Saturday, August 15, 2009

'I get nothing but bills in the mail' Part II: choose fun!

There is something comforting about a postcard. I have several by my desk, some full of neat handwriting and some full of stickers and images and each is comforting in their own way: that someone would share themselves with me makes me want to share myself back. And when someone works to find images to make me smile or be happy, then the world really isn’t AS scary is it. Even if it is Where the Wild Things Are..
We invested in some more stamps, and on a restock order I managed to get a stamp from the book classic, Where the Wild Things Are. And Cheryl got some Edward Gorey stamps: Edward was a man who not only had a rather odd sense of humor but also loved cats and books (he also did the Tony Award winning design for the stage presentation of ‘Dracula’), so ‘our kind of people’. Stamping is about you and about us. The three of us often sit around and debate what the best stamps are for an individual, if they have had that already and what to use to keep a theme going. Making the ‘you’ in our minds happy makes us happy. One of the things that has excited me this week is getting my Nancy Drew mystery note cards, which I now send out. I love seeing the old covers of Nancy Drew, with Nancy (who was always getting knocked in the head, which must have been why she couldn’t figure out who did it as quickly as I could) and her female friends George and Bess (who come to the rescue). Two different Supreme Court Judges as well as several first ladies have cited Nancy Drew Mysteries as formative influences – contrary ideas of femininity (which oddly doesn’t include thinking ‘Is it really a good idea to listen so close to the door that I get caught again?” – poor Nancy, go George!).

I like these reproduction covers but also the art in silhouette that a reader had sent to me, making it the perfect mini art canvas to mark: Good things in here.

The color diversity of Hiroshige whose woodblock prints of the 1850’s and the viewpoints mark him as an exceptional artist. After making an original drawing, wood blocks were carved for each color application. Hiroshige was also noted for ‘bokashi’, the wiping of all ink between prints (which we try to do as well) and at the end the print was dusted with ‘kira’ (mica power) which gave the colors a glittering effect. Here is one of the postcards we sent out from him. That picture seems very different than 'just bills.' Particularly when you realize that Vincent van Gogh owned several of his prints. So you are in excellent company when this comes through the letter box.

Of course, for the young, and the young at heart, the spring and summer (and all year round) is the time of young, like these fox cubs. It is hard not to like the young of the different mammals, though I don’t know if fox cubs get colic.

I have a thing for retro, which includes books, I hope they are here to stay. Though I know that the computer has helped me greatly in my disability and impairments, I love books. I love the smell of them, as each paper has its own smell. I love the touch of them. They are a sensory experience. And I like gramophones. I have a small room full of gramophone records from signed opera arias, to scottish humourists, to early Elvis Prestley. And I play them on my gramophone with the shaved thistlewood needle which has to be changed every 10 to 20 plays. Also it is portable, and great for a picnic as all you need is a crank (what do you mean “They have invented this thing called the battery”). Cats, books, gramophones, gee is it hard to believe I owned a used book store? And dare I say it, 'Life is Good' or can be, even if just for some moments.

I’ll finish with this lovely scroll called Isle of the Immortals which I just like to look at. Personally I think it looks a bit hard climbing and not wheelchair accessible at all, but fun to look at. And that is the point. Fun. Postcards can be fun. If you want something more than bills, if you want fun and history and art or motorcycles and travel than write me at mpshiel at hotmail.com with the title postcard and let me know what you want and what address to send it. And have a bit of fun when the postperson comes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

"It is the only mail I get besides bills": get a postcard!

“It is the only mail/post I get besides bills.” That is what people have written to me not once by dozens of times about getting postcards from the project. It is common knowledge that most if not all of your mail, bills and junk mail is from some computer spitting it out of a database, and bulk mailed out to you and thousands of others. Makes the post from something fun and exciting like when you were a kid to something boring to downright scary.

I ask that you allow me to change that for you. For example, this is one of the postcards I sent this last month, how about getting that in the mail? Of course unless your mom gets the mail for you. But that sure isn't a bill now is it, or boring? But too much? Okay what about getting one of these in the post? Each postcard is different because each person is different. So you COULD have post/mail that treats you like an individual, so every back of the postcard looks different. One looked like this. But that won’t be the back for YOU, because you are different. And so is every postcard I do. I want to get a special postcard to you whether that means sending a plastic fish postcard or sending your special postcard in an envelope so that your parents/the postal service don’t see what it is (done regularly). It is all about the individual!

The cost: Nothing. That’s right, no cost at all. All you have to do is ask,(send an email to mpshiel@hotmail.com with the title 'postcard' and your address and interests) and a postcard should be there in less than two weeks in your mail slot, your mail box, your post box. Doesn’t matter what continent because I send to them all, so if you read this in Afganistan, or Tunis, in Labrador or in Costa Rica, then let me send you a postcard, please? Seriously.

Low: 18, High 92: no not weather, but the amount of postcards I did each week. This month I was ill. Will I ever be so ill I can’t do postcards? Linda and Cheryl probably thought I was too fatigued to do over 30-38 postcards in a weekend. But this weekend, despite having food poisoning, I set a new record of 92 postcards. 92!

First off, I would love for you to write me at: mpshiel@hotmail.com - say you would like to get something INTERESTING in your postal box instead of bills. And if you are having a tough time, or lonely time or just want to know someone is thinking of you, rooting for you, then doubly so: I want to be that person. Let me send the postcard.

