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Letter Writing

What Would You Write To Your 13 Year Old Self?

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Artist and author Allie Brosh wrote letters to younger versions of herself in her new book, including a letter to herself when she was at the bewildering age of thirteen years old.

What would you write in a letter to your younger self? Bosh published Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened this month.

In May, Brosh returned to her popular site for the first time since 2011 with an illustrated essay about depression. She also created a separate book site for her upcoming collection.

 

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Ernest Hemingway’s Advice To a Young Writer: ‘You have to catch hell’

hemingwayIn October 1925, a young writer named Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter to a younger Canadian author named Morley Callaghan.

Callaghan was frustrated with his writing life and wrote to his friend: “Have a lot of time and could go a good deal of writing if I knew how I stood.”

Hemingway’s response is included in volume two of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, out this month. We’ve quoted his response below, great advice for writers of any age…

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Why Letter Writing Still Matters

I spend most of my day writing on this blog or writing emails to sources, but I only manage to send a few print letters every year. During my vacation later this month, I will test drive a stack of Moleskine’s Postal Notebooks in an attempt to reverse this bad writing habit.

Earlier this week, Michele Filgate wondered “Will social media kill writers’ diaries?

I think letter-writing is a casualty of that same impulse. We spend so much time reading and writing fractured pieces of our experience that we forget to tell our story in the broad strokes of a diary or letter.

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David Foster Wallace Letters & Manuscript Sold for $125,000

A package of letters, envelopes and a short story manuscript by the late David Foster Wallace sold for $125,000 at Sothebys.

The correspondence were  all addressed to author and writing professor Richard Elman during the mid-1980s. You can read more about Elman’s career here.  Sothebys has more about the collection:

Archive of 21 letters, 1 postcard and 41 pp. photocopy typescript manuscript for the short story “Little Expressionless Animals” with manuscript notes on title page, comprising both ALS and TLS (“David Wallace”) or “David” ) together 24 pages of correspondence (generally 11 x 8 1/2 in; 328 x 215 mm). many on letterhead with original mailing envelopes written from University of Arizona, New York and Amhers, circa 23 September 1985 to 12 November 1987 to his writing professor Richard Elman; few fold lines but generally excellent condition.

(Via Michael Orthofer)

Bubbles App Creates Handwritten Emails

Tired of sending ordinary emails with unlikeable fonts and impersonal writing tools?

The new Bubbles app lets you send emails loaded with handwritten text, doodles, photos and more. You can turn your most important emails into beautiful digital letters. AppNewser has all the details:

You can use it to create collaged messages which include images, drawings, and handwriting. Simply login to the app with your Facebook account, then begin to create a message. You can use your tablet computer or a digital drawing tablet as a surface to write your messages which will show up on the screen. You can save your work as a PDF which is then attached to the email message. You can send these messages to anyone but if you get your friends to sign up then they can “unhook” your message and add their own doodles and notes to the same page.

Month of Letters Challenge Returns

Do you miss writing letters the old fashioned way? In February, author Mary Robinette Kowal will host her annual A Month of Letters Challenge, as writers around the world will try to post a letter a day.

This year, the challenge will include letter writer profiles, forums and lots of extra goodies. You can sign up at this link:

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. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items. All you are committing to is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 23 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month. Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and write for an audience of one. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.

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The Rumpus Creates Letters for Kids Program

Over at The Rumpus, middle-grade author Cecil Castelluci will coordinate the new Letters For Kids program–a subscription service giving readers mail from authors who write for kids.

According to the launch page, participants will receive “two letters a month written by middle-grade authors like Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, Adam Rex, Kerry Madden, Natalie Standiford, Susan Patron, Rebecca Stead, Cecil Castelluci, and more.” The service will cost $4.50 per month for U.S. readers, and $9 international readers. The project will expand upon The Rumpus’ Letters in the Mail program for adults.  Check it out:

Some of the letters will be illustrated. Some will be written by hand. It’s hard to say! We’ll copy the letters, fold them, put them in an envelope, put a first class stamp on the envelope, and send the letters to you (or your child) … Six is pretty much the perfect age to start checking your mailbox for actual letters. And if you’ve waited until you were ten, well, you’re four years behind but still, it’s not too late. And if you’re sixteen, that’s OK, there’s still something of the kid left. And if you’re sixty, well… OK. You’re young at heart.

Write One Letter & Get Five Letters Back from The Rumpus

When was the last time you wrote a letter? If you write one letter, you will get five letters back in a new program from The Rumpus.

The Rumpus successfully tested the Letters To Each Other program earlier this year, so the literary site has opened up the letter-writing experience to all readers. This GalleyCat editor already mailed his letter. Here are all the details, from The Rumpus founder Stephen Elliott‘s email newsletter:

You send in a letter, single page (double sided OK) and include a regular size #10 self addressed stamped envelope. We’ll make copies of all the letters and send five letters back to you in the stamped envelope you provided. Please include at least $2 to cover the cost of copying, pizza for envelope stuffers, etc. Easy peezy. Send one letter, get five letters back. Send your letter to: Karen Duffin, 3288 21st Street #202, San Francisco, CA 94110. Letters must be postmarked no later than June 15. If you don’t live in the United States please make a donation using Paypal for at least $3. Print out the receipt for your donation and include it with your letter and self addressed envelope. International letter writers don’t need to include a stamp on their return envelope.

Learning from John Steinbeck Letters

Novelist Thomas Steinbeck received a mountain of letters from his father, John Steinbeck. Over at The Hairpin, the son of the late Nobel Prize winning author talked about what he learned from these letters.

Follow this link to read a letter Steinbeck wrote about relationship advice. Thomas has written a number of books, most recently The Silver Lotus. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

my father sent me this very long letter, and he had very tiny handwriting — he wrote by hand — and it was like an 18-page letter. It took me a week to decipher this thing, because of his handwriting, primarily. And when I got to the very end of it, I noticed at the very bottom, he said, “Son, I want to apologize. I would’ve sent you a note but I didn’t have the time!”

Meaning, that ultimately, the greatest amount of time in all writing is spent editing. My father said there’s only one trick to writing, and that’s not writing, that’s writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. Like sculpture. I mean, the first thing off the top of your head isn’t the most brilliant thing you ever thought of. And then when you’re writing about it, when you want others to understand what you’re still talking about, then it really requires that you edit yourself really, really well, so that other people can comprehend it.

Do We Live in 1984 or a Brave New World?

In 1932, Aldous Huxley published Brave New World, a novel about an ominous future where the government keeps the population under control with drugs and entertainment. In 1949, George Orwell published Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel about an ominous future where the government keeps the population under control with oppressive surveillance.

Who do you think had a more prophetic vision of the 21st Century? Today Letters of Note featured a long letter that Huxley (pictured, via) wrote to Orwell explaining why he thought future rulers would follow Brave New World more than Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Check it out: “Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.” (Via Reddit)

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