Painting, sculpting, dancing, making music, and all the other artistic pursuits have benefits that go far beyond pure enjoyment or cultural creation — these activities can also strengthen your brain and improve your mood.
Since the inception of emailing and texts mail boxes around the globe have lain empty, gathering bills and cobwebs, lamenting the lost art of letter writing, waiting for Godot to come, deposit something and make them loved again.
The therapeutic benefits of unsent mail are quite well known. They are a powerful journalling tool! When running courses I promoted letter writing as a way of firming ideas for a novel or script. I also had participants write formal letters to themselves and posted them weeks after they were written. When my 35-year-old son moved to Berlin and was taking time to settle to his new life I took to writing to him and including silly drawings and fun stickers. He enjoyed the looks on the faces of people in cafes when he said that he was writing a letter to his mother.
A Brisbane postman makes fake letters for a dog. Pippa the dog always runs towards Martin Studer, a postman from Brisbane, whenever she sees him – she loves getting mail! In fact, the pooch enjoys it so much, the postman even writes tiny letters especially for her. He does not want to upset the good girl. “Sometimes, Pippa comes out for the daily delivery but there’s no mail for her to collect,” Studer writes on Facebook. “So I have to improvise.”
“I’ve been on Pippa’s run for the last 2-3 years,” Studer told Bored Panda. “I have always written something to her. She LOVES the postie. It really makes her day when we come by.”
I totally understand how Pippa feels. I have vivid memories of the letters, resplendent with foreign stamps arriving. I had friends in America and Canada and still have a small skunk brooch that my Canadian pen pal sent me. Much later, when I was running Soul Food, some participants sent parcels and they were greeted with delight.
There are sites, like Snail Mail Pen Pals, that will connect people to pen friends but there are plenty of innovative ways to find a pen pal and engage in snail mail exchanges such as these. A recent article talked about reasons to do art even if you are bad at it. My daughter and I love sending ridiculous postcards from our own airport before boarding to go overseas. We usually add embellishments to the name of the recipient, some of which are best not mentioned here. Mail Art is a fun place for a budding artist to start.
In a post on Miss Pelican’s Perch, Lori Gloyd remembers the work of Nick Bantock and the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. She brainstorms and considers
“I got to thinking maybe I could tell an epistolary short story on my break. It will be a challenge since I don’t have access to Photoshop, my favored tool of visual creations. I may have to go old school with pen and paint. And then there’s the question: from whom shall the correspondence come, to whom shall they go, and what story shall it tell?”