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Old 12-19-2012, 04:16 PM   #1
BenBanned
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Pen Pals

Just wondering if anyone does this or has in the past.
Many of my favorite authors were prolific letter writers, I imagine its less common these days with so many cheap/free modes of communication.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:29 PM   #2
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Never had, but maybe if one of my fans starts writing me I will reply.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:59 PM   #3
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I often write to myself (but I don't always reply ). Does that count?
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:02 AM   #4
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Not so much as an adult but when I was a kid in school we had pen pal programs. Once we had some balloons filled with helium and we attached a note to them and sent them aloft. As I recall my pen pal had just as bad handwriting as I did at the time. lol. That was way back in the late 70's or early 80's.
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenBanned View Post
Just wondering if anyone does this or has in the past.
Many of my favorite authors were prolific letter writers, I imagine its less common these days with so many cheap/free modes of communication.
They wrote letters because that is the way they communicated.

No phone. No text. No email. No social media.

I will say that much is lost now days. When a letter was penned, there was careful thought usually put into it. First you wished to present yourself favorably, to impress, and secondly you wished your words and indeed your very thoughts and mood that you were impressing onto that piece of paper to "influence."

Today, there is just a rush to "send it out."

Then there could be days or weeks between letters.

The other thing that was lost is the art of penmanship. My mother had a beautiful hand, much as you will see in the archived samples of penmanship from long ago. It was "graceful."
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Old 12-20-2012, 11:34 AM   #6
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I used to when I was a kid, still got most of the letters I got from writers and musicians though I have sold a few when times were hard(er). I doubt anyone will bother now, it's a lot easier to get an email address than a postal one.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:49 PM   #7
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I had a few pen pals in other countries when I was younger, mostly sponsored through school. Then, in college I exchanged letters with an amazing girl from Japan, whom (who? darn it!) I had met when she came to our high school as part of an exchange program.

That was in the 90s; we had email and, before we graduated, the WWW, but Kyoko and I still preferred to write old fashioned letters. She got artistic with hers, and would illustrate the margins with scenes from her life. She was incredibly talented. When she graduated college she became a professional artist.

We lost touch around 2000 or so, due to us both moving around a lot and never having the common sense to exchange email addresses. I still have all her letters, including some that she wrote to me in Japanese, even though she knew I couldn't read them. She told me when she sent them, "If we meet again I will translate them for you, or perhaps in the future you will learn to read them yourself!" An associate translated them for me a few years ago; turns out the letters in Japanese were elegantly-stated observations about our friendship and how much it had meant to her, especially when she was lonely on her exchange trip in America.

Being pen pals with her was a great experience, and I feel like I really learned a lot from her. It makes me a little sad to think that pen pals aren't really "a thing" anymore. It was such a valuable experience for me!

Wow, thinking about this has made me miss her. I think I'll try to track her down. I'm sure she must have a web presence somewhere!

Edit: Well, I have quite a challenge ahead if I want to find her. Not only does she share her name with a semi-famous soprano, a performance dancer, and an expert on China, but I would guess that she has married and changed her name by now. The only hit I can find that is identifiable as her is from 1998, when her art was published in a book. Oh, dear! Well, it shall be an interesting hunt, at least. Onward!

Last edited by Skibble; 12-20-2012 at 07:32 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:49 PM   #8
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[...] The only hit I can find that is identifiable as her is from 1998, when her art was published in a book. Oh, dear! Well, it shall be an interesting hunt, at least. Onward!
Oooh. Are you are writer? Sounds like there could be a book in that.
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:12 AM   #9
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When I was a kid I wrote back and forth with Judy Blume
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:17 AM   #10
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Oooh. Are you are writer? Sounds like there could be a book in that.
I do write for fun, so there may very well be! I've already had a friend fluent in Japanese hit the major social sites there; she is either heavily underground or she has indeed changed her name due to marriage (or perhaps another nefarious reason). Our next steps are to try to check out as many artists as possible with the first name Kyoko, and to try a facial recognition program to find potential online photos. She had a unique facial shape and way of smiling, so I am relatively confident I could verify her identity in a clear photo, even though she will have aged. Of course, if she got vain on me (doubtful; she was very down-to-earth and realistic) and had plastic surgery, all bets are off.

Jhempel24, how did you end up exchanging letters with Judy Blume? That sounds fascinating! I loved her books as a child.

Last edited by Skibble; 12-21-2012 at 01:17 AM. Reason: Le Bold Font
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:23 PM   #11
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My handwriting is abysmal, so it would't be a good experience for my pen pal!

I suppose I could write and print the letters and send them that way.
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Old 12-27-2012, 03:45 AM   #12
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Well, twenty years ago in China, we made pen pal friends by searching the ads put on the middle fold of a newspaper, I found one pal, and thought she was a teacher after several letters, her letters were kind of a poetic style. In the end, it turned out that she was a student in a middle school when we finally met.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:53 AM   #13
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I often write to myself (but I don't always reply ). Does that count?
that's what my journal is FOR! Writing to myself
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:55 AM   #14
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When I was a kid I wrote back and forth with Judy Blume
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:31 AM   #15
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Jhempel24, how did you end up exchanging letters with Judy Blume? That sounds fascinating! I loved her books as a child.

When I was in elementary school we had to pick an author we liked to write a letter to. The teacher then made sure it got to the right people. I loved Super Fudge back then so it was her. And she responded, more than once. It was pretty neat. I think my mom might have the letters still. She kept pretty much everything lol.
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