Snail Mail Pen Pals!

Recently, I looked into non-internet related social activities for seniors in isolation and I ran across the idea of having Pen Pals! Not email but REAL hand written Letters that cross in the mail!

I was surprised to find numerous agencies that actually facilitated this. Some, not as legit as others, but after a careful search I found a Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pal organization and signed-up.

Hand Written Letters! On paper! OMG!!! In this day and age! WHO KNEW?!?!?!?

So, I made my pitch and hoped for the best!

I am a senior (66) from rural Northern California. I work as a graphic artist in pen & ink, engraving and gilding glass, and also do some multimedia as well. I’m hoping to find other creative people in my age range to exchange cards and letters with through the mail. I have 4 cats, collect inexpensive fountain pens, have a fondness for tea, PBS and Agatha Christie style murder mysteries. I am drawn (no pun intended) to all things vintage from the mid 1800’s to 1900’s. Not interested in discussing politics or religion. Thanks.

I'm very pleased to say I already have 2 potential Pen Pals! YAY! I can't wait to get my first real letter!

If you're reading this and would like to become a Pen Pal - here's my address-

CM Ralph

PO Box 3722

Clearlake, CA 95422


No News is Good News!

This is my third consecutive day having absolutely no news or internet chatter enter my life and I can only describe this feeling as Sheer Joy and Utter Bliss.

I've completely overhauled my daily routine to ensure that the world's affairs stay outside my awareness. When I get up in the morning instead of asking Alexa for the weather and the news I now ask her for the weather and then have her play music from one of my favorite collections. I make my coffee, sit and journal and/or meditate to start my day on a positive note.

In the evening when I would normally turn on the TV nightly news, I instead go around the house looking for small repairs to do, (there's always something that needs fixing) organize one of the studios (there's always work to be done in either one) and invent new ways to entertain the cats. With the hot weather here I've discovered they absolutely LOVE having ice cubes put in their water bowls - LOL - Fun and Refreshing!

When not working in one of the studios, my free time is filled with reading and educating myself on a million different topics that interest me and discovering new graphic artists I enjoy on YouTube.

Now when I lay my head on the pillow to go to sleep at night there is no longer the incessant chatter of a million things going through my mind. When I wake up in the morning I feel refreshed and optimistic about the day ahead. Gone are all feelings of dread, despair, and uneasiness about my life or the world around me. I feel at peace, grateful, happy and fulfilled to a degree I have never felt before. And this is only after 3 days! Can you imagine what this will feel like after several months or years?!?

In the back of my mind, I always suspected the key to this higher level of happiness and contentment for me was "OUT THERE" somewhere - through another persons love and acceptance or greater social acceptance. But I was completely wrong. The answer, for me, has always been "IN HERE" - with my internal life that is so vastly rich with imagination and creativity. And I take exception to what cookie cutter "psychological studies suggest" that EVERYONE is happier in social settings ALL THE TIME and therefore, MUST be part of a social structure. The very best discussion of this can be found in a book written by Anthony Storr entitled, 'SOLITUDE - a Return to the Self'. I highly recommend it to anyone who is curious about the critical role solitude plays in the lives of creative people. Published in 1988, predating the rise of social media and the 24/7 news cycle - I find it to be an even more impactful read now days.

The bottom line for me, personally, is this - Here in the last remaining seasons of my life I want some peace. Other than local fire information during our fire seasons here, I simply don't need to know what's going on anywhere outside my little world. I don't need the incessant noise and drama. I don't like it and it impacts me in a number of very negative ways.

Until next time ... Here's something special from my private collection - Buddhist Chants Harmony of the Soul - 'The Universe'


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