Today I went to the post office. I go there a lot because I love mail. I’ve had the same po box for 14 years now so I guess I have known my post office box postal worker Bobby for that long, too. I have even sent him postcards on occasion care of my own po box because I’m sure that’s kind of fun to be sorting the mail and go and put it in the po box and see that it’s for you. Anyway, I love the way my post office feels like a small town post office even though it’s in the middle of a big city. Or maybe it feels like that because I’ve been going there for so long.
I really like mail. Sending it and receiving it. So I use my post office a lot.
Anyway, I thought maybe I should ask Bobby if we could add Literary Diaspora to the sticker that is in my po box so that if he’s not sorting they know that it is definitely for me.
“I think I’ll be getting a lot of mail!” I said hopefully.
Bobby knows that I don’t get all that much mail. But he has always been very encouraging. Like he said to me just recently “Hey, this year I think you’ve been getting a lot more mail. More than you ever have!”
“Bins!” I said. I’ve been telling him for years that there will be bins and bins of it one day. Then we both have a good laugh. Because so far it’s mostly empty and full of dust.
“Literary Diaspora? What is this? Couldn’t you have come up with a simpler name?” he asked.
So I explained the project to him.
“You know what I like about that, Cecil? It’s all through the mail. People don’t really use the mail much any more. But it’s special.”
“I use it,” I said. “Last year I sent a letter a day every day to someone different that I know for 40 days. I called it my correspondence project.”
“I bet you they were real glad to get that letter from you,” Bobby said.
“They sure were,” I said.
“I bet you not a lot of them wrote you back,” he said.
“You are right,” I said. “But I was still glad I did it. I like writing letters.”
“People complain that they don’t get any. But then people should mail things more often,” he said.
We talked more about the decline of old fashioned mail. And then we talked more about my diaspora. Bobby likes the project. He and I wondered about what the return rate might be. He seemed to think that if I sent 100 cards out to visual artists, I’d get about 25-30 back. I said I thought the return rate would be higher. But I’m a hopeful kind of person. I guess we’ll just see.
What is super exciting is that Bobby is really going to be the very first person to get any of the diaspora back. Because he’s going to put it in the PO Box. And what is exciting is that he likes the project and will know exactly what it is and he will be glad for me when something comes back. This warms my heart in a beautiful way.
And you know what I think? I think right now, right after you are done reading this, you should go write someone a letter. They will be super glad to get it. And you will feel very wonderful for writing one.
my po box is: po box 29095 la ca 90029