Send a Letter | 25

I’d forgotten the surprising delight of receiving a handwritten letter in the mail.

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Episode Transcript

This is The Good List — I’m Tsh Oxenreider.

I’ll be honest — I can’t remember the last time I wrote someone a letter with pen and paper, put it in an envelope with a stamp, and had it delivered via good ol’ snail mail. But my friend and fellow writer Shawn Smucker is excellent at this. He makes it a regular practice to write his fellow writers regularly, which means as of this time when I’m speaking to you, I’ve gotten two surprise letters from him over the past few years. And they’ve been a delight. And both times I’ve received them, it’s made me realize how much joy and surprise I could bring to someone I care about simply by writing them a handwritten letter and mailing it.

I love that while most of us are stuck at home, we’ve got the beauty of technology at our disposal to connect with each other — texting, social media, Slack, email… these things I usually find little more than a necessary evil have become genuinely useful to helping me feel less alone these days. But I’ve also found myself drawn to some of the simpler, more — quote — ”old fashioned” practices that people have used for much, much longer in human history, like gardening, as Jacqui and I chatted about recently in episode 23, and like a work of art I’m going to recommend to you soon in an upcoming episode. I think this comes from the same place where lots of people right now are into baking bread. We’re craving simpler, a bit slower, a bit more connected and grounded to a way that feels more aligned with our soul’s pace of life.

This is letter-writing. So I’m going to write someone a letter this week, just for fun, just to say hello. Low-pressure, without the need to say anything monumental. Just a simple “I’m thinking about you.”

Don’t wait until you have perfect stationery, either — notebook paper is fine, or make it yourself with magazine scraps or kids’ drawings.

Basically, the point is to connect with someone analog-style in a way that’s possible right now. And hey, it does double-duty by supporting the postal service. We need them to keep the lights on, and this is one way we can help.

And hey Shawn: thanks again for encouraging so many of your writing friends with your letters. I guarantee you it’ll be one of your hallmark legacies.

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Hi Tsh, my name is Kylie and I’ve listened to your show for a long time and The Good List just always makes my day better. We are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-9 pandemic currently and one of my favorite things on my good list is a mini trampoline that I just purchased, originally thinking that it would be for the four children that I am now newly homeschooling and they just need to get some wiggles out. I have actually been using it even more than they have. It has been such a fun way to just pop on a podcast in the mornings and hop around. I feel like it just like gets a lot of nervous energy out and it’s also been great because I set it up in our playroom where there happens to be and I told the kids that if they like to watch the show, they just have to rotate through taking turns on the trampoline. They’re also burning energy while watching the loads more of screen time that they are having in their lives. But anyway, I just wanted to throw it out there and see if it helps any of your listeners who may also be in the same situation trying to find extra ways to move around. Thank you again for your show. We are all so grateful for you, Tsh.

A little reminder that if you haven’t yet, to sign up for my free weekly email called 5 Quick Things, where I share 5 things I either created or loved from the week. Go to fivequickthings.email to sign up, and you’ll get the next weekly email that goes out on Friday mornings.

I’m on twitter @tsh and sometimes on IG @tshoxenreider, and you can also find a transcript and the show notes of this episode, and all episodes, at thegoodlistshow.com.

And don’t forget to leave me a voicemail or send me a voice recording, telling me one thing you’re doing to stay sane during your quarantine and social distancing. Leave me a voicemail at (401) 684-GOOD, which goes directly to voicemail; or, simply record your voice and email the voice file to hi@tshoxenreider.com. Just state your name and where you’re from, and what’s one thing helping you get through this right now. And we may feature it here on the show.

Music for the show is by Kevin MacLeod, and thanks, as always, to Caroline TeSelle and Kyle Oxenreider for their help, as well as my furry intern, Ginny. I’m Tsh Oxenreider, and I’ll be back with you in just a few days — thanks for listening to The Good List.

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