Letters from Far and Near

It is my considered opinion that nature intended man to hibernate throughout the months of January and February, only awakening around the ides of March, when spring sunshine sets the raindrops sparkling and everything is young and fresh and green (did you know that in the oldest Roman calendar, the new year only began in March? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Romans had everything right). To be forced to rise in the dark and toil one’s way to work in the bitter cold of a winter morning is one of life’s many injustices. It seems perfectly obvious to me that we ought instead to be snuggling down beneath the covers for as long as possible, and then spending the short hours of daylight and the long lamplit evenings curled up on the sofa drinking tea, enjoying the last of the season’s mince pies, and either reading or watching movies.

That being impossible (or at any rate, incompatible with the tiresome business of earning a salary), one must seek consolation elsewhere.

But what, you may well ask, is there to do at this time of year? The Christmas festivities are far behind us, and Easter still too far ahead. February stretches before us, dull and dreary. Interminable, despite its mere 28 days. To be sure, there is Valentine’s Day, with all its attendant panoply of hearts and roses, chocolates and kitsch cards, expensive restaurants and even more expensive lingerie purchases. Fine. That still only takes care of one out of the twenty-eight days.

Do not despair! For those who are so inclined, there is a remedy. For today marks the beginning of International Correspondence Writing Month (also known – quelle horreur! – as InCoWriMo).

And what, pray, is that? That, good people, is a noble endeavour, in these dark and degenerate times, where the email reigns supreme, to revive the all but lost art of letter-writing. It is a challenge. It is the missing ingredient that will add zest to your daily lives. It is the star to every wandering bark. It is, in short, a pledge to write a letter everyday throughout the month of February. To make it more interesting, you even receive letters in return! A full and detailed explanation is available on the InCoWriMo website, which is worth a visit if only for the whimsical picture of an oversized snail, laden with brown-paper packages and old-fashioned mail bags, which heads the home page.

Basic InCoWriMo Toolbox:

  • a notepad
  • envelopes
  • a pen
  • 28 stamps

What could be simpler? For those who want to liven it up a bit, now is the time to use all those pretty notecards, stickers, collectible stamps, and coloured inks you’ve been hoarding for so long! And for those who would like to add some more stationery to their desk drawers, here are a few websites for inspiration…

Ink Drops: Carla and Annastasia send you a hand-written note with any purchase you make on their website. My brother got me their Keep in Touch box for my birthday, and it was full of pretty surprises!

Cressida Bell: Cressida is the grand-daughter of Bloomsbury painter Vanessa Bell, and an artist in her own right. Her selection of cards is truly beautiful!

Rifle Paper Co.: This famous American stationery company has so many wonderful things for sale that the mind simply boggles. I think I can safely say I want every single item on the website.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter to finish.

"Vélin de France" paper by G. Lalo, Paris; goose quill with steel nib; "Rouille d'ancre" ink by J. Herbin.

“Vélin de France” paper by G. Lalo, Paris; goose quill with steel nib; “Rouille d’ancre” ink by J. Herbin.

© Florence Berlioz 2015.

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About Miss Darcy's Library

I love books - buying books, reading books, discussing books, and generally admiring them from all angles (except the e-book). I also love tea, roses, and my dogs, and seldom pass up an opportunity to slip them into the conversation.
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9 Responses to Letters from Far and Near

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    Stationery links! I’m doomed!!

  2. I’m looking forwards to writing my first letter of the month, to one of my favourite cricketers who’s just joined my favourite team (he won’t get it for months, if at all), but I daren’t click on your links. I already know I want everything.

  3. This could cost me a fortune but sounds like the most fabulous idea! I HATE dark mornings more than anything in the world and would live the life you describe for at least five months of the year!

    • How lovely of you to stop by and comment, Miss Bee! Thank you!
      I came across a cartoon today (in French, or I’d share it with you here) that says: “I need a 6-month vacation, twice a year.” It perfectly sums up my state of mind this evening, after an exhausting day at work.

  4. helen says:

    I think I read somewhere about a village in France whose inhabitants used to hibernate properly all winter, but am not certain that this was true and not discredited as being the fantasy of an unscrupulous anthroplogist with a paper to write. I like the idea, though I like your ideas better! It is just WRONG to be getting up in the dark especially if one has no central heating.

    However, I am not clicking on those links… No really…

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