Feedback from readers
In response to “Pandemic Pen Pals” by Emma Hine (March/April 2021), I’m glad that more folks are getting interested in “old-fashioned” snail mail, pen-and-paper letter writing. For many, though, this is a practice that predates the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve belonged to more than a few letter-writing organizations for two years or longer. There are associations that have an online component used to connect those interested in sending snail mail letters, such as International Correspondence Writing Month (incowrimo.org). Then there’s the Letter Exchange (letter-exchange.com), which has been around since 1982 and publishes a printed magazine for letter writers three times per year. Although I e-mail and use modern accoutrements like a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone, taking time to sit and handwrite a thoughtful letter to my many pen pals is still a joy.
Whiting, New Jersey
liz gonzález’s account of her search for a place to let her creative energy grow, “A Room of (Almost) My Own: Finding Space, and Permission, to Write” (March/April 2021), filled my memory bank as if an echo. I hit my writing stride when I was naive enough to begin graduate school at age fifty. Before then my career centered on visual art. I created studio space from a closet where my drawing table intruded into the living room, to guest rooms disguised as work dens, to legitimate rented studio spaces. I thought writing would require a less invasive floor plan. Like gonzález, I sprawled my research papers and manuscripts across many beds, floors, tabletops, TV trays, even a collapsible ironing board, always longing for a “one-stop” spread for all the artifacts that inspire and support my creative juices. For now, I claim an above-the-garage room—I call it a boathouse because, yes, there is a sea kayak hanging from the rafters, and, yes, there is a view of the river. Storage bins and closets still hold many stages of projects. My “writing room” desires have only grown. Every nook of available space is used—indeed, as gonzález writes, invaluable. It is heartening to read about the unearthing of other creative spaces. Thank you.
Top tweets, Facebook posts, and other social media ephemera
On Twitter, Tiana Clark (@TianaClarkPoet) shared news of her essay “New Ways of Surviving: Writing Through a Global Pandemic” (March/April 2021) along with an excerpt: “But the pandemic has made us all stand still and face our own brand of bullshit. I was forced to slow down and evaluate my constant need for validation and approval; the fact that I didn’t know how to love myself properly.” Sarah Kersey (@sk__poet) replied, “Thank you for writing this forthright, gorgeous, vulnerable essay. A deep well inside me is swelling.... I know I’m trying to confront my bullshit daily (more often: my bullshit confronts me). I appreciate that sentiment. So much gratitude for you.” In response to another excerpt, Hannah Bae (@hanbae) wrote, “The wisdom in this essay struck me as I was reading in such a way that I had to stop and text the link to multiple friends. It HAD to be shared. My friends needed to read this, too.” She added: “Tiana…this blew my mind. Thank you for writing this. It means a lot to read and to feel understood.”
Three of the most popular posts from pw.org
1. “New Ways of Surviving: Writing Through a Global Pandemic” (March/April 2020) by Tiana Clark
2. “Ten Questions for Viet Thanh Nguyen” (3/2/21)
3. “The Heart-Work: Writing About Trauma as a Subversive Act” (January/February 2017) by Melissa Febos
Lines from the previous issue that got readers talking
“The true telling of our stories often requires the annihilation of other stories, the ones we build and carry through our lives because it is easier to preserve some mysteries. We don’t need the truth to survive, and sometimes our survival depends on its denial.” —Melissa Febos in Girlhood, quoted in “Craft Therapy,” a profile of Febos by Brian Gresko (March/April 2021).