Give your words

Some of the encouraging mail that’s arrived in recent weeks.

Like a lot of creative people, I’m comfy with my own company. As a writer, in particular, my introvertuosity is an asset. Just me and my muse, that’s it. (That is, IF Edna isn’t too busy getting her bunions buffed or some such fiddle faddle.)

It’s one thing to choose solitude. It’s quite another to live in pandemic-necessitated government-mandated isolation. Oh, yes. Quite. a. nother. You know that for yourselves, don’t you my little mini muffins.

Despite our natural desire to go solo in our shells (crisis or no crisis), empathy compels us to seek ways to reach out. I want to suggest one such way we writers can make a difference and you can do it all on your own–you can give your words.

I got a squirrelly postcard!
Original artwork by Rebecca Van Slyke

Over the last three weeks, more “no special occasion” cards and little surprises have arrived in my mailbox than I might receive in six months. In addition to encouraging notes, a friend who is an illustrator created a custom made activity book, and a writer friend made me a hand painted postcard–featuring a springy squirrel! On top of those came gifts of note cards designed by the sender and pretty note paper (Mmmm. I do love paper.) Even my cat, Finny, received a kind card with a birdy on it and catnip tucked inside. As you can imagine, being the recipient of all that sweetness pumped helium into my heavy heart. How did I get so lucky?

I’ve been sending personalized doodles, notes and silly surprises too. Taking a moment to center my thoughts on someone else while I write a message and imagine the smile (I hope!) it will bring, is a welcome antidote to these dreary, disorienting days. I want you to experience that too.

You might enjoy sending an unsuspecting someone a silly card, a sweet postcard or actual letter. No fancy stationery? No worries. You say you have the handwriting of a 4th year med student? No sweat. Type a message and print it out. (Have fun with the fonts!) When it comes to sending NSOIJTOY (that’s No Special Occasion I’m Just Thinking of You) mail, anything goes–so long as you give your words. That’s the best part, my little apricot tarts.

If you’re not up to writing, even a letter, you’re not alone. And listen, there is zero judgement here. The brilliant Emma Dryden shared this article on social media that explains why it’s okay to resist the pressure to use these unexpected extra hours to be productive (aka, write, do a major revision, create new art, etc.). It really is okay. Please don’t feel pushed.

And if reading this post all the way to here —-> is all you can manage today, my little warm buttered toast, that is 110% okay. Honestly. And I’m not just saying that because you chose to expend your energy and ebbing ability to concentrate to read my blog post. I’m saying you’re 123% okay. (I’m terrible with numbers, but that sure seems like a lot of okay to me.)

If you feel like writing a teensy bit (like .5%), you can leave a comment below. And then, if some flabberjabber has the nerve to ask you what you’ve written lately, you send them on over to Frog on a Dime, and say “Looky there!”

In the event you should feel an energy shift and get a hankering for something writing-related as a distraction, here’s a whole list of options. Please enjoy, and again, no pressure. Your pace is up to you.

Whatever you choose to do, in whatever way you do it–and whenever you’re ready to do it–please, give your words.

There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

18 responses »

  1. Moments ago I was trying to think of something positive I could do. Now I have a drawer full of old cards and stationary calling to me. Iā€™d forgotten how nice it is to receive a hand written letter. Thanks for the great idea!


    • Hello Julie, Thanks so much for letting me know my post inspired you! I hope you’ve had fun making good use of your cards. I’m sure you’ve delighted a lot of people and made them feel special. Please take care and be well!


  2. Thank you, Vicky! I needed this today. All I’ve managed to write are silly songs I’ve posted on FB. Playing with my puppets and making up songs. That’s my life now.
    I appreciate all the cards you’ve sent over the years. You are a good friend.


    • I think your puppets and songs are terrific, Lisa. I’m sure kids and their parents love having something fun and upbeat to enjoy, especially at such a heavy time. Thank you for your kind words and friendship, Lisa.


  3. You thrill my heart again and again, over and over, repeatedly and repeatedly, time and time again, my little superb offspring of tender loveliness. XOXO Mum


  4. For several weeks now, I have been typing out all of the words in my handwritten journals. Starting with words of grief as a mid-life widow and continuing through my travel journeys to find myself (Spoiler alert: I did not ‘find’ myself, I ‘created’ myself!), my feelings and experiences were raw, honest, and even sometimes x-rated. Words are the only things I have to leave my son’s, so typing them out and putting them in a binder gives me an assurance that some of who I am will remain.


    • Wow. That must be quite an experience to revisit your journals. I love how you said you didn’t find yourself–you created yourself. I hope this transcribing process has been healing for you as you see how very far you’ve come in your creating process. ā¤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Vicky

    Valuable inspiration, as always! Your squirrelly postcard has inspired me to write letters to ones I, of recent, only post and wave at. Who knows, there may be a story spark in one of those letters.
    Good day!

    Linda Geiger


    • A story spark! Oh, wouldn’t that be great byproduct of your letters. I know your recipients will feel honored and thrilled to receive “real” mail with an uplifting message from you. Have fun with writing!


  6. Vicky, as always, you find a way to guide us, support us, and call us adorable names! šŸ™‚ I haven’t clicked on the link to see other options YET but I have been taking time to write cards or doodle pictures for folks I know in nursing homes. Many have been quarantined to their rooms and lack any sort of socialization with their fellow home neighbors. (Studies have shown that isolation makes conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia worse; progressing the disease at a faster rate) This horrifies me! So to write an encouraging note or create a picture with my granddaughter and send it to a senior in need truly comforts my soul. Thank you for reminding us that kindness comes in many forms. ā¤


    • Reaching out to seniors is a beautiful idea, Monica. This week, I sent a card to a dear lady who lives in an assisted living facility in isolation. Due to her mental decline, I’m not certain she will even recognize my name, but my hope is that she will feel remembered and loved regardless. Your granddaughter’s drawings are going to be such treasures to the lucky senior recipients. You’re teaching her the value of extending kindness, especially when it can’t be reciprocated. Thank you for your encouraging and inspirational report. Write on!


  7. Vicky, I love your squirrely postcard! You always seem to know how to raise my spirits with your creative wit. As for the suggestions on what to do, I’ve done over half of them some time ago. Now I’m concentrating (along with my husband) on getting a house filled with 30 years of stuff (some junk) cleaned out so we can list it once this whole thing is over. That plus writing too. Thanks for the lift and the photo of the lovely flowers. Spring is here on and off for now.


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