Papa Llama


How I fell in love with letter writing.

When was the last time you had a pen pal?

As as kid I spent my entire summers at my grandmother's in the wilderness of Japan. My best friend, Kiki, and I would constantly write each other during those months. Sometimes they were long letters, sometimes full of random doodles (they still are today), but I loved writing them and couldn't wait to get one back. Even now, we still refer to stories we told through those colorful pieces of paper many, many summers ago.

Fast forward to me getting this thing called a PHONE. Which has been cool and distracting, but the way we've all been using it these days makes me feel like I'm dating someone extremely superficial and/or commitment phobic. Quick texts messages have replaced beautifully written letters. Hell, quick texts even have the option of even quicker and shorter emojis. And now I don't even have to text, I just talk into it and it sends it over, my thumbs are out of a job!

A few years back, I had an old friend move to New York. We've been friends for like 15 years or something ridiculous and always kept in touch, but we decided it might be fun to become pen pals. Sounds cool bro. You write here and there, I write here and there, we'll talk about the weather and what's happening on our coasts. No problemo.

What I wasn't expecting was that I had just signed up for a letter writing EXPERIENCE. And before I knew it, I was obsessed with the long lost art of correspondence. I noticed I wasn't on my phone as much. I found myself interacting with my surroundings a bit differently, looking at things with clearer eyes, colors seemed brighter, and I felt more present with my world. My morning coffee meant time for me to practice my penmanship. Topics of conversation didn't end in 3 texts but spanned for weeks, creating layers of ideas and inspiration. Waiting for the next letter became a time for thoughts to marinate and new ideas to surface.

Technology has its advantages, it has made the world smaller, more accessible. I appreciate that I can send a quick picture or text to my family across the planet but my soul missed the art, depth, and magic of writing letters. Having the personality of the writer really shows and makes me feel like they aren't so far away. And really, are you going to print out that great email you received?

When I had a retail space that was accessible to the public, I had dedicated Saturdays at the shop to letter writing.

LETTER WRITING SATURDAYS was an all day event I would host every Saturday where anyone could come in and write a letter. We had paper, pens, envelopes so all you needed to do is bring in your coffee, pull up a chair, and write. It was a space for everyone to get in to the habit of writing letters.

The new studio is great, but without public access, Letter Writing Saturdays are on hold. So, it's up to you to keep letter writing alive! Do you have a time set for writing letters? A favorite spot to write? How has letter writing impacted your life? Feel free to email me and share!