Friday, November 02, 2012

Why 23 postcards matter: Or is the Joke on me?

I sent five postcards to people who I don’t know at all: email requests. Eight postcards were posted to people I haven’t heard from in a long time. One postcard to ask someone I haven't heard from this year how they are.  Seven postcards to friends, people met only online through Screw Bronze.  And two postcards mailed to individuals who lifted me up with the postcards they sent, a message to hold onto through the pain, muscle degeneration, and fatigue.  Postcards I hold while suffering.  23 postcards sent on Monday.
Some of the postcards are from a book I can’t replace, another from Sakura-con two years ago, and others from Japan. Some of the postcards are from a book I can’t replace, another from Sakura-con two years ago, and others from Japan.

The stickers for decoration I had bought at fairs and collected over the last 18 months.  The stamping was finding some Halloween themed stamps.  It was fun; Painful in the doing and recovery, but fun!  I sent postcards I would have loved to arrive in the post.  The message: I value you as precious.

It took me about 25 minutes each postcard to make, decorate and write. Time well spent. Does it help to know I laughed and smiled while decorating?
The last few years have been hard, for almost everyone I know. People lost jobs, homes. We are only now able to hold even, with no savings, and scared. I am weak, and often cannot lift or move even my head. I just lost 24 hours, going to bed and thinking I was getting up in 8 hours, I lost a day. Only, so weak, unable to move, with the fan blowing on me to cool me, I have had my tongue split apart like chapped lips. In the center, inches long, my tongue split because my body is too weak to make saliva, and too weak to turn my head.

So, to spend the energy, to find and search for the best could be a huge joke on me. 95% of the messages I send out, I will never hear back. Which means, using the limited funds, resources and energy to spend 25 minutes on someone I will never hear from again could be seen as foolish.

I want whoever gets a postcard, and they are sent: five one week, three another, ten the following week, and now 23 postcards, to people who I hope understand, that I care about them.  Yes, I am in pain and I am afraid, but I act anyway.  Because when all that comes into a life are bills and notices and junk mail then getting something that says, ‘I like you, how are things?’ will matter.

If it doesn’t matter, then I am a fool. The joke is on me because a few thousand postcards in a sea of hundreds of millions who are isolated, alone.  Or with social messaging, I am a redundant act from decades ago.  I have dedicated myself to tilting at giants, like isolation, depression, companionship, and human connection.

I will keep sending, and I’ll reach 7,000 postcards sent soon enough, if I live long enough. There is still beauty. I want to share that. If you want a postcard, email me, and when I am not ill, I will send you one. I can’t do much, but I can do that – though it takes the hands of many friends to help me. 


Neil said...

My dearest Beth: You are a dreamer, sweetie. I see you as a Don Quixote figure, tilting at windmills. And you should definitely NOT give up your quest! The world needs more idealists and dreamers like you. You see the good side of things, and of people. You had a goal; you attained your goal, and you set a new one. I see nothing wrong with that. At the very worst, you're a harmless eccentric, and at the best, you're a shining example of selfless giving. If the post cards matter to you, they matter. And there's no joke being played on you.

Speaking of post cards, I got a Huntley and Palmers Biscuits post card from you today! Thank you, dear. I KNOW how long it takes you to creat one,; I can tell from your writing that the effort is harder than it used to be, and I appreciate the effort you've made to send me a card. It will be treasured, as are all the others!

You wrote that you took the Sask Hotel limo the the Science Centre here in Regina; that's a 15-minute walk from our house, and I was there tonight for a meeting of the local astronomical society. Very few geese around today though - it has snowed hard, and the streets are terribly icy. The bus ride home from work was slow, and the bus was running fifteen minutes late. because of the ice and snow

I would love to see photos of Linda in goth gear from her halloween at work!

Thank you for the post card, Beth. You are a wonderful person!

Love and zen hugs yet again,

Tina Russell said...

I got your postcard! It was really lovely and lifted my spirits, thank you!

Heather said...

I happened across your blog while searching the web for postcard decorating ideas. Your postcard designs are very cool! Here's hoping you get lots of postcards in return for all your hard work :)

Anonymous said...

it matters and its a grand thing you do


Alex M said...

Thanks so much for the latest postcard. It's really wonderful knowing that someone cares, even if we have never met in person! I hope you know I care as well!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks: I just did 10 more and sent them off. Hopefully I will do five more tomorrow.

Without the help of Linda, Cheryl and those who aid in other ways including sending interesting postcards from one part of the world to go on to another, I couldn't send any or fewer.

It seems that cynicism is standard, or expected from some people, but many people I find are as idealistic and hopeful as I, even more so - if we could all get together, I don't expect Utopia, but perhaps a more interesting day, with excitement - bring back the visionaries who made Luminaria for example - our summer festival of 'lights' which ran until 11:30 - with fire jugglers, and everyone using glow sticks or candle lanterns - that was great, and family fun and something I would love to be part of again. (got a bit off topic there, sorry).

Anonymous said...

Cheryl here

Your postcards have brought smiles and the warmth of friendship too many lonely places. What you have done with the postcard project is far from insignificant.

I know receiving a postcard is always a huge boost to any day for me.

Kate J said...

Thank you so much, Beth! I'm reading this post while looking at the latest postcard I received from you, which arrived only yesterday! A lovely 19th century painting of hummingbirds, backed with beautiful stickers including a lovely Japanese flower. Stunning. And so very much appreciated, knowing the effort you put into them. I'm sure I've had well more than my 'fair share' of your cards, but I've kept them all. I can only imagine the effort you have put into them. Thank you, Beth.
With love and peace

JaneB said...

Hey Beth, one finally wended its way to me via the mysteries of the US and UK postal systems - a lovely picture of Petra and a priceless message from you on the back. MUCH appreciated. Sorry to have been quiet lately. Still thinking of you, my friend

JaneB said...

Hey Beth, one finally wended its way to me via the mysteries of the US and UK postal systems - a lovely picture of Petra and a priceless message from you on the back. MUCH appreciated. Sorry to have been quiet lately. Still thinking of you, my friend

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the postcard,, I do enjoy them-but I grieve the toll it takes on you.. dont hurt yourself for me dearheart- save the strength for battles to come.. your efforts are marveled at and cherished and you are much loved

hugs to you both

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the postcards.. they always seem to pop up on a dark day when needed,, I grieve at the cost to you though.. your efforts are appreciated and you both are much loved

Linda McClung said...

I think this lot of postcards are the most beautiful you've done. Great job with the stickers.

Like Neil mentioned, I see that it is more and more difficult for you. It sounds like many people enjoy receiving the cards.

And I enjoy playing a small part in making that happen.