InCoWriMo

Paper and pen

Yeah, I’ve got the supplies, but . . .

InCoWriMo stands for International Correspondence Writing Month. The idea is to write and send a letter every day in February. I suspect it’s little more than a Hallmark event, the kind of thing drummed up to sell more stationery supplies. Even so, I am planning to participate this year.

Why? Mostly to practice cursive writing. I have a mental block keeping me from writing, and I am hoping this will get me over it.

As for the marketing aspect, I am already too far gone. Last winter, I stumbled on a fountain pen online store Goulet Pens, and fell into the rabbit hole, so to speak. I’ve since bought multiple pens (from $20 to over $200 each, though they go up to $5k and more) and a lot of different-sized notebooks with different style paper, as well as pen cleaning supplies and other accessories (from places like Galen Leather) I had no idea existed. Even worse (or better?), I’ve wrangled Kazu into the whole fountain pen/good penmanship thing, so I get to buy inks and pens and paper for him, too. After all, it’s always more fun to share an obsession.

But it’s also like purchasing a gym membership, not going, and wondering why you’re not getting into better shape. I buy the pens, the inks, the papers, the ancillary supplies . . . and use them to practice writing. I have yet to write an actual letter. (I’ve tried to start writing a diary of sorts, but that hasn’t really taken hold either.)

Which brings up the other thing about InCoWriMo: every time I think about writing a letter to someone, I am afraid they won’t know what to do with it. What I mean is, I picture them being shocked, like, saying to themselves, “What the hell?” I know that once upon a time it was normal to write letters about mundane things, and I even wrote a few. But now . . . there are a hundred ways to communicate the mundane. And, yes, maybe too many people do it to the point of distraction on Twitter, Facebook. etc.

But the point is, social media is where we go for information. And it is so much easier to write for everyone than it is to write to someone. The idea of writing a letter to a particular person, communicating so directly, so intentionally, seems almost intrusive.

Will I ever get to the point where writing a letter is a normal activity? Do I even want to? I don’t know. I’m just hoping having to face that blank page every day for a month gets me somewhere beyond where I am now, which is feeling like I have nothing to say.

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