Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Letter Writing: The Circle Letter

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Photo credit: Lenore Edman
A fun twist on sending traditional letters is the circle letter. The circle letter is a way to write to a large group of family, friends and acquaintances without spending twenty-four / seven at your desk, pen in hand.
You write one letter- a letter intended for many different readers, so it is not a place to share your deepest and darkest secrets, but rather a place to catch people up on your life in a way that stalking Facebook just won't bring. This letter will be sent to one person, along with a second item. On a separate piece of paper, include a list of people, with their mailing addresses, that indicates who this letter is to be sent to after your first recipient has read it. That first recipient will add their own letter to yours, perhaps answering some questions or thoughts your letter had in addition to sharing about their own lives. They will then mail both letters and the addresses on to the next person on the list. That person can read both letters and add their own to the pile and send it on etc. This pattern continues until the list is done and all the letters are sent back to you. You can then read everyone else's letters,  take your original letter out of the bunch, and pen a new letter to add back into the pile and pass all the letters on to that first recipient again to continue the chain.

This was a common way for families far apart to get each others' news. Today we might think that group emails or social media fill that niche in too well to bother going back to circle letters. But, I think circle letters can allow for more chatty correspondence- the space can allow a story to develop, allow you to share a recipe, to answer a question. A circle is also for a more limited and defined audience than a social media outlet ever could be- you are, after all, only writing to the people on your list. At the same time, this is more interactive- while still being reflective- than a group email would be.

Would you try this correspondence game out?

LETTER WRITING SERIES: THANK YOU NOTES | PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE | LOVE LETTERS | SYMPATHY LETTERS | CONGRATULATORY LETTERS | POSTCARDS | LETTERS OF APPRECIATION | CORRESPONDENCE CHESS | GET WELL CARDS | LETTERS TO SICK CHILDREN | INVITATIONS | HOLIDAY LETTERS | LETTERS TO SANTA| LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | CIRCLE LETTERS | LETTERS TO POLITICIANS | WRITING TO ADVICE COLUMNS | THE LETTER WRITING GAME | PENPAL LETTERS | LETTER OF COMPLAINT | COVER LETTERS | LETTERS TO PRISONERS | OPEN LETTERS | LETTERS TO FUTURE YOURSELF | LETTERS OF APOLOGY | "OPEN WHEN" LETTERS | FAN MAIL | GOOD BYE LETTER |

4 comments:

  1. What an interesting idea! This would be a lot of fun to try!

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    Replies
    1. I always appreciate your thoughts on my letter writing posts. Never sure if they get read.

      This would be fun, I think, especially if you had a lot of older extended family members.

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  2. I have never heard of this, but it would be so interesting to try! It would be funny if people added little notes to the initial letter, too, but also might destroy the initial point of said circle letter. ;) I only have one or two pen pals I write to right now, though.

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  3. This is a genius idea! Thank you so much for sharing!

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