The Cambrian

Lady Tie Di: When one letter spells out a whole lot

There are many lost art forms: vinyl albums, taking off your hat when entering a building, mummification. One thing that has been threatened for some time now but seems to stay alive due to the number of folks who may not be computer savvy or, like me, who appreciate the tactile experience, is letter writing.

An old high school friend of mine with whom I’ve recently become reconnected (via Internet!) has an art blog I’ve been following along and playing with (www.lindsayostrom. blogspot. co m/). I say “playing” because she regularly invites her followers to participate in group events like art challenges and the like.

This month, April, is National Letter Writing Month, and so, in honor or the occasion, 30 of us signed on to be “blog pals” and write at least one letter—by hand—and send it via snail-mail to your pal. Or send one card to everyone on the list. Or a package or something interesting… you get the picture.

It doesn’t matter that you don’t know who they are. You’re getting to know them on some level — lots of scrap-bookers, crafty souls. Mostly, they’re in California in the Gold Rush country where my girlfriend lives, but there’s one from France and one from the Philippines. Remember pen pals? Well, the concept is similar. It’s not quite dead yet (in your best Monty Python accent).

My mother was adamant about us writing thank-you notes. I slack. Badly. What usually happens is I want to hand-make a card to let the person know how truly thankful I am for whatever it is they’ve kindly bestowed upon me. Some how I develop too big of a plan and it doesn’t happen. Or, let’s just say I do produce a decent product. Where’s their address? I e-mail,

“Send me your real address.” “No, that’s OK.” Oh, man ….

One of the several summers I went away to sleep-away camp, I had all manner of notebook paper on which to write letters home and just enough change to buy stamps in the camp store (half the fun) (geez, what did they cost then, 12 cents?) I wrote one particularly loving letter, folded very carefully into some origamic-shape for my mother.

When I finally arrived home, I discovered she was very hurt that everyone else had gotten a letter but not her. “I promise I sent you one. Really! I sent yours first, even!” I pleaded. (Obviously she wasn’t seriously hurt but I took it as such at the time). Several months later, this rather wrinkled, grease-blackened bundle of paper arrived at our house. It was Mom’s long-lost letter which had obviously gotten stuck in the mail room somewhere. “See!!!”

This month, I’ve sent out 31 fabric postcards of my dyed fabric and handmade stamps, one of which is shaped like a fish. I’ve also fashioned a giant postcard out of odd flotsam painted, glued and taped onto mat board. As long as the stamps stay on, I am confident our trusty mail service will get these missives through.

My hats off to my friend for helping keep letter writing alive. How nice to get these in the mail instead of all the fodder for the blue bin! Now if I can just get my boys on board….

E-mail Lady Tie Di, aka Dianne Brooke, a member of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees, at tiedi@att . net, or visit her Web site at