Let's be penpals July 19, 2009 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Remember pen pals? Wouldn't it be fun/awesome to have one again?

I've been thinking recently about how letter writing is a lost art. In this age of tweets and quick e-mails, long letters no longer seem to have a place.

In looking for pen pals, I've found a few sites. But, then I remembered good old MeFi.

There are a ton of interesting and educated people on here, so I think the people here would make ideal pen pals for me and for anyone else who's interested. There's something exhilarating about receiving a long letter from someone you enjoy hearing from.

I'm thinking it can be e-mail or snail mail, depending on what you want to do.

If anyone's interested, please MeMail me or just reply to this thread.
posted by reenum to MetaFilter-Related at 3:03 PM (101 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

If I wanted broken English about pop culture and no attempts to engage in conversation, I'd read YouTube comments.

(Wait, pen pals aren't only fourth graders in your town's sister city that you're forced to contact because your social studies teacher found out she can scam free postage through the school?)
posted by klangklangston at 3:14 PM on July 19, 2009


When I was in elementary school, I had a pen pal in Taiwan, and I never wrote her back.

When I was in middle school, I had a pen pal in Germany, and I never wrote her back.

You wouldn't want me to participate in this program, is what I'm saying.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 3:17 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find that blogging satisfies that urge even better.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:18 PM on July 19, 2009


The idea sounds well-intended, but I don't know anybody on Metafilter, except for what I glean from the comments and posts they make. If I were to write any other MeFites a long letter, I can't imagine what I would say.
posted by jayder at 3:20 PM on July 19, 2009


What's a pen?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:24 PM on July 19, 2009


I have a few pen pals, but my situation is somewhat unique. Occasionally, I find cool stuff on the Internet and share it with my pen pals, but instead of mailing them the link, I post it on a community blog so everyone can enjoy it and make wisecracks.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:24 PM on July 19, 2009


What's a pal? *sniff*
posted by prufrock at 3:29 PM on July 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


I used to have pen pals . . . before I made parole.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:33 PM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Contributing to MetaFilter is already like having a pen pal. A volatile, sociopathic, sometimes devastatingly witty pen pal.
posted by felix betachat at 3:41 PM on July 19, 2009


I'm in, but only if it's done by snail mail. Getting letters is neat. Mefil Mail if you're serious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:55 PM on July 19, 2009


Is it anything like PayPal?
posted by sveskemus at 3:57 PM on July 19, 2009


If you like penpals except for the part where you have to interact with people, postcrossing is for you.
posted by DU at 4:02 PM on July 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Dear former president Bush,

I hope you're doing well now that you can spend more than just a few months a year at your house in Crawford. I certainly miss the years you were in office and wish you could be president for life. I hate that the liberals blame everything on you just because it happened when you were in office. We all know it was really their fault.

I have to go now and write a letter to Sarah Palin.

Thank you for everything,
educatedslacker

P.S. Please pardon the crayon. They don't let us have anything sharp in here.
posted by educatedslacker at 4:07 PM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll be your pen pal, reenum, although I actually prefer IM for such things. I will also be anyone else's pen pal. No, really. Even eyeballkid.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:21 PM on July 19, 2009


Penismightier pals would be better.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:44 PM on July 19, 2009


Email or typing on computer, then printing sounds like cheating. I will hand-write a letter back to anyone of yous who hand-writes a letter to me On a yellow legal tablet. MeMail for address, if interested. I think letters are awesome, and I haven't gotten one in years.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it anything like PayPal?

Well, if it's like the part where you pay me, then sure! MeMail for PayPal address.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:02 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd be down for a pen-and-paper pal. It'd be a great way to talk shit about various MeFi members without google getting their slimy paws all over it for posterity.

Especially that mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey sonofabitch.
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:27 PM on July 19, 2009


I'm in for writing pen and paper, I just hope you can read my handwriting :)
posted by deezil at 5:41 PM on July 19, 2009


I will also be anyone else's pen pal. No, really. Even eyeballkid.

That's good to know. I HATE much better on paper.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:57 PM on July 19, 2009


For all the snark in this thread, this is a worthy idea. If I didn't have so much writing to do already, I'd definitely be in. Writing long letters by hand is a craft I learned from my grandmother at an early age. With my family spread across several continents, that was the only way. It's still the only way for some people.