Second off, I would love if you, AFTER writing to get a postcard, you find in your apartment, local museum, find some postcards others would find INTERESTING (astronomy, illuminated manuscripts, goth, knitting related, old maps, things from museums and of course, cute animals) send them to me, and I will send them out for you to other people who want a postcard, or send them out yourself to people. I am at:

Elizabeth McClung
P.O. Box 2560
Port Angeles, WA
98362
USA

We do postcards for children. We LOVE doing postcards for children: for 1 year olds, for 3 year olds, for 5 year olds. We got these postcards as a gift (if the card is so ‘cute’ that I break out into a rash it is good for a child) and now we are out. We get postcards from California and send them to London, England, get postcards from London, England and send them to Japan, then the ones from Japan we send to Australia, and the ones from Tasmania and South Africa we send back to people in California and the USA.

We do postcards for teens, we do postcards for tweens and we do postcards for couples. Want to have a postcard come for your girlfriend, then LET ME KNOW! Okay, or tell someone so they get a card, or request a postcard for someone. All I need is the address, and some interests and if it is a girl/girl, guy/guy or girl/guy couple. And if the girl wants a girl/girl postcard (and so does the boyfriend) then say so. I am the secret confessor, tell me your desires for cheer and if it possible I will send it to you.

It is true that I am on a limited income and a few select people help with the cost of the postage of sending out the postcards. As for me, I spend time getting the postcards, but also I spend about 30-50% of the money I have to get new image rubber stamps, to keep things fresh, so while a month ago, these were the images. After finding, buying, waiting for them to come and searching out each and every image only using two to three high quality companies, we have this showing some of our new stamps. But you won’t get to see what we have until you ask for a postcard. Heck, ask for a friend, or let people know on your facebook. Facebook is great but at the end of the day, so is something like a postcard to examine in detail, something from a person who found it just for you. Both are good. So why not try both? Or tell people on Facebook that there is a person who wants to send them a postcard, whether it is rare illuminated manuscripts or baby bobcats for their children.
It is not just the stamps, it is the stickers, and people send stickers to the address above as well. And not just any stickers but 3-d animal stickers for children, couples stickers from different anime shows for couples, a strip of an anime in film format, and everything from Kimono’s to Hello Kitty stickers from Japan, or Boots the Cat. We buy them, we have some people who MAKE them and send them to us and then we send them to you.

I post to singles, to people who don't get out much, people at college, people in prison, in halfway houses. Girls or guys who have just moved out from home, I'd love to send you a postcard. And I really post to people with impairments; heck, I have an impairment, a disability, an illness, and I know well that it kinda sucks at times. And a postcard would be cool. This postcard is my down in the disability postcard, because that is how you feel after a while. Everyone else is getting flowers and you…you get the stem.
I send postcards to guys, to MANLY men and have things like mountain bike riding and eagle feathers on them; we have postcards that make guys thump their chest. Ug!!!! I send postcards to crafters, to knitters, to people who are on etsy. So bring it on. Just ask.

Something beautiful, isn't that what all people deserve? I think so and I try to make sure that the beauty you find most valuable ends up with you, like these Japanese rare tapestries.
Do you love old books with sort of not quite correct covers? So do I, so while this postcard would probably not get past the censors to the troops overseas (I send postcards to troops overseas, know a vet, know someone serving that might like a postcard....let me know!), it is perfect for someone who collects old pulp paperbacks.
I don't care about politics, I don't care about religion, I don't care about the level of impairment or disability. If you need me to change how I write, let me know. If you want a postcard that is tactile, let me know. If you want a postcard in one colour, or just in black and white due to your neurological diversity, then let me know. Colourblind? Not a problem. Sight impaired? A slight slow down but no, not a problem. You want only nature, only green, only the sea, only blue just tell me. You want a card with a Christian, a Hindi, a Muslim, a Wiccian theme, I will do my best to make you happy. Want manly men, want gentle men, want just a garden where you can mentally take a break, I can help. A stay a home mom? A person who just wants 'something pretty'; Just email.
This month I will pass having sent out 2,500 postcards to every continent and subcontinent except the poles. But the only card that matters is one...the one I am am going to be making for you. To give you a smile...because everyone loves a puffin!

If you want to help with the postage, either send the 'forever' or overseas (.98 cent) USA stamps to the address above or click on the 'Girl's Gotta Fly' link and email Linda there. She and Cheryl organize the paying for the stamps, so I can find the postcards, so I can find the stickers and new images from rubbber stamps to put on the postcards. They, and the people who help them allow me to bring a bit of inspiration and the 'other world' to individuals, delivered through the same mail slot as brings all the junk.

This next month is going to be great. And I want you to be part of it. Because you can. If you are a Member of Congress, if you are an academic, a teacher, a student (fine, I am a Ph.D. too - Dr. McClung), if you are an artist, a programmer, a fan of anime, of manga, who hates anime, doesn't matter. If at the end of the month you say, "The only mail I get are bills" then you made a choice. It could have been a postcard. All you need to do is ask, or if you don't like asking, then please do me a FAVOR and send the email. Why NOT have a pleasant surprise in your post? Or at mail call? Seriously. Why not?