Friday, February 18, 2011

Be happy doing nothing: Nothing Matters!

Nothing Matters! It is so true, if I can be at peace with ‘Nothing’, then it matters: very zen! Emily the Strange: Philosophy and Goth in one.
Postcards are fun, in case you didn’t know. They are fun to look at, they are fun to send, and they are fun to get. In the UK film series, Shooting the Past, there is a company that houses pictures, hundreds of thousands of pictures, and the pictures connect things, create stories, connect stories, connect history.

Someone asked on a comment, “Where do I get the postcards”, some are donations, though most donations of postcards are postcards of not high enough quality to be used. But mostly it is finding them, and buying them one by one. And to do that, after I have to make personal relations with individuals over the net, so I email several times a person in Japan which sells me a set of Ghibli postcards, which are only for sale in Japan, and now not in print. Where DID I get that postcard of women trying on swimsuits made out of wood? Yaoi postcards come from collectors, or from the companies themselves if I have a friend I email there. Hello Kitty, again from Japan, while some airplane ones come from the States, from Stamp collectors, or postcard collectors or train collectors, or books, now out of print, of California, or Earth from Above. And thus, one by one do 51 postcards from last weekend get assembled.
There are useful lessons in postcards, like: ‘Try not to have too many undead friends’ or ‘Goth Girls should be nicer to their bunnies’

The postcard is about interests, or memories, or sensual, sexual, identity, loves or pleasing to the eye, or mind, or to the tongue firmly planted in the cheek.

And the postcard is sometimes about dreams or goals or just places to be that aren’t here and rainy, or snow filled, or hot or dull. Because even living in the place everyone wants to live, like Banff, gets dull quickly (of course your dull 'here' is someone else's exotic 'there'). Like up on the Queen Charlottes, nothing like eagles constantly on the road pecking at road kill to make jogging difficult, “Shoo, you bald eagles, shoo! Oh great, here comes some more deer.”

These days, most days, I am good at nothing, which means I’m not lazy, I’m just practicing my philosophy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What you forgot, that a postcard reminds you

I think that people forget that they are unique and special because of that. In our society where so much, even waiting in line for checking out groceries, we are treated the same, it is easy to forget all that we have to share, and all that experience which is ours alone.

I was asked ‘where do I get my postcards’ and the answer, which took weeks in figuring out is ‘one at a time, the best that there is.’ Most postcards I have are unique: I go and find and buy a postcard or postcards, because it is the best postcard I can find, the most perfect postcard I can find, the postcard that will please you the best. When people want Fairies, I sometimes send Nene Thomas postcards: except Nene Thomas didn’t make postcards, but if you bought the 2006 calendar, they had a few in there. So I spend about 6 days searching and finding vendors who specialized in Nene Thomas or calendars and emailed and bought some postcards and had them sent and within 2-3 weeks, I had them. And that is how I got 20 postcards. And that is what I do 1/3rd of my day, with 1/3rd of the income I can make selling my books. Because someone needs to remind you, with an imagine landing on your front door: you are a unique and special individual, and one worth knowing.
It is easy to forget, particularly as December seems the busy month to remind ourselves much less others how important they are, and how important they are to the people around them and in their lives.

I was sick a lot of December and didn’t send many each week, but I sent 20, then 30, and 60, and a few more, so 115 this month. But the people I sent too were also sick, or busy with children, or busy with trying to keep up with society and friends and family even though they might have had a chronic illness from depression to fibro, chronic pain, or fatigue. And in all of this, I wanted to let them know that I knew how hard it was some days, and how much they tried. I knew all of that and I admired and respected them for that. And so for them, I always send the best: the best postcard, the best decoration on the postcard and the best custom stamps as possible.
Even when I am ill, and even when things are hard, it matters to me to keep sending the postcards. I want to make sure any who reached out to me, who take a risk like that emotionally, get a postcard from me, someone who wants to know more about them, someone who thinks they are interesting. Life, or the bustle of it can wear us down, or give us illness, or make fighting our illness harder. I hope these helped 100+ people remember that to me, they way they try, the way they reach out in caring, all in so many aspects about them they really are a person worth knowing. It is easy to forget that we make a difference, and easier to forget to look for ways to make that difference.

In risking to reach out and share that you really care and hope that they have a good day, and write you back, you risk and I risk exposing myself emotionally. And when only three or five postcards return from those who are written to, it is easy to feel hurt. And often I do, but that doesn’t mean that the message is wrong, it just means people need to remember more than ever that they are kind and caring, and reach out to others, and that is part of what makes the important to me. Each person has unique enjoyments (which I try to match a postcard to), personality and experiences that can be used to remind ANOTHER person how THEY are important, and unique, and so it continues. That is my hope.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An elegy for all the paths we never took

As you trust me, so I trust you.We have to choose one another. That is the path we take...or not.

