23 March 2011

Correspondence Quarter (CQ)

EMP’s Correspondence Quarter (CQ) was birthed the moment I first set a timer and wrote for 15 minutes; I need to limit my writing time, otherwise I’d write all day, half the night, and oft’ into the wee hours.

“Correspondence Quarter,” therefore, has become my almost daily discipline of setting a timer for a quarter of an hour and composing a letter. Once I’m seated at the kitchen table, pen in hand, I often write for more than 15 minutes—beyond the buzzing of the oven timer—but the regular daily discipline keeps my writing muscles supple … and makes my pen pals happy. J (Or so they tell me.)

Over the years it has become a ritual for me to sit either at my kitchen table or at local coffee shoppes or other interesting venues and simply write. Interesting venues include our quiet local library; Coffee Traders (with its cosy fireplace); Tea and Other Things; Java Jamboree; Norma’s (food to nourish body and soul); King’s Fold (a retreat centre along Forestry Trunk Road, off Highway 1A); and various watering holes that offer a peaceful ambience.

My all-time favourite writer’s venue has to be Rivendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island, BC, where I spent a week in silence and solitude this past January in celebration of my 40th birthday.

In recent months, inspired by my correspondence circle, I have once again fallen in love with the prospect of ink on the (blank) page. So fond am I of sending and receiving snail mail that I did a spot of Internet letter writing research. My first fabulous find was a blog called 365 letters:


(See also Carla’s www.365letters.etsy.com)

The reason I found that one first was because I wanted to call my new letter writing blog “365”—with the aim of writing a letter every day for a year—but alas, the name was taken (and I’m glad it was! Carla’s blog is a rich mine of corresponding info: do check it out, but be warned: you may stay awhile).

And then, earlier this week—yesterday, in fact—sweet Carla had a notecard giveaway.

And I won!

Just last night I was bemoaning the fact that I seldom win anything, not even a cup of coffee or a doughnut in the Tim Horton’s “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest—and today I received the following message:

On 23 March 2011 08:24, <365letters@inbox.com> wrote:

Good morning, EMP!

Your name was picked as the winner of yesterday's notecard giveaway. Congratulations!

Being the curious person that I am, I clicked on your links and found your website. Quite interesting! Do you mind if I put a little bit of that in my posting about your winning? I would love to mention your book and writings, and I love your blogger profile opening sentence.

[Here’s my profile:
Since I was 7, I knew I’d be a letter-writer-poet when I grew up. Once I ventured out on my own (after hap’ly co-authoring and publishing a book of letters in 2007), I set up a baker’s dozen blogs as a discipline to record my thoughts and type up all the random bits ’n’ pieces composed in coffee shops and on silent retreat days. (It gives my international friends and relations something to do during long summer nights.) Pop in and visit. Leave a comment. Write a letter—or a poem—or share a favourite anecdote or photo.]

Carla continues (music to my ears!):

Please send me your mailing address, and I’ll send these notecards your way!

Take care,

Immediately I replied:

Thank you so very much; you made my day. It’s snowing here today (in Alberta, Canada) and your news brought a lovely touch of spring.

Well there we are, then.

And now I have added another to my baker’s dozen:


Each of my blogs has a specific purpose, and not all of my writing(s) will appeal to all readers in equal measure. In my next post, I’ll compile a list of my current blogs (many of which are open to the public already).