Send more mail, with vintage stamps

The perfect excuse to SEND MORE MAIL.

I found these amazing packs of unused vintage stamps at Blackbird Vintage in Toronto's Distillery District, but they are also available for purchase online. Winnipegers! Vancouverites! Rejoice!

Each pack (Only $2!) has enough stamps to send a letter within Canada. A-MAZ-ING.

Visit: sendmoremail.blogspot.ca


You've Made Mail!

My friend Danette Relic is presenting a mail-making-workshop at Wise Daughters in Toronto's Junction neighbourhood TONIGHT. Enjoy an evening crafting stationary and participating in letter-writing exercises, including writing a letter to yourself... should make for some very interesting lines.

For information visit: wisedaughters.com/workshops


The Blog is now a Book

Letters from a Luddite by Christina Crook | Make Your Own Book


At Marisa's prompting, I spent the weekend laying out the Letters from a Luddite book. Discover the freedom of stepping off-line through the romantic pages of the type-written note...

The 75-page soft cover book features 31 letters, rich original photography, quotes on technology and a recommended reading list.

After all of the mishaps with the postal service, the letters are finally in an easy-to-read format! Music to my ears.

I hope you enjoy it.


Next Letter Writing Club - at Toronto's First Post Office

Toronto's First Post Office hosts the "Post-A-Letter Social Activity Club" the third Sunday of each month.

Join in on Sunday, April 15, in the Post Office's cozy Reading Room, anytime between 1-4pm and write some letters in good company.

Snacks, coffee, tea, and all the supplies you need to write and mail something special will be available.

And all are welcome, so please share this post and bring your friends!

- Town of York Historical Society, 260 Adelaide St. E., Toronto  (416.865.1833)


Letters of Note

Recently I stumbled upon Letters of Note, a compendium of fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Author Shaun Usher writes,

"Letters of Note is a blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence, complete with scans and transcripts of the original missives.
...your input is always welcome. Get in touch via shaun@lettersofnote.com. If you wish to send images, please forward high quality versions where possible, don't attempt to compress them to the point of illegibility and don't crop them to death. If you happen to have an original you wish to post to me using regular mail, let me know via email."
Here you'll find a recent gooder: a hand-written note from a young man's hero. Restores your faith in the world a bit, doesn't it? We are all just people.

Happy reading.


The First Letter Writing Club

Since we moved to Toronto last spring, I have been wanting to replicate Vancouver's Regional Assembly of Text's letter writing gathering in our new city. This month, the time finally came!

Last weekend eight of us met at The Good Neighbour Espresso Bar to write letters to our loved ones. I commandeered a high table and we spilled paper and postcards, pulled out pens, tried out calligraphy, tip-tapped on the typewriter and even shared Nancy Drew stationery (thank you, Mary!) 

In April we'll meet again on the third Saturday of the month. 3-6pm. Everyone welcome. No cost. Supplies provided. 


Mail Bag! A letter from Toronto's First Post Office... sealed with wax, no less

Following my month of letters, I traveled to British Columbia to visit family for 5 weeks. Upon my return, a few days ago, I happened upon a handful of letters in our mailbox. Including this gem, sealed with wax:

"Toronto, 13 February 2012
Dear Ms. Crook,
I listened with interest to your interview on "Spark"and last night...
I thought I should invite you to Toronto's First Post Office this coming Sunday afternoon when the "Post-a-letter Social-activity-club" (Pal-Sac) will be meeting here for their first regularly scheduled third-Sunday of the month sessions. You can find more about this on-line or -- take a chance and turn up!
This is the form that most of the letters in our museum collection take. The font is from the handwriting of Emily Austin, a woman who lived in Texas in the 1830s. It even comes with a couple of ink blots. [blot] It does fail to fade where the quill would have run out...
I am
dear Madam
Your obedient servant
Janet Walters, Postmistress
Postmistress! What a stupendous title.