My Internet buddies used to trade postcards. It's really fun getting mail from an unfamiliar person in an unfamiliar place. If you're worried about what to write, maybe you could start out with something like that to get things going. Postcards are easy to fill.
posted by zennie at 6:00 PM on July 19, 2009


I'm in. I'd love to have a few penpals. MeMail me.
posted by LeeJay at 6:10 PM on July 19, 2009


Maybe you can get Brandon Blatcher to marry you.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:13 PM on July 19, 2009


Pen pals... I had one of those a few years back. Things went really well for a while, but then I married him and now he hardly ever writes at all.
posted by timeo danaos at 6:13 PM on July 19, 2009


I've got one taker, so far. My replies will be legible, if not intelligible.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:20 PM on July 19, 2009


I think it would be fun, I like getting letters.
posted by frobozz at 6:20 PM on July 19, 2009


Count me in. Real letters are great -- I love to write/send them as much as I love to receive/read them.
posted by headnsouth at 6:34 PM on July 19, 2009


Maybe you can get Brandon Blatcher to marry you.

Nope, that phase is over, I've moved on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Count me in.
posted by govtdrone at 6:46 PM on July 19, 2009


As a teen ager I sent my name, address, and a letter to a cartoon (actually "CARToons") magazine that ran letters like that.
I eventually had 69 pen-pals in seven different countries.
posted by Drasher at 7:17 PM on July 19, 2009


"As a teen ager I sent my name, address, and a letter to a cartoon (actually "CARToons") magazine"

No shit. I once had a drawing run in "Side Show", before they changed it to "My Wheels".
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:33 PM on July 19, 2009


I'm in. MeMail me.
posted by meerkatty at 7:47 PM on July 19, 2009


Postcards I might could do. Real letters would probably be way too ambitious. You have to be at least semi-literate for those, right?
posted by dilettante at 7:57 PM on July 19, 2009


I had a pen pal in China for over a year during Junior High. Gawd those were some excruciatingly boring letters. You'd think it would be a small exciting glimpse into another country, but instead it was mostly terse page-and-a-half letters about his progress learning to write English and how much he enjoyed playing basketball. Dude did have pretty good English, I'll give him that much.

I'd be down for exchanging some hand written letters with random internet people. MeMail me if interested, and check my favorites if trying to decide if interested.
posted by CheshireCat at 8:09 PM on July 19, 2009


I could always use more mail in my life. I could also use more reasons to write too. I'm in for all interested parties. MeMail.
posted by mindless progress at 8:10 PM on July 19, 2009


That sounds cool, and I'm in. If you want to write in Portuguese, which I really want to practise, even better.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:12 PM on July 19, 2009


I want to play! Real old-school snail mail letters. This will have two consequences: First, I'll actually check my mail which at present I do only every couple of weeks or so. and Second, every time I write to some random person I've never met, I'll feel terribly guilty for never writing to my grandmother. Thus I will appease my guilt by calling my grandmother (she's not so much up for reading letters anymore) upon receipt or mailing of any letter.

My grandmother thanks you.

Now how do I play?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:16 PM on July 19, 2009


On one hand, I like the prospect of getting real mail. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want any of you to know where I live.
posted by gc at 8:28 PM on July 19, 2009


i_am_joe's_spleen, I will write to you in English, and you can translate it.

So how are we doing this? Is reenum handing out penpal assignments or are we all just MeMailing each other? Because everyone's saying "MeMail me" and I'm not sure I want to send out a dozen MeMails with my home address in them. (Especially since I only lurked on the espousing thread so I'm not related to any of you people.)
posted by headnsouth at 8:40 PM on July 19, 2009


On the other hand, I'm not sure I want any of you to know where I live.

Posting a Google Maps link to your exact geographic coordinates in your profile was probably a bad idea, then.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 8:45 PM on July 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can hand out assignments if you all wish, but we can also just pick 2 or 3 people and see if they're down for penpalling (is that a word?). People can just reply to the thread as to how they want it handled.

I will be MeMailing a few of you, and I'll be happy to send the first communique.

The postcard idea sounds awesome. I have a ton of them left over from travels abroad, and it would be good to use them in some way.
posted by reenum at 8:46 PM on July 19, 2009


Posting a Google Maps link to your exact geographic coordinates in your profile was probably a bad idea, then.

I don't live there, and never have. I did live in Kirkland, but gosh, it's funny how it picked that location.

Now I feel bad for the people who actually live there. Please refrain from sending your beans to that location. I will not receive them.
posted by gc at 9:01 PM on July 19, 2009


Too bad, because that is a sweet-ass house. Though the lawn is a bid boulder-crammed for my taste.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 9:15 PM on July 19, 2009


I'm in for snail mail.
posted by sculpin at 9:26 PM on July 19, 2009


I'm about to have tons of free time thanks to my recent academic failure so if anyone wants a non iguana-eating jungle-living Chilean penpal, feel free to memail me for my address.

The only problem is that I'd prefer to reply instead of being the one to initiate, as I suck at starting conversations of any kind.

