Please make sure that there is never another Columbine, or Sandy Hook, or Virginia Tech, or Orlando. Please step up and make this stop. It’s why we elected you.

Sincerely yours,

[Name]

You and I? We understand the power of letters. So please…. Please write a letter today.

*I will note that Postable.com allows you to write one letter and send it to multiple addresses. Before writing, simply choose “More options” and then “Carbon Copy.” The letter will look handwritten and they will put it in an envelope and send it to your senator for you. All you have to do is supply the address and the content.

Last day of LetterMo — Leap with Joy!

A leaping unicornToday is the last day of the 2016 Month of Letters! How did you do?

Some of you managed to send mail everyday this month, which is fantastic. That’s at least 24 packets of joy you sent in the mail, and from what I can tell, some of you sent a lot more than that. Make sure you get your Winner badge.

Some of you managed only a couple of pieces. I don’t want to hear you say that you “failed” at Month of Letters. This challenge is about making connections and slowing down to think about just one person at a time. Any step towards that is a good thing. You made someone’s day brighter and that can never be considered a failure. So focus on what you did achieve.

And it is also Leap Day, so… we have a special leap day badge for you. If you take your mail to the post office and ask them to hand-cancel it, then you’ll wind up with the rare February 29th date.

So… Since this is all about connections, share the connection that made you happiest.