A Memoir in Letters
It started with a simple request by mail. Helene Hanff of New York City writes to Marks & Co. in London requesting a book and Frank Doel writes back. It was the beginning of a correspondence that would last 20 years.
Though the letters were never written to be used as memoir, it's a fine example of how letter writing can, and often does, serve as memoir.
Through a shared love of books, the letters reveal quirky personalities, the hardship of war, and the transformative power of friendship. Hanff's humorous, brusque style and bookseller Frank Doel's polite manner combine to make this a thoroughly charming book ... and quick read.
If you're interested in writing letters but need some encouragement and guidance, check out A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice. I wrote the book after hearing so many people shy away from writing because they were worried about their handwriting, didn't know what to write about, and often, not even sure who to write to.
What if I told you to think about letter writing as a conversation. Imagine you're sitting across the kitchen table from the person you're writing to. What would you say? Write that.
That may sound too simple, but really, that's it.
Inside the book you'll find ideas for who to write to and what to write about, along with a primer on learning or improving your cursive handwriting. Because be it loopy and large or compact and not so large, your handwriting is what people so enjoy seeing. Really.
And if you 're still not convinced, request a real postcard welcome. I'll write to you and you'll see, getting mail feels good.
Because I didn't know what to write about, I stalled as long as I could and focused instead on gathering my thoughts, finding some scratch paper, stationery, a pen, getting a sip of water, and figuring out where to sit.
It wasn't the first time I'd been stumped trying to figure out what to write. That day it was a letter.
It was the day I heard the neighbor's chickens squawking. And it was the day that changed everything.
The squawking was so loud I couldn't ignore it.
I stopped procrastinating (well, not so much) to look out the window to be sure they weren't under attack.
And that's when I knew what to write about ... the chickens.
I wrote about how the neighbor's chicken coop sits at the low end of the backyard. How we like to sit on the back porch and watch them ... as if we're watching a documentary ... chicken TV, I scribbled.
How when one chicken goes in the coop, they all go in. When one comes out, they all come out. And how they peck, peck peck. All day long ... peck, peck, pecking.
No more ruffled feathers
Those chickens changed everything for me. That day I figured out not only what to write about, but what makes better writing.
Stories. Your stories and my stories. One at a time.
It's impossible to cover everything in one story, so you have to choose one thing to write about.
And then make it relevant.
What's the story behind:
- How you learned ________.
- When you figured out _______.
- What happens when you _______.
Can I help you write, edit, or develop a story? Let's talk.
And in the meantime, download your free copy of the Story Inventory and start writing.
Wow, I'm so proud to be able to say my book, A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice, is done. What a great feeling.
It's part memoir, part how-to, and loaded with tips for improving your handwriting and spending more time with the people you love and like best by writing to them.
The idea for the book came about from seeing articles about the demise of cursive writing. Some say it doesn't matter now that we have computers and ask, "What's the point?"
Well, a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology reveals how writing by hand can make kids smarter.
And in The New York Times article, "Snail Mail is Getting People Through This Time," Tove Danovich writes about creating meaningful connections through letter writing during the pandemic.
A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice combines the benefits of letter writing with the benefits of writing by hand in an uplifting, informative, and beautifully illustrated book. The book showcases the elements of a letter, cursive writing instruction for each letter of the alphabet, and the inspirational I Write Letters to Say series.
Do you know a teacher or students who would benefit from the book? Tell them about A Snail Mail guide to Cursive Writing Practice.
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