The Postcard Project has one objective: to give you (completely free and confidential) something tangible to hold, to see, to feel, to remind you that all states of experience, you are human, I am human, and that is enough. That if you trust me in this, I will not fail, I have not failed over 1,000 people. Regardless of age, of creed, of location or country – if you can read this post, if you can email me somewhere to send, then I will reach you. I will keep trying until I do.
What happens once the postcard has reached you is up to you to decide. And decide again, since until I cannot, I will reach out again (with my partner and sister helping).

There are times of love, and joy, and celebration of being female,being male, being your identity, being in love, being alive, being sexual, and sensual.
The postcard is fantasy, it is encouragement, it is a companion against loneliness, it is a smile between friends. It is what you need it to be. Sometimes that is adventure, and courage.

And to know, really KNOW that post/mail is coming, that someone knows your name, and a little part of you, and cares about that part can sometimes get you through.

Why? Why at 400 postcards did I keep going until now it is between 5,000-6,000? Because in life there are things we control and things we do not control. I wish I could stop the isolation people feel. I wish I could stop the violence against minorities, against women, against LGB people and the extreme violence against openly T people. I wish to stop all that hurts and seperates us. I wish people with disabilities were integrated and valued in society, that ALL human experience was valued and incorporated into our society in an equal way. But this is not the world we live in...yet. I can't control that, I can control caring and sending (go Astro Boy).
They say something about making a light or cursing the darkness. For me, no matter what is taken away from me, I can continue in this course, to hopefully help someone believe that life doesn't suck ALL the time. That is the joy of giving, and giving things that are fun, and amazing and wonderful.

Whatever postcard that would bring a smile,that makes your life a touch better, whatever postcard you need, or want to see, if I can send it, I will. It is a promise I have kept for three years now, I think. Or 1,000 days for 1,000 people. Because I cannot wait for the world to change for the better, I must change it.

An excerpt from a song by Lars Winnerback (translated)

For the shadow above the garden, where the sun never shined
For a silence between the walls, that cut through cement
Two pair of eyes in emptiness from September to advent
For a man that went to work, like nothing had happened
For the women that said that everything is broken, everything is burned
Now nothing would ever be like before
If you know loss, I can be there a little, not to erase it, simply to be beside you. If you know being alone and alienation, I do as well, and will try to lift you up with something special. If you know joy of first meetings, or the happiness of life going well, I know this as well. I hope the postcards you get are the postcards you need.
An elegy for all the paths we never took, a celebration for all those we did. (that's me boxing, or getting hit by the heavy bag: is that courage or stupidity?)
Because if we didn’t – how could I have met you?
Singing the song Elegy, Lars Winnerbeck and Anna Ternheim. Ask for a card, just email me (mpshiel at hotmail.com) and let me know, about you and what you would like. And you will have something to hold too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The postcards, the stickers, the stampings: it is all about you.

I would like to say the over 1,000 postcards waiting to be matched is because I have OCD. But no. I do have OCD, but it isn’t about postcards: the postcards are entirely deliberate.

I met someone who asked how it was going, ‘that postcard thing?’ as they had not seen me for two years, ‘I think it was a couple hundred.”

I said half sheepish, half proud that it was now over five thousand four hundred postcards, all free (sent free, no cost, no obligation). Not because this is a non-profit organization, but based on a simple observation: a tangible card coming in through the post slot, or in the box is far better some days than a ‘tweet’ or a ‘twitter’. Because the message and postcard is specific to you.
The postcards I send are collected, decorated and stickered according to one particular person’s taste: you.

So when you get a postcard, or request a postcard and it shows up, you can know that from the selection of the postcard to the stamp, the rubber stamp decoration, and stickers, and writing has traveled through many postal systems to get to one person: you. It is all about you.
The second observation was that when you are disabled, or housebound, or lonely, or busy, or really almost anyone: you don’t get a lot of personal post/mail. So I simply ask, “Do you want some?” (click on the picture to look at 80+ postcards sent out, to 80+ individuals - one of them could be to you)
We went on a road trip earlier and visited the redwoods and Yosemite and we picked up lots of postcards there. These are the large oversize postcards, including one poster sized postcard that went to a grade school class. Schools, Orphanages, prisons, universities, residences, hospitals and anywhere else you either want to request a postcard for yourself or someone else, I send a postcard there. And I keep sending as long as I can.

