When I was a teenager I had a lot of pen pals. I kept all the letters I received, bundled together with a ribbon. Some of the letters were written on fine linen paper, others were written with different pens using different colours. The envelopes often were decorated with stickers or drawings. Some of the letters were written with a typewriter.
If you miss the good old snail mail days and typewriters, there is a place in Whitehorse where you can go. Tara McCarthy is organizing the second Letter Writing Club with the local collective SMRT Pop Ups at Baked Café.
She teamed up with them in October and held the first event.
“It was a huge success, so much that I decided to hold those events regularly during fall and winter,” McCarthy says.
There will be materials available to make cards and stationery.
“I’ve noticed I don’t take the time to write letters like I used to,” she says. “Previously I’ve exchanged letters with friends and sent cards regularly, but I recognized that I was relying on email and social media more and more to keep in touch. Seeing that I was looking for an excuse to carve out some time to write letters again, I figured other people might be feeling the same way. We all love getting mail—and I don’t mean bills.”
She also got inspired by a stationery store in Vancouver called The Regional Assembly of Text. They hold monthly Letter Writing Club Meetings and provide writing materials and typewriters. McCarthy thought that this could be interesting for Yukoners, too.
“The concept is so rewarding. It can make someone’s day to receive a note from someone far away, so I think it’s great to see people in the Yukon engaged in doing that.”
McCarthy collects typewriters and will provide them at the event. She can’t use them all, so she is happy to see other people typing away at them.
“Typewriters urge you to slow down and really think through what you are writing,” she says. “It was incredible to see people of all ages using the typewriters at the first Letter Writing Party. For some participants it was the first time they’ve ever used one.”
She says that her heart warmed when she heard the click-clack of the keys filling the air.
“Emails and social media are easy and immediate, but there is something so personal and meaningful about writing someone a letter.”
Emails can be printed, but most get lost in the inbox or deleted; a letter can be a reminder of the past.
“I think about times in history when letters were the only correspondence people had, and I think about how important it must have been to receive those notes from someone far away or in danger at war,” McCarthy says. “Letters become loving memories that we can hold on to for life.”
The next Letter Writing Club event is on Dec. 9 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Baked Café.