I'm always learning something new. Some of it comes from what I call teaching myself. I learn by doing. I learn from YouTube, the Internet, and you. I learn from magazines I enjoy. Several of my favorites usually devote time and space to letter writing. A coincidence? Um, no; they know we are here to stay, and we're growing in numbers every single day. This is a page from a secret favorite, "Garden & Gun." It's in their March/April issue.
I am for anyone who promotes writing by hand anything that's capable of bearing postage and traveling. So this is my nod to G&G for "We Say Thank You Properly." It's No. 41 on their list of "50 Perfect Southern Things." No. 1 shows off a picture perfect magnolia, a piece titled, "The Scent of the Magnolia, A love letter to the fragrant South," by Frances Mayes. No, it's not an actual love letter. It's not even a letter! There's no hello, dear, and nary a single sincerely. Shame on you, Frances.
"Etiquette expert Elizabeth Edwards, of Arzberger's Stationers in Charlotte, shares the ABCs of a well-written thank-you note." She tells all in steps A - E, actually. Here we go:
A: For notes to family and friends, strike through any formal part of the name at the top of the letter to keep things casual.
Are you laughing or scoffing? Both? Okay, there's more:
B: Always write out the date in the far right corner, opposite the salutation.
C: Begin the body of the note directly under the "r" in Dear.
D and E? I'm not saying.
I'm almost certain I shared this in time for your Christmas and Hanukkah last year. It never hurts to repeat a good thing though, so again, here we go. "Write Your Cards Well, Timely advice to improve your handwriting from lettering artist Cherrell Avery." I like what she says:
1) Find a good handwriting pen, a roller ball or fountain pen that grips the paper.
2) Sit straight. Bad posture equals bad writing. Make sure your legs aren't scrunched up, your back is straight and hold your pen with a loose, relaxed grip.
3) Keep your fingers flexible, not rigid. Try doodling to practice mobilising your digits.
4) Spend five minutes writing, being mindful of what you're doing, of how your writing looks, the speed and the shapes (not what you're writing).
5) Inspect your writing. Is the scale and proportion of your letters consistent? Are you forming your letters correctly? Many people miss the backbone in the letters n, m and r. Disjoining letters is also common. When writing at speed, n, m and h derteriorate quickly. Get to know what your habits are and practise slowing down to correct them.
Cherrell (http://www.cherrellavery.co.uk/) teaches Transform your Handwriting courses at London's Idler Academy, www.idler.co.uk. (December 2014 Issue)
I'm still working on keeping my loops open. For starters. There's always room for improvement. Wait until you see what else I'm working on!
"How to Write a Thank-you Note, Top manners = repeat invitations. We all know the value of saying "thank-you" at this time of year, (even if Nanny Vi did send bath salts again). . . .
a) BEGIN WITH A GREETING.
b) EXPRESS THANKS.
c) ADD SPECIFIC DETAILS.
d) LOOK AHEAD. Mention the next time you might see them, or just let them know you're thinking of them.
e) RESTATE YOUR THANKS.
f) SIGN OFF."
(from January 2015 The Simple Things)
Do you think rules are important when it comes to penning a message? Did you know penning a letter with red is considered an insult? Do you think I believe any of this matters to any of you? I do. Side notes are often interesting, if not downright laughable.
And, then there's one of my pet projects. Not much beats checking in on my friends that flew south for the winter, or waiting for the free rangers to return. Alex is back from his family trip to Mexico. The first thing he told me was how much he missed me. I confessed that I missed him too. He asked if I cried. I said I did. Erin questioned my reply. I told her I cried in my heart. I did.
I've been busy writing, and drawing, and coloring and musing.
It really is true that . . .
I'm busy making postcards with my own brand of experimental writing. Colors can make you happier than you think, or imagine.
I'm so color-happy, I almost don't mind that I messed up my bee. It'll come right in the end, you'll see.
Smudges and smears! Happily, no tears. It's what's inside that matters. The wrappings will only end up in tatters. Humidity makes messes with pen and ink. It poltergeists my tools, I'm beginning to think.
A lot of hellos, dear, thank-you(s) and sincerely(s) went out today. Some of it is headed your way.