Every postcard that I, my partner and my sister stamp and decorate is one which we want the person on the other end happy, amused, pleased, curious, or fascinated. Often stories will have themes, like gothic postcards might have a gothic castle tower on the back with vampires and creepy children lingering. Or there might be a delinquent youth/uni student, who is not tending the baby, and stressing out the poor mother back home. We have active imaginations because we work through the night often, so after several caffeine drinks, it can be a little ‘woah!’ when one of us is “Yeah, I’ll have a plane crash into a air balloon and then have everyone bail out in parachutes! And below I’ll put hungry wolves, yeah!” – so if you get a postcard and go, “What the…?” That might be a 5:00 am postcard.

I match cards for goths, for secret goths (working libraries and universities, and health care, and all sorts of jobs), for anime/manga fans, for fans of sexy girls, for fans of pretty boys who like each other a lot, or girls who like each other a lot. We do a weekend of matching cards just for teens and under, which is adventure, animals, travel, and looking cool. Of course, I also send animal postcards to non-teens/kids. When someone goes, "I like...." (Rhino's, Octopus, Elephants, Bears, Koala's, Lama's, Cats, Dogs, or other animals) I try to find the postcard that has that (for example Escher did a couple drawings of cats, both math and cat lover!), like Orca's for example and some decoration that matches it as well.
When people send us postcards from around the world, whether that is from the poison garden or from the animals of (insert continent here), or stickers of animals, or famous cultural/historical places - they all go out, as soon as possible. Along with Fairies, Steam Punk: Alice in Wonderland Steampunk even, and whatever excites you. Because at the end of it, I put it in the post and it goes to you: so it is all about you! Unless you donate postcards or stickers and then your gift helps someone else feel it is all about them.

The world can be a better place, a happier place, and if you want to be a little more intrigued, or stimulated, or curious at how my mind interprets your love of architecture, then email me for a postcard (mpshiel at hotmail.com). And then it will be all about you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Over 5,000 free postcards sent but it is 1 that matters (the naked woman with sword?).

Over 5,000 postcards have been sent out now, one postcard at a time, well more like 33, or 48 or 64 postcards at a time. But even with slow weeks it is still above 125 postcards a month, which is not bad. I want to post here every 2 weeks to update what has happened in the last two weeks (so the postcards I talk about have already arrived).

I have been busy and ill, ill and busy. It is odd that the more ill I get, the less energy I have to do things (I think this has to do with increasing gravitational pull or the shift of the moon, no other explanations come to mind). But because I value with a burning intensity the post which comes to me, I know that others must as well.

I used to believe that ALL people had the exact same loves as me to the same degree: they loved Underwood Typewriter No. 5, books they must own even if they put them aside to read, the interesting language usage of the Victorian writers, (“Stop my dear!” Fredrick ejaculated, “The plum hat with feather clashes with your taupe bustle”) and of course, dark chocolate. I have discovered, with the hundreds of different requests that there is not only diversity in the human mind, there is diversity in the human desire. As I burn hot for Japanese Edo stationery sets with Hello Kitty, others love just as much cute animals, Japanese Washi Paper, and singing pop stars.
I have oft wanted to throw out the title ‘The EFM Postcard Project’ and call this, ‘The Clearing House of Human Desires.’ I, along with my partner and sister find and create postcards which are often one and only, some gifts from others who have received postcards, and try to stuff them thematically with all that is interesting , a postcard creation which says, “Hey, this is some kick-ass postcard made by a real person”. (Choice #2: “The Kick Ass Free Postcard Project”). When you request a postcard, send an email to the address in the header of this blog, but if you can be general, or talk about what you like I can try to find the ‘right’ card for you, since so many cards are one-offs, meaning, I only have one (like the naked sword woman - pixelated breasts for blog!).

For example, when a reader goes to Patagonia and gets some postcards of Whales from the tip of South America near Antarctica, I might know JUST the person who would love that. But once I have sent these, they are gone. Even if you email me and go, "Send me one!" I can wheel to my bed or the bathroom, getting to Patagonia to get more postcards – BUZZZZZ! Not possible! So please give a couple options: “I like classic film actors like James Dean, I like black and white photos of the 50’s and I like the colour puple as well as automobiles and motorcycles.” – that I can send you several postcards so I can send you postcards as often as I am able. If instead I get: “I like aqua blue shaved male heads, lighting hitting power cables and the disappeared ship Celeste” – I can tell you….you are getting a nice nature card. Because I don’t have those three things.

We have LOTS of subcatagories, like ‘animals in nature’ or ‘forests’ or ‘Twilight related postcards’ or ‘Somewhere wild’ or ‘Tropical and beaches’. For example, the waterfall shown here is for me, one of the most beautiful pictures of South Africa, which I had to order from Germany to get. I love that image. I want to find the image you love too.

