Back to Writing…Letters~

It has been a very intense month of writing…on our book, that is, but not for letters. The manuscript for Mary & Me was submitted at 10:30 a.m. on February 26, 2015. The day after submission, the two co-writers woke up and wanted to…write letters.

letters 025Yes, ironically, during the process of writing a book about friendship and letters, our letter-writing took a hit. Both Marys have a stack of correspondence to answer.

The official release date for Mary & Me has been moved to September 8, and it is already available for pre-order through Amazon. Since September is International Women’s Friendship Month, this is an ideal month for our book publication. Stay tuned for tea parties, girl’s nights out, and even online events in celebration of the release.

In the meantime, in between edits and revisions with our editor, we will continue to review books and blogs related to friendship and letter-writing here, as well as on our Facebook page.

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Mom Memories in Letters

From Mary K~

One of the chapters in our book is about our mothers and their experience with female friendship. Since my mother died in 2010, I couldn’t ask her questions so I had to rely on my own memories and impressions. I do remember her talking about childhood and high school friends, particularly one named Beverly. I knew her to have a close friend later in life, but for the most part I could not recall her having any female friends during the years I lived at home. Did she ever yearn for one outside of Dad? (because it was obvious he was her best friend) I will never know.

Mary is able to ask her mother those kinds of questions, and for the purpose of the chapter she did just that, recording a conversation with her mother about the friendships she has experienced in her life. As I read parts of that conversation, I was struck by how much our mothers had in common, raising large families and struggling just to put food on the table.

Today Mary shared a guest essay with me that will be included in the book, one written by three generations of women; a woman who saved the letters her daughter-in-law had written as a young mother and gifted them to her granddaughter years later, when she gave birth to her own child. As I read it, something occurred to me. While I can’t ask my mother questions anymore, she can still speak to me. How? Through a box of letters she’d given me years ago, ones she’d written to her mother. My mother was an avid letter-writer. I also have my mother’s “Memory Book.” I’ve spent several hours this afternoon delving back in time.

mom's letters 006In one letter, my mother mentions possibly being able to visit her old friend Beverly. Did she ever make it to see her? They must have kept in touch for Mom to know she lived in Cedar Rapids at the time.

mom's letterWithin minutes of reading the friend’s last name, I discovered her obituary online. Beverly outlived her best buddy from 8th Grade, dying last January at the age of 84.

According to her answers to the questions in the Memory Book, my mother enjoyed school, had many friends, and despite some encounters with “mean girls,” she was popular and enjoyed dating and socializing. Beverly is mentioned several times. The love and devotion my mother felt toward my father is also very evident. One page in particular, however, answers the question I would have asked if Mom were still alive: As an adult, did you enjoy a long-standing friendship like mine and Mary’s? Were I answering this question, the page would have been filled. Besides Mary and my sisters, I am blessed to have some wonderful women in my life.  My mother underlined the words closest personal life-long friend. Then she wrote a single sentence.

mom's letters 008My invisible friend, my Guardian Angel…

A NaNoWriMo…for Letters?

Every November there comes a challenge for potential novelists all over the world…to write 50,000 words in one month. Writers register for National Novel Writing Month which is commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo, attempting to complete what amounts to a rough draft of a book. Mary K has participated several times, working on a non-fiction book during the 2012 challenge. 50,000 words is a daunting task. The Marys are up to 45, 000 words in their own book project, and that is after months of writing. Only by manuscript’s completion the end of this month do we expect to hit, and likely exceed, that magical number.

We are pleased to share a much less daunting challenge we discovered recently, five days into the month of February: A Month of Letters. Founder Mary Robinette Kowal’s  challenge is simple:

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

It’s not too late to sign up. I (Mary K) joined this morning and plan to “catch up” to the challenge by writing a letter or card on Sundays too, or sending out more than one on some days. The goal is to write and send a letter on each of the 23 mailing days of the month. Perhaps I could count yesterday’s two and Monday’s one sent letter in the equation as well.

month of lettersI read about this challenge on another amazing website, the Letter Writer’s Alliance. The Letter Writer’s Alliance is dedicated to preserving the art form of the hand-written letter. The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. They manage every aspect of the Alliance, from design, to packing orders, to maintaining the website. With over 7,000 members worldwide, the member site is the biggest part of the Alliance. They offer free printable downloads, exclusive member products, and vintage postal items. A Lifetime membership is a  mere $5 and offers access to new pen-pals. These lovely ladies are also in the process of writing a foreword for Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink.

What else do they do? They hold virtual letter socials! They have one coming up this Sunday, February 8. You can view the event details here: http://letterwriters.org/#events

Basically everyone writes letters within a 24 hour period, using social media to “join in” together. You can even view a live video of Donovan and Kathy writing letters for an hour or two. And they will have a special guest: the creator of Month of Letters. You can view the video live or the recorded version here come Sunday at 3pm CST: http://letterwriters.org/VirtualSocial.html

We hope you will join us in making February a month of letters. But why stop there? Once you get into the habit of writing letters, you might find you enjoy it just as much as “Mary & Me.”