About the Challenge

It’s a simple challenge with two parts.

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

All you are committing to is to mail 24 items. Why 24? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 24 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month.

Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Send a fabric swatch from your new dress. A feather you picked up while on a walk. Whatever it is, let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and think about an audience of one. Think of it as sending 24 little gifts. And, who knows, you might enjoy going to the mail box again.

In September 2010, I took a month off from the internet. During my vacation, I told people that they could correspond with me by paper letter.  It was fun, so in 2011, I issued the challenge.  I thought it would be small. I was wrong.

I find that I slow down and write differently in a letter, than I do with an email. Email is all about the now. Letters are different, because whatever I write needs to be something that will be relevant a week later to the person to whom I am writing. In some ways it forces me to think about time more because postal mail is slower. “By the time you get this…” It is relaxing. It is intimate. It is both lasting and ephemeral.

How so? You send a physical artifact through the mail. Whether it is a letter, or a fabric swatch, your recipient has something that your hands have touched. So, that makes it more lasting. It is more ephemeral because letters are one of a kind. I don’t have copies of the letters that I write and I am the only one who has copies of the letters that my correspondents write. So, more ephemeral.

Quests and Badges

Ooo! Badges. Who doesn’t like badges? (You do have to be signed up for the challenge to collect stamps.) To collect a stamp, simply click on the appropriate challenge below and then use the submission form on that challenge page to report your success.