What Matters to You?

Another morning feeling like I’m struggling to keep my head above water, another morning of Writing to Transform from UNCW – which thankfully helps me keep my head up.

This morning was “Send Word” with Anna Lena Phillips Bell, and the purpose was to inspire us to send postcards to connect with family and friends.

I started a Postcard Project during the pandemic where I wrote a few lines of a story on a postcard, mailed it to a friend, and had them write the next few lines. An exquisite corpse by mail. It’s still going, even though that Instagram account has tapered off because social media can be a struggle. Maybe the Postcard Project is something I should transfer to this blog…

Anyway, I like my exquisite corpse by mail idea, but I also love Anna Lena Phillips Bell’s idea of sending words of encouragement and connection to others. You don’t have to be on vacation to write a postcard. Since you have limited space, don’t say “I’m sitting on the porch thinking about…” Just jump right into the thoughts, the feelings.

Participants shared a lot of blips of memory that made me think of some writing prompts, almost a continuation of Aimee Nezhukumatahil’s Monday session. But those descriptions also made memories come back to me, experiences I shared with friends that I might not be in regular contact with anymore. And I thought of describing that moment to them on a postcard, and how they might feel reading it. Comparing their memory with what I expressed. How it might make them feel to see the memory, to see themselves, through my eyes.

The session ending with a brainstorming session to list things you’re looking forward to. Most weren’t specific instances or events, of course, but more things to do every day to keep your chin up. Phrases of hope and inspiration. And I can see how these would look on a postcard, and how they might make the reader feel.

The session was inspiring and brought a breath of fresh air to my writing mindset – I can write without it having to be a story or a poem. I can write to share something with just one other person, and it will matter. I’m grateful to have a stack of blank postcards and a coil of stamps. Keep an eye on your mailbox.

Published by Allison

Allison Renner is a writer, librarian, and photographer. She has a passion for telling stories through different media.

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