I have had a fever for over a day, rather high, and lost a lot of time. But I did accomplish my goal, which was to send the 47 postcards that had been matched starting Friday. Will I go this far to deliver the post....pretty close! Linda was gone down to Seattle to deal with Best Buy and it really goes slow without her.
There had a been sent a gift of some art and history photo postcards. I try to send out any gift postcards that seem to have a match with one of the over 500 people The Postcard Project has and does send postcard to. I do that because with my memory it makes it so that I don’t go, “I know the perfect person” and end up sending the postcard given BACK to the person who sent it the very next week.
I want to talk about postcards and what they mean to me, but also what they don’t mean to me. There is the Postcard Project and there is me. I am Dr. Elizabeth McClung, ex-bookstore owner, winner of 10K’s for 2007-2008 (second in 2009), ex-epeeist, world traveler, writer, and individual with a terminal disease. But I also do am in charge of the Postcard Project, a free sending of postcards to anyone who asks.
The Postcard Project is a entity of a sort, of which I dedicate a great deal of time and much of my finances and 60%+ of my waking hours each week BUT it isn’t Elizabeth McClung.
Here are SOME (about 60%) of the postcards for the postcard project. Each box in the picture holds between 400-900 postcards, and each book or box has another 22, 48, 60 postcards. Yes, it is several thousand postcards. While a few are gifts (and great ones), 99% of the postcards are bought, often individually by me for categories or individuals: Yaoi, Yuri (girl with girl), cute anime girls, childrens, couples, families, nature, different types of art. And yet there is so many postcards I need that I don’t have, high quality postcards from Oxford, Cambridge, the major libraries of the world, airplanes, old steam locomotives in action, old ships, Cruise Liners, Exotic yet cute animals for children (about 50 per mail out, which occurs every 6-7 weeks), good goth postcards, goth anime cards, erotic anime cards, working horses particularly horses like Clystales (sic) good anime pictures representing the number of children in a family, anime characters with dogs, and (anime) women on motorcycles or race cars just for an example.
Each book, each section in each box is chosen for a reason. Here are: A German Calendar like the one on my wish list, winter travel ads, Fairy Pictures by Thomas Nene, E’S postcard book just arrived from Japan that weekend since it has anime characters with dogs (out of print), Nouveau Posters and a great postcard book I stole the title from Wendryn’s wish list, the out of print and expensively collectable Earth from Above. I paid about the same for that one postcard book as I did for the art book of Africa from the wishlist for Linda (That Africa art book which is out of print already and was selling for $175). I say that because I want people to understand I take this very, very seriously. Because to me, someone asking for a postcard, actually reaching out and willing to take a risk, a commitment to me, to start a relationship, to entrust me with their interests is a SACRED TRUST. Each section and postcard book is important because there are postcards inside for one or more REAL people, and each person is important.
These are from the Earth From Above postcard book which is like an artbook, oversized and as week passes the art book disappears. In postcards, with the great postcards, there is only one postcard of this image.It is up to me to figure out who and when it should be best be used. There is only one of this postcard that I can afford and who do I send it to, who will benefit from it the most.
When I send out postcards, as I did with the 47 postcards we did this weekend, and when I stamp them and when I sticker them, I believe that at least one of those postcards will make a difference. Indeed I KNOW that one of those postcards will make a difference, will remind someone suicidal that someone cares, or arrive on a birthday or anniversary of a person where all else have forgotten, or remind them that there is an ‘out there’ that matters. Without breaking any emails or messages to me, due to what other have said publicly, at least one person has said that without the postcards, or the arrival of a postcard, they would have killed themselves, they would not have made it. So many people are falling without anyone to catch them. I don’t know which postcard matters, but that is why I am willing to push myself into fever and collapse because after knowing that, I cannot take it lightly.
Do I feel that I am WAY over my head, that I am grappling with something that is too big for me, and my energy levels? All the time! Am I going to give up because of that? Hell no!
There is something beautiful and tactile about a postal relationship. I am fortunate to have some people who write me regularly, and I write them because to have something which not only shows that someone cares about you but the unexpected possibility of what it will say, what will be shown, what comes next.
I believe. In each person I post to, I try to get inside the mind of what would give them the greatest solace, the greatest joy, the most enjoyment, the most peace, and some inkling that they are not alone. I believe in them, I believe wholeheartedly that they are a person worth knowing, that they are a person who has a life of choices in front of them. So, for example the Thomas Nene postcards shown only came with the 2008 Calendar and I had to find a dealer of the calendars and negotiate a way to purchase only the postcards. I do that because each person’s interest matters, to them and to me.
