Writing letters

I’m a big fan of writing letters. If you haven’t received a letter in years, that’s probably because you haven’t sent one either. Here’s what you need to start doing it again.

  • Stamps. If you live in Poland, I’ll be happy to tell you that the tariffs were simplified considerably in January 2013 – right now, almost everything you can stuff in a not-too-big envelope ships at the same rate (normal: 1,60zł, priority: 2,35zł). You buy the stamps at the post office (yes, I’m playing Captain Obvious here) and receive the accompanying PRIORITAIRE stickers if you choose that service. I recommend using priority services – otherwise, your letter can take many days – or even weeks – to arrive.
  • Envelopes. You can get the plain ones at the post office too, but I recommend getting some quality ones. I have my two favorite shops – you can probably find some in your town.
  • Writing paper. Personally, I buy high-density decorative A4 paper and cut it into four pieces, each 10x15cm in size. You can use anything that strikes your fancy here – for example, I have a few sheets of very old paper for special occasions. Generally, everything works – just avoid the plain paper.
  • Addresses of your friends. Try to get them in a non-obvious manner – so they won’t suspect you’re going to send them anything.
  • Optional: quality pen/pencil. Letters are best handwritten – I tried typewriting once, but found it too impersonal; it doesn’t help to have a machine between people.
  • Optional: stationery. Quality stationery is almost impossible to get – all they print today are some roses and puppies, perfumed with rose fragrance. Ugh.
  • Optional: photographs. Writing letters is hard at first – I actually started by sending people printed photographs. The size that fits the standard envelopes is 10x15cm and you can print that in every photo lab for next to nothing.
  • Even more optional: anything you find appropriate. You can put small flat objects in the envelope – pages from a book, bus tickets, leaves, rocks, kittens… okay, photocopies of kittens.
  • Finally: time and courage. These one are the hardest to find.

When you actually succeed in writing a letter, you put the address on the envelope – the way you were taught in school – and toss the letter in a mailbox (the red one on the street, not the one at your front door ;). Then you wait – these days it takes people a while to check their mail – but it does arrive at some day. And then, some other day, you might open your mailbox and find something waiting for you. ;)

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