I'll send either postcards or snail mail, your choice. :)

[NOT-IGUANAIST]
posted by Memo at 9:40 PM on July 19, 2009


You can count me in too. I just sent out several pieces of mail last week to various pen pal-type folks, so I got some stamps left.
posted by kkokkodalk at 9:40 PM on July 19, 2009


When I was in the 5th grade, I had a pen pal from one of the Koreas. He was nice enough until I asked him if he had a VHS VCR. I was thinking of sending him a video, but I didn't know what format they used over there. Guess I should have worded that better. He got all uppity and told me his father was a very important government official, so they had the best of everything, and we Americans think we're so much better than everyone else, etc. etc. etc.

Hoo.

My next penpal was Australian. She didn't have a VHS VCR, but she did have a kangaroo in her yard, which is ultimately way cooler.
posted by katillathehun at 9:46 PM on July 19, 2009


Oh yeah, and I'm in.
posted by katillathehun at 9:47 PM on July 19, 2009


the littlest brussels sprout: "2When I was in elementary school, I had a pen pal in Taiwan, and I never wrote her back.

When I was in middle school, I had a pen pal in Germany, and I never wrote her back.

You wouldn't want me to participate in this program, is what I'm saying.
"

QFT
posted by Gravitus at 9:48 PM on July 19, 2009


I'll do this.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:12 PM on July 19, 2009


I prefer to write my snail mail letters with real snails.

Bonus? The envelopes are self-gluing.
posted by loquacious at 11:23 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of writing and receiving hand-written letters especially with other Mefites. But I have to be honest and acknowledge that I am not the best at responding. I do keep some correspondence with various mefites through twitter and a couple other sites though.

However, I can think of at least one other person who would be interested in this.
posted by sambosambo at 12:18 AM on July 20, 2009


I'm game for a pen pal.

MeMail if interested. Or do I MeMail someone>

So very confusing.
posted by Dagobert at 1:50 AM on July 20, 2009


I'd like a penpal (or penpals), MeMail to swap addresses.
posted by She Kisses Wyverns at 2:43 AM on July 20, 2009


I'd be interested as well. I was just looking at some gorgeous stationary the other day and wishing I had a reason to buy it.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:07 AM on July 20, 2009


Just in case it wasn't clear, I honestly would be down for a penpal or two. However, I'm at work for the next ten hours and only have internet access via my phone. Java issues mean I can't initiate a me-mail, but I can reply, so the anus onus is on you, prospective pally-type person.
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:23 AM on July 20, 2009


I'm in - especially for postcards (store bought and handmade). Me mail me. :)
posted by pointystick at 6:39 AM on July 20, 2009


Well folks, after thinking it over, why don't we all just connect with each other?

Last night, I looked through the profiles and favorites of all of you and picked 4 people who seemed to have similar interests to myself.

For those who are interested, I have set up a Google group to act as an exchange of sorts for people who want to be assigned a penpal or 3. Just MeMail me with your e-mail addy and I will invite you to the group. Once there, assignments can be made among those who are serious about doing this.

Cheers.
posted by reenum at 6:50 AM on July 20, 2009


Awesome is the most overused word on metafilter.

And it fair gets on my goat.
posted by the cuban at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2009


I can't even get people to metamail me, what makes anyone think I'd receive postal mail? This will be just like third grade, where I have to write a letter and not get one back, right?
posted by majick at 7:08 AM on July 20, 2009


so does this mean there's going to be a new subsite? MePals?
posted by msconduct at 7:32 AM on July 20, 2009


I find it ironic that in sambosambo's link, that she wants physical letters, but says, "Leave an email address and I'll try to get back to you."
posted by cjorgensen at 7:33 AM on July 20, 2009


I'm interested but have terrible penmanship.
posted by subbes at 7:43 AM on July 20, 2009


I still haven't received my secret santa present, I can't imagine how much worse it would be to sit around waiting for a letter that will never arrive.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:11 AM on July 20, 2009


And it fair gets on my goat.

Your goat is Awesome!

As of this morning, I have 2 pen pals. This is as exciting as getting e-spouses!
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:17 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm in. Ironically, I just began writing to all of my friends this past summer, too.
posted by litterateur at 8:18 AM on July 20, 2009


If only there was a spellcheck equivalent for the written word.
posted by Sailormom at 8:43 AM on July 20, 2009


I'm in for snail mail - fun! I guess MeMail me, are we matching up ourselves?
posted by KAS at 8:56 AM on July 20, 2009


Or I could just read more carefully and do what it says like 5 comments above mine. Sigh...
posted by KAS at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2009


MeMailing - this sounds like fun!
posted by jaruwaan at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2009


Well, it would justify the pretty stationary and provide practice. I'm in.
posted by jadepearl at 9:53 AM on July 20, 2009


I'd be up for a female pen pal. MeMail me.
posted by Night_owl at 10:09 AM on July 20, 2009


So, I've signed up for the google group, but it doesn't look like a whole lot of people have started utilizing it yet! I'm up for some penpals, mostly via email. This is neat!
posted by theantikitty at 11:13 AM on July 20, 2009


OK. Everyone who had their e-mails in their profiles and expressed interest has been invited to the MeFi Penpals group on Google. Anyone else who wants in to the group and doesn't have an e-mail address specified on their profile, please MeMail me and I will invite you to the group. Once there, it's up to you to connect with potential penpals.