Here in the German Calendar is one week’s picture, some penguins off of the shores of South Africa. Sadly, from the Amazon Wishlist no one got the Cuba or Islands Calendar and now, out of stock, there are only third party sellers who won’t sell outside of the EU. Usually I try to do a couple mass mailings of postcards warm islands during the coldest of winter, which for the Southern Hemisphere would be in the Spring/Summer here. I have to keep remembering each hemisphere, like sending postcards of winter getaways during the heat of the current Australian Summer to try and make it seem a little less hot. So I have one picture of penguins and when it is gone, that is it, it is gone. Who gets it? When?
Here, from You’re Under Arrest, an anime postcard book which is long out of print, is one of the many oversized postcards of women with cars, or motorcycles, both in demand but both difficult to find. I get the books when I can find them at a reasonable price as this is the second book of You're Under Arrest cleaned out with only about 12 postcards left.
Here are some specials from the popular Anime/Manga Fruits Basket, they are plastic imprints with stickers of paper to put on the back to make it a postcard. This set, collectable and out of print was 600 yen ($7.50) when sold 2-3 years ago. But they will make someone really happy to get. Sure, I like to pay $1 or less a postcard but for something that a person could really use or want I have paid up to $6 a postcard. Then there are the stickers, and the wooden backed rubber stamps, the ink, and then the postage. The 47 postcards I (and Cheryl) finished brought the total to 3,560+ postcards for the project.
But after ALL of this, there is the Postcard Project and there is Elizabeth McClung. I mention this because Elizabeth McClung is a person in extreme pain who needs to survive a terminal disease and I am going for double overtime (go team terminal!). I, Elizabeth, currently need daily caregiving, which is provided by Linda who needs breaks every week since just tonight I hurt my wrist, had a small seizure, overheated and ended up face down on the keyboard (really makes for an odd blog when there is a page full of NNNNNNNNNNNN). I have two new expensive medications, and while over the weekend every apartment below and beside me moved except the one which moved in recently on the right, we stayed. We stay because we can’t afford how the ‘construction of new condo’s' has driven rent prices out of range by a couple hundred (plus few are accessible). We also got a notice, as a reward for staying, that there would be a rent INCREASE of $50 a month. Seriously. Oh, and as a New Years present my Canon Camera went Kurplunk! A $99 repair fee. So will be doing this blog without camera for a while.
I mention this because the Amazon Wishlist, HERE covers things like a) my immediate medical needs which we cannot afford even if I will be in trouble without them, like probiotics or food dishes (I have had only one dish to eat out of for over a year). B) things that help Linda deal with the stress of being a full time caregiver like a romance for .74 (if you get from a vendor that doesn’t remove from the wishlist, can you let me know please so I can take it off), like CD’s to listen to as she drives to do all the chores. C) Items which help Elizabeth deal with her disease, from books to read in the bed or bathroom when stuck in either (I wish the library did carry these! And delivered!) and DVD’s to watch when unable to move in the evenings or for a day or more.
Wait, that's not all! D) Postage for the postcard project. As you see here, there is postage which has pictures from our adventures on it to add to the postcard experience. We ordered the .44 plus the picture costs before Xmas (had a deal), and the .98 oversea ones just before the New Year (got another deal). But still, that is about $2,000 in postage stamps. Ouch! And also E) Notecards to go with gifts. See, I also send gifts, to friends, to people who send gifts, to people I think could use a pick-up, to people to remind them that they ARE a special person, to individuals to remind them that there is random goodness in this world. We estimate I sent about 65-80 packages before Xmas and 250-400 during the year. I sent six this week and that was a slow week. Each of those need a notecard to write to the person, letting them know about the gift, reaching out to them, having a chat. That is 400 notecards.
As it happens, with the 47 postcards we sent, they went to every continent and subcontinent except Antarctica. If you know someone in Antarctica who would like a postcard, I would love to send one. I WANT more people to request postcards. The only limitation right now on the postcard project is ME, I just can’t do as many as I want to, as I am quite ill and COST since doing 91 postcards in one week is another $50+ in postage to find. But if there is someone who needs, who wants a postcards, of course I want to find the one which will make them happy, which will give them comfort. If you are into rare and exotic planes, or flying, and want postcards of that, then that is what I will try to find. That is the purpose of the Postcard Project. Depressed about post-Xmas blues, then ask for a postcard, that is something in the post which isn’t bills or bad news. If you are sight impaired, if you get sick from certain colors, if you have ASD issues regarding words or images or know someone who is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, or a child who would like a postcard, and have specific requirements, then let me know and ask for a postcard.
