Here’s a different-to-the-usual holiday gift idea: The PenPal Project. Write a letter, get a letter…and name a friend or family member to whom I’ll send a handwritten original poem.
Introducing The PenPal Project a season ago, I wrote:
An original poem, beautifully handwritten and delivered by mail, is the very definition of tiny joy. (At least, it is for me.)
The project includes a sliding scale for poems: pay what you can. $1 is great. $50 is great. No one should want for poetry—or gifts for their loved ones—because money is tight.
Drop your letter in the mail in the next couple of days and it’s likely to get to me within a week. (At least, if you’re in the US.) I will do my best to get your loved ones’ poems out ASAP, with a view to arrival before the end of December. I will write *you* back, too—although that might take slightly longer.
A surprise poem in the mail is equally good for birthdays, congratulations, consolations, and that lagging post-holiday blah that sets in after January 1st.
I’m in the US, but I happily send letters and poems overseas. They might take a little longer. And they will have cool foreign stamps on.
The specific poem I send is my choice, but two caveats for this purpose:
1. You are welcome to give me some guidance about who your loved one is or what they enjoy (hobbies, landscapes, vocation, favorite books, favorite colors, etc).
2. I like to select from my unpublished poems, because I think that’s a neat connection to have with a writer. But if you have a favorite, ask for that.