I not only decorate the front but also the backbased on your interests, your sexual orientation (or inclinations, like ‘beautiful androgynous boys’ or ‘fairies’), and what might make you happy using wooden stamps, rubber stamps and stickers. Some of the stamps I need my partner Linda to do because I don’t have the hand pressure to get a great impression or the ability to do a couple colours. All three of us LOVE sending you new and fun stamps on cool postcards.

You know that woman who goes, “Won’t someone think of the children!”? Well, I am like that, without Linda holding me back, I would stamp and match all night and day for days, because I keep seeing another person who could use a postcard. “I can’t not send one to THEM.” (so if you change your postal address please let me know, as getting them back ‘return to sender’ really, really, REALLY sucks).

The more you write to me, if you send me cards or a letter, the more I know what to send you and the more I know YOU. So it gets easier to know that you would like a woman with a pen because you are writing a novel. Or that you like steampunk and I could give you a steampunk postcard, or the lonely beautiful boy in winter, as having your isolation articulated is what you want. And if you like yaoi or furries in military or certain war uniforms, well, I find them, I get them and I send them. It is a part of what I do.

Sending postcards is hard some weeks, it is fun some weeks, it is part of what I do not because I have profit sharing in the US postal system (though I WISH I did) but because at the end of every postcard is a person. And doing something for someone that is thought out in love, and about them: that is cool. I don’t get a lost of post, a postcard or two a week, a letter or so, but I send out a lot of post/mail every week. So maybe like me, you get a postcard that week. Wish I could have 40 people sending you post, but I can at least send post to 40 or 50 or 65 people. Yesterday it was 50, fifty people who get post this week who would not usually. That's the postcard that matters, the one that comes for you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Battered not Broken. Never give up! You are NEVER Alone.

I made a promise: that I would keep sending postcards to anyone who asked, free of charge until the moment I died.

I’m NOT DEAD YET! I may be battered and bruised but not broken, I lost sight of the forest for the trees, I got down, I felt alone….I was a great candidate for the postcard project. The truth is, I have a disease which, had I known what was coming a year or two ago I would have said, “I can’t do it, I just can’t.” But I would have. The last 300 plus days, I live because of planning and will power, and I hope to do so for at least 100, 200 days more. We do not know what the body is capable of, not until we are tested. We do not know how to run a marathon, until we run it.

The one thing I know is that I was never alone. And I was always alone. I had Linda and Cheryl, and the many friends who keep me getting up every day, who help me, unknowing, when my arms are shaking during a transfer and I fall and say, “Well, let’s try take 4!” I am not alone. You are not alone. The postcard will come to remind you, that no matter how alone you feel, you are not alone. In this there is power.
We find joy, we find happiness in small spots of sunshine in a spring or autumn day. Care and love show us that we are loved. The question is, will you allow yourself TO be loved? If the answer is yes, then ask for a postcard. Email me and ask for a postcard. I was sick and post went out. Postcards are being matched now.

A little Yaoi stickers and the tree of fun, for females who like yaoi/gay/slash fan fiction.
Want fantasy? Want goth? Yes, I send that. Free.

Are you gay or lesbian, transsexual, transgender, queer, intersex, open relationship, tri-relationship or multipartnership and want a postcard? I have got a postcard for you. I love this femme uke, (I so want PJ’s with ears now!), who knows who he is, girl’s hair bands and feminine snuggle and all. I love the two female who show they love, bisexual or lesbian, you love who you love when you love. And I have a post card for you.

A little light bondage, a little goth, or do you want science, do you want a single strong image for your Autism, I do that.
The innocence in Anime? The savagry in Nature? Do you want to see the world created, the universe, the sun, the solar system or anime for your family, for your children, something maybe just for you. I do that. Request a postcard for you, for your family, for your lonely child away, for your misunderstood loved one. As long as I live, the postcards go out. That is what matters. The numbers do not matter, whether I have reached 5,000 or will reach 10,000 does not matter. Your postcard matters. Your daughters postcard matters. Your transitioning child’s postcard matters, your gay/lesbian/bi/trans/queer friend’s postcard matters. Your cosplay, ren play, camp, burlesque, kink interests matter. Your knitting and love of books matter.
What is harder to believe? That someone out there, who has never met you; who will NEVER meet you is going to spend hours to make sure you get something that makes you happy, and they are doing it for free? OR that you deserve it?

I have a couple thousand postcard waiting for you to ask for one, tell me your interests and let me surprise you.