“...while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
— Eugene V. Debs

A month of letter writing

In January I wrote 31 letters. This project was part of my ongoing efforts to reduce my use of social media, and I wanted to update my loved ones on my life with a more direct and personal form of communication. Also, who doesn't love receiving mail?

I’m writing about it now because I think I have received all of the responses I am going to receive.

Letter Content

I was surprised at how my letters changed based on my moods. I care for everyone on my list who received a letter. Some barely filled a post-card sized sheet of paper while others filled the front and back of a half-sheet. I kept a draft of every letter (they were in my journal, next to my to my to-do list for the day) and there was a strong correlation to how much stuff I got done on that day vs. how long the letter was.

Response Rate

So far, I have received ten initial responses. A response rate of about 30%. This was about double what I expected it to be. I have reason to believe that the response rate was really higher than that. I have at least one case of a letter never reaching its intended recipient and two cases of me never receiving a letter I know to have been sent. (By the way, if you sent me a letter and I didn’t tell you that I received it, please let me know.)

Take aways

Writing letters is fun! I really enjoyed/enjoy the excitement of going to my mailbox when there is a chance it might be a letter from someone awesome. It breaks the monotony of only getting advertisements and bills. It also gave me a chance to let my friends know I was thinking of them in a way that was slightly more meaningful than a text message.

Another, unexpected, benefit was how comfortable I felt expressing myself. I often discussed things that I wouldn’t in person due to various anxieties. I was left with the constant fear that I offended someone. But, I feel the benefit of being vulnerable with friends was worth that risk.

Want a letter?

I still have a few letters outside that list of 31 that I want to write and send. I'm also working through my backlog of responses to other letters. However, if you want to be added to that list send me an email!

Lifting, Jiu-jitsu and depression

Depression