Thursday, February 02, 2012

After My Own Heart

I love to write letters.  I still send 'paper' cards at Christmas and for birthdays and anniversaries whenever I can, and usually add a personal note.  I'm not much of a card maker; rather, as a lover of beautiful stationery and pens (I'm still trying to find an affordable fountain pen, as I can't get refills for the two I have, and one has lost its 'bladder' for filling from a bottle), I've never passed a stationery store without going in to fondle the wares and breathe in the smell of ink and paper-stuffs.

I had my first pen-pal at age 10 and although ours is now a hit-and-miss e-mail correspondence, we did manage to keep it up for 30 years till, as They say, "Life got in the way."

Alas, this challenge is not so much a call on my time or motivation as it is on my finances.  It costs a minimum of $0.61 CAD per letter or postcard (yes, Canada Post prices these at the same rate) within Canada, and the current letter/card rate to the US is $1.05; to other countries, $1.80.  Thus writing a daily letter to a Canadian friend would run me almost $18 for February's 29 days, and over $30 if I sent them all to the US -- over $50 if they all went to the UK or Europe or wherever!  And that's assuming I have a supply of stationery on hand (which, being me, fortunately, I do).

It would seem that our postal service wants to have its cake and eat it too: it complains that there's not enough genuine mail (i.e. NOT advertising!) going out (i.e., demand is declining), but it's not making it easy to send letters for those who are so inclined -- and who are often of the Older Generation, on fixed incomes.  For me, it means that it's tough to do this "challenge" on the spur of the moment, because it's not worked into my budget -- whereas the cost of e-mail is (it;s part of my monthly internet billing). hard-copy letter-writing will continue as it has now for some time: at Christmas, for thank-yous, birthdays, anniversaries, new babies and other special occasions.  Now, who'd like a daily e-mail?


besshaile said...

I know your heart is sending out letters - and that's enough for me. From one stationary lover to another ... Hugs

Gina said...

I think the only way it could POSSIBLY be feasible would be for someone who literally did not use a computer (or e-mail generating technology of any kind). At all. Ever. And therefore doesn't pay for the electricity to power it. And even then, I'm pretty sure I don't spend $18 JUST to power my computer.

I sent a small parcel to my kidlets last week, and it was close to $10. For one province over!!! It's a good thing they're worth it!

Judy Warner said...

I agree Margaret that sending letters is challenging. I saw a 'heads up' the other day at our local post office. Someone's card was too small to be mailed. Apparently it won't work in the machines. I too like to browse in stationery stores whenever possible. On this recent trip, I had that delight but noticed that a lot of new cards are very small. I wonder if people realize when they purchase that they won't be able to mail them!
Hope you are able to keep up on your current level of letter writing. Receiving a card in the mail for any occasion is even more special these days due to email.

Susan said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head - declining revenue makes the cost go up, which makes fewer bits of mail go out. It's an unending circle, unfortunately. My son LOVES fountain pens, and I found this new site I'm going to try. The pens are obviously not Mont Blanc, but that is SO out of my price range! =)

I figure if I lose $15, because it's a lousy pen, that's a one-time chance I'll take.

I still send some real letters and cards, because it's nice to receive them, not just adverts!

Gina E. said...

Another item we have in common (I find so many soul mates on the Net). I also love writing and receiving real letters, and like you, I found my first penpal when I was about 10. She was in England and we wrote for a number of years, but it just tapered off. But my second penpal at the same age, lives in another Australian state, and we have stayed friends all these years, and met up several times.
Stationery stores....sigh..I have dozens of calligraphy pens, lots of inks, but not enough time to indulge in that beautiful craft.