Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deliberate acts of choice: The project continues

Though I have had to slow down a little (to about 36-40 postcards a week), things are still going ahead. Obviously writing about doing postcards where the recipients have confidentiality and I can’t share any details is a little challenging. But that’s cool because I want the people who ask for a postcard to know that first off, they WILL get one, and second that anything they add to help me find the right postcard for them is totally confidential.

I will say that every batch of postcards I send out have some that have been donated by readers. Some are also sent with stamps sent in by donation.

A while ago, I made an appeal on an anime trading site to please BUY anime stickers for the Postcard Project. Due to this I was able to increase my diminishing box but also, some people asked for my address and a week to weeks later envelopes of stickers appeared. For all of these people, I am limited to thanking them because they not only help the postcard project continue but encourage me to keep going. I hope thir acts encourage others that deliberate acts of kindness and caring still occur. There are a LOT of good people. And that they act, knowing they will never know who will get their card, or stickers or what effect it will have, says something about them. Good people.

The truth is I would be stuck without the donations of postcards. Because while I am GREAT at finding postcards of anime, and of artists, and animals, that's it!

But someone who sends me a postcard from a sight in Texas, I turn and send to Australia, and someone sending me postcards of Australia, I send them the UK. Then when a person in the UK sends postcards of a UK artist, I send those back to the USA. Often the ‘right’ postcard comes from someone who will send in a postcard (or batch) and I go, “Wha?” when I first open the package. Like, "Who am I ever going to send this too?" But then I realize, “Hey this would be a perfect card for…” an host of professions from a retired minister, a bookstore owner, a lover of motorcycles, to someone with a farming background, a legal background, an architect or an archeologist (by the way, I just listed either my previous jobs or the jobs of my family members, so no, didn’t give away any info!).

I write postcards in the same way I write a novel or short story. I try to get, with what information I have, into the mind of the person (um, not character, I remind myself, REAL person!) so that I can create a visual and written story which is most effective to them in saying: 'I hope this makes you smile and have a good week.' or 'That is my hand holding yours in the darkness' or 'I really care about you and though we may never meet, I consider us friends.' Or my favorite: "haha, prepare for your mind to be blown away!" (with commentary!) - the Zinger postcard.

If you would like a postcard or know someone who would, let me know. You don’t have to be disabled, you don’t have to be into fencing or read my blog or be anything except a person who would like some mail/post.

Lonely? I am here to send you mail. Alone? Not anymore! It is a long winter but I will be here. As long as I live, you will be thought about and you will be sent mail. There is no charge, if you want to recommend someone you think could use just five minutes of cheering up – then email me (mpshiel at hotmail.com – change at to @ and no spaces) with the title Postcard!

Maybe, as some see it, this is just giving me, a person who doesn't get out and is more and more in bed, something to do. So what! For the people who receive these, or the people who acted, then it is worth it. Because if you emailed me for a postcard, that means you reached out and I applaud that, it is a hard thing sometimes. I will be here waiting. If you care and decide to take action and ask for a card for a friend, or relation or someone you know, then that means you have acted to change the world for the better. Yes...you! For all those who have given gifts and whose gifts have gone out, you also have changed the world for the better. I support not just random acts of kindness but DELIBERATE acts of choice. Yes, it is ‘just’ a postcard. But sometimes a bad day can turn around from ‘just’ a postcard. Sometimes knowing someone cares can make that difference which keeps people going.

I get very passionate about the Postcard Project because I know what it is like both to be in a dark place and not receive anything, nor any act of kindness or caring. But also, I know the wonder that can come from the smallest thing: how a gift of a post with just three words kept me going for over three months. Each postcard is unique, is special and is just for that person.

I want to be there for you. If you asked for a postcard and you haven’t received it, I am both human and very ill, so on bad days mistakes can happen (have happened!). Please forgive me and let me know again. Because I DO want you to have a postcard: several postcards, enough to bring the wonder back to you.

That is this month.