Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Sunny Dawn and another day at the post office

It's 6 a.m. and given all the rain we've had throughout the month of May, it's pleasant to see the dawn rising clear and pale as denim. Today is a another one for completing some more writing, getting queries sent out into the mail, and of course, the daily trip to the post office.

Let me ask this of other writers: do you feel a delicious sense of anticipation when you traipse over to the post office? Some of us (not me) might still benefit from that diminishing trend called 'home mail delivery' where the metallic snap of the front door flap meant mail had arrived. Some might have their mail delivered into one of those bread-box style rural mail boxes thrust onto the end of a pole near the foot of their driveway. Still others, like myself, trundle over to the local rural post office whose postal outlet consists of two walls with tiny silver mail boxes set into the wall, each with its own number.

The post office smells like paper, glue, and that tingling sense of excitement that something - with luck not just bills and flyers - waits for you on the other side of that tiny door to which you've been provided a key.

Now every writer comes to seek the sight of one or more of their SASE's when they open the post office box. For those of you who aren't writers and who may not be familiar with the acronym, it means self-addressed-stamped-envelope. When you write, and you desire a response from an editor, agent, or publisher, you must include a #10 envelope with your return address neatly centered. These SASE's carry the decision as to whether someone wants to see more of your work, accept your work, or not.

Sometimes the rejections can be disappointing, but the thing's exciting seeing those SASE's, no matter what they might contain. I love mail; snail mail. It's a dying art in an era that has become efficiently electronic. Yes, email is expedient, and I love it too, but nothing can replace the tangible, almost warm feeling that arrives with an actual letter.

Am I one of the few people left who still enjoys the art of letter writing? In the turn of the century, and prior to that, letter writing was not only an art form (including carefully crafted penmanship, choice of paper, wax stamp), but was a socially-expected habit, especially by the ladies of the era.

So, you walk up to your post office box. You insert your key and you hold your breath a the door and peer into that little slot of darkness. Today, amid the flyers, real estate ads, and a bill or two, there waits an envelope that's different from all the others. Your heart picks up a little. That tantalizing shiver of anticipation sends a bit of a rush over your skin.

Mail. Yeah...good, ol' mail.

It's one of those perks of being a writer. Don't you just love it? I do.