Tuesday, August 4, 2015

To Quote Ovid . . .

"While writing, the very toil gives pleasure." Ovid

Addressing an envelope does too. Sometimes an envelope is the best part of getting a letter. I've gotten Smithsonian-worthy envelopes since I started hanging out with y'all, and the singular papers that "envelope" your communications often require a near-surgical excision to gain access to the contents. Chances are good that the sentence I just wrote makes no sense at all, but take my word for it, every word is true. In plain English: My desire is to leave the flap intact. It's too pretty to mar. And, yes, about three times a year I cut too deep and slice the stationery. 

While I have three or four--or five letter openers at home. And why is it none of my letter openers are as sharp as those in a Poirot or Agatha Christie murder mystery? Oh. I've used a steak knife, a paring knife, and even a shrimp deveiner when I've opened and read mail leaning against a kitchen counter. Opening a letter is like cracking a nut shell when you want to get at the meat in a hurry. Any old nutcracker will do. Even a shoe. (humming, Any old music will do.) 

I have a quote for you, from page 59 of The Art of the Handwritten Note; "Pushing the Envelope." Balance your need to express yourself with the mail carrier's need to read the address by confining decoration to the name of the addressee or the edges of the envelope. Ha! Oh, ho! I wonder where the author lives? Our mail is pre-sorted and bundled before it makes it to the mail truck. 

Here's another: If your envelope is a nonstandard size or thicker than 1/4" write "hand cancel" on the outside. Ha! Oh, ho! Year before last that would have happened had I asked. Last year I was informed that requesting "please hand cancel" was taboo, since doing so did not "generate revenue." If the mail person is someone who knows you, and likes you, you're still good to go. Some will automatically do it simply because they like your "art." They're the ones who'll ask how you "did that," and you don't mind telling them because you want them to catch the wave. The good folk at Ace Hardware's post office automatically hand cancel. They still believe in customer service. And they don't have supervisors breathing down their neck. 

Do you remember this? I said I'd show you the gems that are all wrapped in bubbles. I thought I'd use them first, then scan my creation, and then go ta-da! Well, here goes.

Ta-da! It's chalk! From Anna. There's an interesting stuff to go with it, but not yet.  The creation is still a twinkle in my eye. There's just enough for a nice drawing so it has to be a good one. Life has been full of sucker punches the last three or four weeks. I'm talking one after the other. And I've been too busy bobbing and ducking and weaving to throw a counter punch or three. I imagine this is how Ali must have felt against the ropes, when he was doing all he could to keep his dukes up. I keep reminding myself that Ali always won . . . as long as he had enough wind to keep talking and walking. Aw, who am I kidding? He danced too. He rested against those ropes just long enough to regroup. And he danced. So that's what I'm doing. I'm getting my wind back, talking with my fingertips, and walking to the mail box . . . one or two letters at a time. I dance at the bottom of the stairs where I can see myself in the mirror. I've been dancing somewhat slower lately, but dancing nonetheless. Ovid was a poet, Ali was too.Only, he annoyingly wanted the world to know it. 

Thank you, Anna. Your chalk keeps me dreaming, and when I do, I forget the other stuff for a while. I'm okay if I can work out a drawing in my head--long before I ever set a line on paper. 

Ovid was a Roman poet, whose full name is still Publius Ovidius Naso.

Write on and on and on . . . and then write some more.

I wrote a letter. I said, "I'm gonna mail myself to you." I received a ply:  Return to sender. Nobody's home. We are all gone. Stay home.


  1. I love your likeness to that of Ali! I too have suffered several blows in the past few months, the worst being the loss of my old dog, faithful buddy Griffin. It's been the hardest, saddest time in my life. Some may say, "just a dog" but unless you've had that constant companion for 12 years...well...what can I say? ANYWAY...I am now finally sitting down to finally start this little journey of writing to you, the unknown but somehow familiar person in a far away land...for a little letter to travel anyway! Thankyou for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you. Sometimes boxing is full of grand metaphors, similes and whatnot, for life. I feel you. And I've seen Griffin's photo. He looks like a good dog. You two were fortunate to have each other. My cats are aging. They are indoor felines, so their vet gives them more years than we ever imagined, having no stressors in their lives other than me. :) I'm sorry for your loss. And there is no such thing as "just a dog." Pets love us unconditionally. Simon and Minuet know when I am sad, happy, tense, upset, or in need of a round of licking. Or maybe they simply like my lotion? :) It's okay to miss Griffin.

      Write away! I am fortunate to have several pen friends who don't mind reading me when I need to "write myself back to happy." They listen well, and "talk" back in a timely fashion. We're one big tribe dedicated to writing out life. :) And don't forget what Ovid said.

      " . . . unknown but somehow familiar person . . ." I know what you mean! I've read today's long lovely letter (please, no groans) from someone I care about, at least three times today. She feels like my sister. Last week it was a letter from a "brother." Our experiences are shared through words that wing their way to us via little things called postage stamps, and strong bonds are woven.

      I never cared for Ali when his star was ascending and ascended. My feelings changed with maturity. I no longer watch boxing either. It's a brutal, senseless sport, although I do admire skill, mastery of any skill, and the ability to think well under fire. Knowing when to withdraw from the arena is a good thing as well. :)

      I look forward to your letter. If you've been inspired by me, in any fashion, I assure you . . . I don't know what to say beyond, "Gosh, thank you for telling me."

      Be well.

  2. I absoloutly love your art , you are really good and I strive to be that good one day . Love the post too as always . we missed you for a couple of days , glad you are back .

    1. Speaking of art! I promised to scan one of your envelopes for my friend next door. He and his sibling think you're a really good artist. And I agree. They still offer to get my mail, although I am well and quite capable of getting it. They like the mail art, and are Anna's number one under-ten fans. :) Now they've discovered you. Congratulations.

      I forget to schedule posts when I cannot manually post. Not that I have much to say, but posting becomes habit. My mother hasn't been well. She's in Houston now, so . . . Thanks for thinking of me. And thanks for your mail! Three letters from you! Wow. I'll catch up when I can.

      Be well.

    2. Goodness, no! Strive to be your personal best. You have your own style and unique way of seeing.