Friendship, Letter Writing, Pen Pals, Uncategorized, writing

Letter Writing, Pen Pals & Friendship

Maybe some of you are thinking why am I doing a blog on letter writing ((I’m intrigued… actually I’m not, it’s just not many people interact with your blog so I thought I better pretend – thanks to those that do – you keep me alive)) A few things have happened lately that have made me think about writing letters again. I volunteer for the Newark Book Festival ((do you?? Like the whole world doesn’t know – get over yourself, you’re not a flipping Saint you know!!)) anyway, as part of this I’m helping out ((quick someone call the Pope and get her a Knighthood)) it’s the Queen that gives out those actually. Ignore brackets – I’m helping out at a Letter writing event at a fabulous café in Newark called Carriages café – check it out online, the décor is beautiful. I will put the info at the end for anyone that wants to have a look.

This got me to thinking about my letter writing years. I used to have a pen pal at school – I think she lived in France – this faded for a reason I cannot tell you. Then after leaving school, I made friends with some girls who lived in Spain, and I was pen pals with them for while – again I’m not sure why that faded.  Then when I moved to York and ended up working at Argos over the Christmas period – which mainly involved rocking up after a night out with a hangover, somehow managing a shift, back home, get ready, go out again. Oh, the days of youth. I’m sure my liver still gets the shivers when it thinks of those days. ((what the heck has this to do with letters?)) don’t be impatient, I’m getting to it. So, whilst working there, I worked with the brother of a guy out of The Seahorses which has no relevance to anything ((every week, it’s like this is your life)) there was another guy who I got on with really well – mainly because he swapped shifts with me so I could sit on the tills with a hangover, rather than work in the storeroom . When he moved away we became pen-pals for a while. I moved to Derby and eventually, we lost touch. ((I’m sensing a theme with your pen pals… maybe someone killed them all! Hey, that’s a great story idea – which is totally mine so no nicking it. If you write it, I want all the credit, and I want someone really cool to play me… I will have a think))

After leaving York and moving to Derby, I remain to this day pen-pals with my housemate ((hurrah, finally)) although I must admit that we might just do a bit more WhatsApp messaging than letters these days. But, this is something I’m going to change. I don’t know about you, but I love receiving a letter. So much effort has been put into it. That person is not distracted by the outside world. They are giving you their full attention, and there is something rare in that these days. I’m a multi-tasker. I can have 10-12 conversations on messenger, text, WhatsApp, outlook, twitter, Facebook all at the same time. ((like you have that many friends!)) I like to think that I’m giving them my attention, but it cannot be the same as writing a letter. This is something I’m looking forward to exploring in the workshop during the festival weekend.

As well as the event at the festival a friend lent me a book, which I had to share on twitter due to the fact that she had folded over the pages… ((sacré bleu)) quite brackets! We will try and gloss over this, as so far the book is brilliant, and the author talks about letter writing. The book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – halfway through and loving it so far. If you’re a ‘creative’ person looking for some inspiration or guidance this is the book for you.

Some questions came to mind whilst doing this blog; ((why are you such a know it all?  Will you ever shut up?)) Are the various communication tools available to us nowadays the reason we don’t write letters anymore? Is it because the more things we have in life to make life easier and quicker, we actually convince ourselves we have less time? Does modern life pressure us into doing more than we can – is that why so many people struggle with mental health nowadays? I don’t have the answers ((well folks, I’m surprised – she doesn’t have the answers – new one on me!!))

I think I better shut up now. I’ve realised that since I sat down to enjoy a glass of fizz, listen to music and catch up with my blog, I’ve waffled my way through over 700 words in less than thirty minutes – that must be a record for me.

Right I will sign off, the details are below. If you fancy tagging along to this event, get yourself signed up and I will see you there. Or let me know your pen pals/letter writing hopes/plans.

((hang on a minute. I haven’t decided who’s playing me in the movie of my book… it’s tough but it will have to be Brad Pitt, although I would also like to consider Kit Harrington. But then again there’s that woman from killing eve – what’s her name… Jodie Comer, oh oh oh and her from Luther – Ruth Wilson – they are badass baddies. Maybe we could have all of them in it, then I could audition them and pick one to be me. This cast is a total winning combo… who survives… you decide. Not sure who I would have my money on?))

Alright, enough now we’ve gone over the thousand-word mark now. Right, that’s it. I’m about to get ready to head to Jersey this weekend to celebrate my birthday. Jersey is one of my fav places and I was going to talk about locations in books this week as I have used Jersey in book two of my psychological thrillers, but as usual, I’ve got side-tracked. That will have to be another blog…

Have a good one folks.

The Letters Page – The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Friday 12th July, 2pm – 4pm, Carriages Café, Newark Castle Train Station
£10/ £8 Festival Friends including refreshments

Fall in love with letters again in this interactive writing workshop. In an age of email and instant messaging, letter writing is almost a lost art, reserved for sentimental notes to loved ones or long-standing pen pals.

The Letters Page, a letters-based literary journal edited by the University of Nottingham’s Jon McGregor, takes submissions entirely through the post; whatever fits into an envelope is considered for publication.

Members of the editorial team will host this workshop to help you think about communication, correspondence, and the art of writing in general.

Presented by the School of English at the University of Nottingham.



2 thoughts on “Letter Writing, Pen Pals & Friendship”

  1. I’ve just discovered your blog and really enjoy your writing and humour, so thank you for your posts!
    I have thought of how penpals and pen-to-paper things have kind of died off over the years and miss it, even as a young person, which I find is rare.
    Thank you for the book recommendation


    1. Thank you for your comments, really nice to hear that others enjoy them. There is something so nice about receiving a letter – our local library is looking at exploring this more. Might be worth looking at something similar at your library if you’re interested in finding a penpal. No problem – i’m sure you will love the book. I also read one called ‘how to get a grip’ but that is more to the point 😳 i really enjoyed it.


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