Since I was young, I used to write a great number of letters and notes to friends and classmates. I had shoeboxes and notebooks colorfully decorated and brimming with handwritten notes. In between classes and throughout my evening, I would exchange these notes and scribble in new entries. Most the time, I had nothing meaningful to say and most would turn into giddy nonsense.
My love affair with writing has always stemmed, from what I can seemingly remember, from my fascination with connecting and engaging with others. It’s why I started Backpacks & Blackboards. Other social media outlets, while challenging my creativity, never truly engaged others in the way that writing notes have.
Today, if I’m not banging out articles on my laptop or jotting down random thoughts in a notebook while on a bus, the pen never really gets to paper. I send off a few messages and try to keep up with birthdays on Facebook. Although I’m truly horrible at it and I’m genuinely sorry if I missed your birthday. The truth is: Facebook is just dull.
And it’s not that I find the lives of my friends and family dull. Not in the least. In fact, I love to hear about their announcements and read about their new hobbies. But what I miss is the connection, the effort, and the thought that goes into swirling that pen on paper. Written in between the lines of those notebook sheets of paper were encouraging thoughts of warmth and support, which taking the time to give you a colorful ‘hello’ in bubble letters was a way to show you that you are an important person in my life.
So this month, I’m starting a simply letter exchange. I enjoy all the feedback I get through Backpacks & Blackboards and its social media sites. I love reading the posts of readers of the blog and hearing their own stories, even if it’s what they ate for lunch. In the mornings, lying in bed for thirty minutes while scrolling through the lives of people who had a whole day of activities while I slept motivates me for my own day. Tapping ‘like’ or ‘save’ is not enough to feed my desire to engage.
If you would like to exchange letters, cards, or musings, feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know and we can exchange addresses. I’d love to share a bit of my Taiwanese adventures in writing with you personally and learn more about your own journeys, be it at home or abroad.