Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Welcome to the official blog of The Benevolent Postcard Society — thanks so much for being a part of the project! This is the place for members to find out what's new, post comments, ask questions and share info. And now — here's the detailed info (in a question and answer format) on the project as promised! Leave a comment if you have any questions and I'll respond as soon as I can (or someone else might be able to help you out, too).
Q. How exactly does this work?
A. Send a happy postcard. Get a happy postcard. That's pretty much it. Each month you'll send a postcard to a different person — and each month a different person will send a postcard to you. At the end of the year, you'll have 12 postcards from 12 different people.
Q. How do I get a mailing address to send my postcard to each month?
A. Towards the end of each month for the next 12 months, I'll email you the randomly selected address of the person you'll be sending your next postcard to for the coming month. For example, towards the very end of this month (August) I'll email you an address for the September 1 mailing.
Q. When do I send my postcard?
A. The postcards should go out on the first of each month, starting September 1 2009. If for some reason you can't make it to the mailbox until the next day, that's fine — just remember that some postcards have quite a distance to travel, and the sooner they go the faster someone else will get your amazing postcard!
Q. Should I write something on the back of the postcard besides the address?
A. Sure! But keep it short and sweet, and of course positive. The point is to bring a smile to the face of whoever is lucky enough to find your postcard in their mailbox. So, it could be a simple "Hello!" or "Have a great day!" or a friendly short poem or haiku, or a cheerful quote that you'd like to share. Add your name and you're done! If you're still uncertain about what to write, you can even do a little drawing or a smiley face, which would be nice to get, too! The one thing I would ask you to bear in mind is that we are a diverse group from all over the world, so there should be nothing overtly religious or political in your message. But you know that already.
Q. When will I get my own postcard that month?
A. It depends on where your postcard is traveling from! Our members are scattered all over the world, so if you're in, say, Canada and your postcard is traveling from Estonia, you may need to give it an extra week or so. If you don't receive anything by the end of the month, though, let me know and I'll look into it. Sadly the mail system isn't perfect, so there may be the occasional postcard that goes astray. If that should happen (and I certainly hope it won't), I'll make it up to you and ensure that a replacement is sent.
Q: Any dos and don'ts about the actual postcards?
A. If you're making your own postcards (or are embellishing found ones) and are gluing things on — such as adding collaged photos, wax seals, or even sparkles — I highly recommend sending it in an envelope. The automated sorters that the post office uses are really good at tearing off anything like this, as they're designed to process plain flat envelopes and not anything with interesting contours.
Also, be sure to check with the post office if you're sending a postcard that isn't the usual size or weight — either of which will mean you'll need to add extra postage. It would be so disappointing to have a postcard returned to you just because you're a few cents short!
The subject matter of the postcards is entirely up to you. I know some people are doing beautiful handmade postcards, others plan on sending antique postcards, some are busy collecting postcards from museums and art galleries, while others have gathered together quirky or amusing postcards that they've found at flea markets and souvenir shops. Again, bear in mind that it shouldn't be something that could easily be taken the wrong way (i.e. something rather risqué) unless you know well the person you're mailing it to. I don't want to act as a censor, so again use your own excellent judgment.
Q. What happens after we've sent and received our postcards for one year?
A. The original plan was to have a gallery show locally of the postcards after the project wraps up in September 2010, which is still something I plan to do for those members who live here in town. But because this has become such a large and diverse group (thank you all!) I'll also be doing a book that will feature all the postcards that were sent and received throughout the 12 months of the project. To that end, I'll ask that you hang on to all the postcards you receive, as I'll need you to mail them all to me once we're done for inclusion in the book. You will of course be both credited in the book AND will have your postcards returned to you once I've photographed them for publication. Please note that all personal info such as mailing addresses on the postcards will be electronically removed by me from the final photographs to preserve the privacy of our members.
I hope that's been helpful — leave a comment if you'd like a little more detail on anything, and thanks so much again!