so where are all my letters? – a perspective
So here we are. It’s mid-February and the annual question begins to arrive ..if there are so many people on the list, how come my mailbox isn’t stuffed to overflowing??
This is a conundrum that has puzzled every participant at some time or another. It seems so simple on the surface and yet the answer is as difficult as finding the glowing Philosophick Mercury.
In an attempt to sidestep mountebanks and charlatans of all stripes, we recently spent some time with a learned mathematician who shed some very clear light on why this might be the case (an empty letterbox).
Put quite simply, there is no way of knowing who will get what. And while it may seem pretty straight forward that a generous volume of mail should be cluttering up our post box; this can’t be assured by the number of participants.
In fact their response ran something along the line of “Yah, it would seem to make sense (pause-beat-pause) but wait a minute (pause again) there’s no way! There are way too many variables! The only way it’s going to happen is if you reduce the variables and then it’s up to whether you want everyone to get one letter or someone to get a lot of letters”.
They then went on to use a great deal of numbers to explain in detail the several legitimate ways you could increase your odds of getting mail. And for anyone vaguely familiar with this way of thinking, you’ll understand that it has to start with a perfect sphere in space. You’d then have to assign everyone who they wrote and who replied to what. All of this making us remember why people think science is no fun.
Knowing this would be a hard sell to people who love plunking handwritten letters in the mail we started pressing for a more practical approach.
It turns out as a modern social media, handwritten letters have their built-in algorithms too. Time tested and proven, they don’t rely on big data and only need a little patience, willingness and a big smile on your face.
And while the complex part of neural networking continues to evade the grasp of science, the hands of letter-writers possess very refined tools for dramatically increasing their odds of getting mail.
First of all –participate.
This simple fact is like actually purchasing a lottery ticket. Instantly your odds increase from zero. And every day you write a letter seems to increase them too. Which explains why so many participants continue to write throughout the year. In fact, many of us have found the most rewarding months of incowrimo are May and April.
Write lot’s of letters.
Sometimes this isn’t possible, and one a day is our goal. But hey, no one’s going to stop you. A prolific persimmon eventually winds up in a happy grove.
Sometimes you just have to ask.
Obviously there is a right and wrong way to go about this, but it is OK to let people know you welcome a reply. Even better, you can offer a reason. A question, a comment, or the chance to share is often a welcome invitation to someone who loves handwritten correspondence.
Offer an invitation.
Letting someone know you reply to any and all letters can open the door to an ongoing exchange of letters that will keep your mailbox full.
Reply to everyone.
When someone has taken time out of their day to write you a letter, taking a moment to respond with gratitude is not only the right thing to do but it also makes the world a better place to live in. No other form of social media allows for this in such an affirming and satisfying way. This is only one of the things that makes writing letters by hand so special.
And finally –Smile.
The more you smile, or even think of smiling, the more relaxed the world becomes ..and the more relaxed, the better the chances that incowrimo will be a pleasurable success worth every bit of your effort.
None of the above guarantees an overflowing post box, nor a gratifying month of letter-writing but they dramatically increase your chances.
Always keep in mind what is easily the most seriously overlooked part of incowrimo ..it involves letter-mail.
This is a process that takes gobs of time. Easing yourself into the idea that letters lack a one-click response can help set up your frame of mind.
Some letters can take six weeks or more to reach a destination and equally long to come back in reply. Your little missive may be making its way through snowstorms, gales, sunshine, typhoons, snarling traffic, harried airport security. Or languishing in bins and bureaucratic inefficiency. Handled by confused carriers and read by someone who may not share your sense of language or humour. It may take some time and thought before the person can write a response. And then it makes its return in a manner similar to how it arrived.
This is truly a marvel of communication. And every bit you contribute makes it richer and more enjoyable so take heart, and pen in hand, enjoy the rest of the month. Happy writing everyone!