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 And then it will be all about you.