That is The Postcard Project. And yes, I still would love donations of postcards. Just ask yourself, if I got this, if a friend got this, would they think it cool? Would five friends want postcards like this, would ten? Yes, there are boxes of hundred of postcards that there just isn’t anyone to match to. Sometimes postcard books are good because they are specific, like ones on close and high quality owl pictures, while others, for example on Children’s Book art from 1905 are not because a) Children don’t know the art and don’t want it, and b) Adults who get the books tend to do so because they collect those books so I can’t send it to anyone. Does that make sense?
Oh gosh, that was a lot for the Postcard Project so why don't we do most of me later.
However, I am a wee depressed because most of the gifts I got this Xmas/Winter period were postcards (and I have a VERY small collection of personal postcards). So first off that is a gift for the Postcard Project and not to me, so on the Xmas week Elizabeth got ONE package, and the Postcard Project got Four. Second, it is my vocation. So if you work at an office, would you want everyone to get you boxes of paperclips for Xmas? “Hey Happy Winter Solstice!” note on a stack of post it notes, next to the 40 boxes of paperclips, and 10 printer ink packets would kinda suck, right? I understand that terminal Beth is a complex person, and I also know that times are tough. If you WANT to give a gift, I recommend either the wish list OR, a gift certificate from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com of $5 or 5 pounds can make a difference. I get a lot of DVD’s from the UK as they are cheap, the VAT removed pays for the postage and I don’t have to pay duty. Plus I loved The Fixer (UK series) and am Waiting for The Fixer series 2 to come down in price. Plus gift certificates allow me (the US ones) to get books and stuff on the sly as gifts for Linda. (Please have UK and US Amazon or Akadot certificates sent to my email: mpshiel at hotmail.com) The same with Akadot gift Certificates or donations at a Girl's Gotta Fly toward the Yaoi Club (where I get the art for the blog, and discounted manga books, as low as $3 for a new book).
That is sort of the inside look on the Postcard Project and Elizabeth. It used to be just a small part of what I did, but as my energy decreases, making sure that people out there are not feeling abandoned is important. Yes, I know that I can’t be there for EVERYONE, but who do I cut? How do I cut? As Linda tells me, “Making yourself sicker, making your time shorter for what?” Yes, for people who over 90-95% of the time I will never hear from. And who, once the depression, or crises has passed will leave and I will never hear from again. That is success, to be redundant. Can you imagine a world where everyone was there to help or support people, to look for the lonely, and the alienated? Where all the exhausted, the chronically ill will be cared about. A place where the Postcard Project has no need. That is my goal.
But while I pour my energy into that, Elizabeth, the very ill individual still needs to survive from day to day. Does that make sense?
Ah yes, the Plan! Well it goes like this. I am planning to lasting until Sakura-Con on April 2-4th (To Sakura-con and beyond). Sakura-Con is good because it has films, and demos of Japanese arts, Cosplay but also goth loli fashion shows, the various martial arts are displayed and there is a gaming center for people to play...for free, against each other. That is months away I am told and so I was hoping that people who live around this and nearby states might want to meet up there. I would love to meet you, and I hope to go to Sakura-Con (I just missed the deadline for one of the early registrations, darn. Linda will be blogging about fundraising since there is sharing a room, the gas, costume funds and fee to get in. But it means I am within striking distance of some readers who might want to come and watch a Ghibli film with me, or watch a martial arts demonstration or go to a guest lecture or just wheel around the exhibitors hall looking at the cool loot on sale. Or just people watching, as I want to dress up, and Cosplay probably, don’t you? And take pictures of cat girls, gender bending, and LOTS of characters from archers to the meeting of the Naruto's. The Con is one of the biggest so a GREAT place to practice your Japanese (as people from Japan fly over), or meet the translators of various manga selling at the tables. Also pick up a few bargains to try in the $5 or $3 a manga box. Plus, we can hang and talk and you can watch me turn funny colors. Plus see Linda in a corset! More next blog post!
4 hours ago