You are free to join the group I have created or to contact people on your own. I'm only interested in having people get their hands off the keyboard and out to a postbox.

Cheers to all. Should be fun.
posted by reenum at 11:17 AM on July 20, 2009


I expressed interest and my email is on my profile. *whines*

More seriously, I sent you a MeMail.
posted by Memo at 11:21 AM on July 20, 2009


Memo, you should have an invite. Perhaps it went to the spam folder?
posted by reenum at 11:34 AM on July 20, 2009


It seems that I received the email while I was whining about it! Thanks!
posted by Memo at 11:39 AM on July 20, 2009


Oh, squee. Particularly for postcards.
posted by catlet at 11:56 AM on July 20, 2009


Oh, fun. I MeMailed you, reenum.
posted by booknerd at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2009


"You cannot view the group's content or participate in the group because you are not currently a member. Members must be approved before joining."

Um, what? I clicked the "accept invite" link.
posted by Night_owl at 12:38 PM on July 20, 2009


@Night_owl, for some reason, I'm having to accept pending members. I'll try and fix this.

If you want, you can send me your e-mail again for another invite.
posted by reenum at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2009


Looking at this, you may be required to set up a Google profile prior to signing up. That may be another potential hangup.
posted by reenum at 12:51 PM on July 20, 2009


I'm in.

Over the weekend, I got a handwritten LONG letter from a friend and it was so shocking to get it in the mail that I actually stared at it in wonder for a full minute before ripping into it.
posted by HeyAllie at 1:14 PM on July 20, 2009


I figured it out. Gmail forwarding had me trying to accept the invitation while being signed into the different gmail account.
posted by Night_owl at 1:53 PM on July 20, 2009


I'm in, sent a memail to get on the google thingy. :)
posted by dejah420 at 2:05 PM on July 20, 2009


Great idea, I am in. You have more MeMail Reenum.
posted by kudzu at 2:25 PM on July 20, 2009


I'm up for a penpal. I can talk about journalism, philosophy, photography and The Products of Apple Computer, 1984-2009. MeMail me (and I'm about to MeMail reenum for group action)
posted by fightorflight at 3:39 PM on July 20, 2009


Suggestion for everyone: If you're interested in being a pen pal, take 5 minutes and write a letter to someone you love, be it a significant other, friend or family member. It would probably mean a lot to them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:01 PM on July 20, 2009


I'd like to (paper letters). MeMail me if you'd like; I have asked reenum to add me to the group - thanks.
posted by paduasoy at 4:05 PM on July 20, 2009


Suggestion for everyone: If you're interested in being a pen pal, take 5 minutes and write a letter to someone you love, be it a significant other, friend or family member. It would probably mean a lot to them.

You silly person -- that's what email is for!

that's actually a great idea
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:13 PM on July 20, 2009


I'm in! I love letters.
posted by lolichka at 9:41 PM on July 20, 2009


Ooh, I want in! I like to send letters. Funky collage-y postcards, too.

I've MeMailed Reenum - and if anyone else wants me to write to them, MeMail me.
posted by cmyk at 6:52 AM on July 21, 2009


Aw, penpals. Reminds me of camp.

I'm totally in for this.
posted by paisley sheep at 9:04 AM on July 21, 2009


Haha thanks sambosambo! The Light Fantastic: That's because I tend to respond faster by email - I'm online all the time - but that video (and the absolute barrage of mail that ensued!) came just before a really crap time in my life and I only managed to get back in touch with a few people. But the letters totally helped my (then-broken) spirit.

I'm so in!
posted by divabat at 2:14 PM on July 22, 2009


I got a letter today! How cool.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:50 PM on August 5, 2009


Woot, letters sent!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:10 AM on August 7, 2009


I sent mine a couple of weeks ago. Still waiting for replies. :-/
posted by reenum at 9:44 PM on August 9, 2009


Reply sent!

ersatzkat, I'm calling you out for slacking.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:16 AM on August 10, 2009


A lovely postcard from Lake Tahoe turned up on the weekend courtesy of HeyAllie.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:39 PM on August 10, 2009


Just got 3 today. Yay!
posted by reenum at 5:45 PM on August 10, 2009


I got one from paduasoy! :D
posted by divabat at 4:56 AM on August 11, 2009


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