All posts in Mail

Silent Type 3, and bonus wall collages

It will be a small zine, smaller than the last one perhaps, dimension-wise, so there’s going to be some serious restrictions about the content submissions. Got to think this one out more. Nothing happening yet, just thought I’d throw that traffic jam vision out there… but that said, who’s in? Can I get a witness?

Here are some crappy photos (why don’t I ever take pictures during the considerable part of the day where there is natural light in the room?) of two wall thingies in my office, one of them a cork board collage, and the other a shadow-box, of things typospherian. Surely some of you mail art types have something similar, yet vastly superior, to share.

Vintage office sticky notes, mail art, self pity

Here’s Cavallini’s sticky notes, they have lots of other stuff, some typewriter-themed.

Know that I’m reading your blogs, and apologize for not commenting for the last week or two, I’ve been reading on a smartphone during middle-of-the-night baby monkeyshines, and have not yet mastered the art of thumb-typing in microscopic forms with a virtual keyboard while insanely sleep-deprived.

There was some other footnote I was going to add, but I totally forgot. Worst. Pencast. Ever. (Brought to you by Lamy Safari medium nib and Myndology ring-bound notebook)

Vintage airmail stickers from Laughing Elephant

A couple of years ago, I bought a packet of vintage airmail stickers from a Portland art supply store. There were 46 stickers total, and each one was a different design – no duplicates. They’re great – I’ve been using them on letters and such, but I was down to just a few remaining, and so decided to hit the Laughing Elephant web site the other day to order another set.

Now, there’s lots of cool stickers on the Laughing Elephant site; Monda would love these, for example. And gosh, some of you sci fi nerds would be crazy to pass up the world of tomorrow set. But! No vintage airmail labels to be found online. Surely some kind of administrative oversight.

I called the Laughing Elephant customer service line to ask how to order them, and was given the harsh news:


Apparently for some time now! Aaaarg! My mind returned to the scene of the initial purchase, where there was a small bin of them by the register of that art store… I should have scooped up all that remained when I had the chance! Where is a world of tomorrow time machine when you need one?

Just then, the guy on the phone said that someone, on hearing of my despair (My exact words were, in fact, “noooooo!”), dug two remaining packs out of the warehouse… the last two.


However, if you suddenly find, like me, that you can’t live without vintage airmail stickers, there is a very cool-looking handmade set on Etsy right now. Check out the plush typewriter while you are there.

Mail art: you have to have a system

I resolve: more mail art

I have just been looking through Good Mail Day again, and reminding myself of the greatness of the mail art movement. One of my several random resolutions for 2011 is to become a better paper correspondent: a few you have sent me lovely letters and/or mail art pieces to which I am very gradually responding (if you’ve participated in Silent Type, you know that I don’t work fast). I love those letters and I am working on responses, even if it is at a slug’s pace. Tonight I worked on a few envelopes and mini-books, and hope to get some things to you soon.

To those of you currently writing to pen pals and/or sending typewritten mail and mail art, you’re doing an important thing. I once dabbled in the hobby of card making, in which one aspires to make color-coordinated, well-designed cards from new and matching materials, and failed utterly. Here’s why. Making cards in this way is not about communication. It’s merely about visual design (at which I am abysmal). Mail art and letters are working on a different level. They are about remixing and re-use. They are about tactile and visual information. They say something much more compelling and complex than “You’re invited” or “Congratulations.” They make unique human statements entirely impossible to express with zeros and ones.

More mail art in 2011.

A former post about mail art…
And another…

Typewriter pen pals, IPRC, #typosphere

Wait– I meant to say “returned,” not “retirned.” And I don’t think there is an “e” in “roguish.” For the record.

Clarificationcolor>: The pen pal correspondence can be regular ol’ typewritten or handwritten letters, mail art or zines not required (just a fun idea if you wanted to give it a try).

Are you on twitter?color> Let me know, I want to put you in my Twitter list:

Good Mail Day
A Treatise on Pedestrianism
My original visit to the IPRC
Twitter #typosphere

Snail mail, human kindness

Above and below are Silent Type thank-you cards from Jonathan & Helen, and Cajun Cleary, respectively, and I wanted to use them to point out the kind of sincerity and artistry that you aren’t going to find in online correspondence. That’s what the whole typecasting thing is about. (Cue violins.) Preserving some ephemeral record of writing and exchanging ideas. This kind of thing is slipping out of the world–we all know that. It’s why we stubbornly insist on typing our Nanowrimo novels on a 50 lb. SG1, or taking the time to type up an afternoon conversation with a friend. I could link to every last typecaster out there to make this point, which is: we’re all creating a collective and physical record of human exchange.

And with that, I want to aptly end on the typewritten note on the back of Joe’s photograph of the Silent Type magazine, a photographic print designed to last for generations, something that today’s petabytes of e-mails, Tweets, and cell phone pictures can’t confidently hope to achieve.