I can not wait to visit The Town of York Historical Society to peruse their collection of letters (some of which I will share here with you) and to participate in next month's letter writing gathering (this month I am hosting my own... tomorrow: at the Good Neighbour Espresso Bar, 4-6pm.)  


Where, oh where...?

Where, oh where have we been?

It has been a busy month in the land of the interwebs. I (Christina) have been slowly working my way through emails and figuring out the next steps on my online journey. Believe it or not, there are two more letters that have not made it to this blog. They were slow in coming and then Marisa got slammed with work and kids and a temperamental scanner. She hopes to post them in a matter of days.

There is something I must confess: the lateness of the letters are not all Canada Post's fault (though the disorder is fully their's to blame.) Once the letters began rolling in late, I gave myself slack in mailing. Each letter was written more-or-less around the exact date, often first as a thought jotted in my 'off-line' paper journal. Every letter was also sent in numerical order, but a handful were delivered to the mailbox days late. The strangest thing about the letters arriving in such a random order is the fact that I delivered all of them to the same two post boxes each a block from our house: one with a pick-up time of 9am and the other, 5pm. I am curious to know if the pick-up times are inaccurate and if days get skipped.

Which brings me to a fun bit of news...

Upon my return to Toronto (we have been in B.C. visiting family for the past few weeks while my husband, Michael, galavants around the world for work,) I will be conducting two interviews. The first will be with my friend Rob, a letter carrier, who is going to give me a tour of a Canada Post facility. The second is with Matt Lovett, an efficiency expert with Canada Post.

Stay tuned for these next month.


What I learned in 31 days off-line

There is something about the immediacy, the therapeutic clickity-clack of the typewriter that allows for a different kind of writing. The kind that spills from the heart rather than the head. The kind that’s intended for a single, known reader than an large, unknown audience.
Stepping off-line for 31 days got my hands moving, disciplined me to write every single day with or without a four-month-old and a two-year-old clambering about my knees.
It was a luxury I could afford, being home with the kids and not bound to online work through an out-of-house job. But it was a sacrifice.
I had to say goodbye to my online comforts, my go-to time fillers, google maps and Safari searches.
It made me feel small. It showed me I am small.
It taught me how to trust, that the world keeps on turning without my words, without my likes and dislikes.
It revealed the beauty of unplanned moments, reminding me that chance encounters beat out an online connection any day.
I learned that the smartphone check-ins I make multiple times a day are not actual time savers but time suckers. That if I, as a mama-of-two, want to engage with new ideas, read books, study, create — then I have to save up all of those two minute, one minute, ten minute windows and bank them for things I really want to do. Like write poetry. Phone my Grandma. Skype my sister. Read a book.
I remembered that my children are watching and practicing every move I make. Word and deed. For better or worse.
I discovered a peace, a quietness of mind, that I had been hungering for.

And I learned that snail mail gets people’s attention.


The CBC covers the Letters from a Luddite project

Nora Young, host of CBC's national technology show: Spark, emailed me a mere two days after posting her a letter. 
Hi Christina,

I got your letter; thank you. Very interesting project. The funny thing
is, at almost the same time, I came across lettermo.com via Twitter. Are
you aware of this project? There must be something in the air that has
people thinking about unplugging and writing about it!

Do you have a few minutes to chat about Letters From a Luddite on


I’m interviewed about the Letters from a Luddite project along with author Mary Robinette Kowal who began the Month of Letters Challenge. My bit leads off the show... Eep. You can give it a listen here


Letter #26 - Feeling Small

 We are nearing the end of the letters though oddly the end of the month has come and gone.  Christina has returned to her online life and I am still reading her thoughts as they come to my mailbox in little mismatched groups.  Sometimes it is hard to piece it all together, when #26 arrives before #23.  It is not hard to see why Christina worries about this blog... about her carefully crafted thoughts being conveyed to the digital world.  She has lost control and is now relying on a postal system that loses $36 overnight packages (and won't refund you until it arrives at the destination) and takes 17 days (or as little as 3 or 4) to send a tiny piece of paper wrapped in an envelope from Toronto to Vancouver.  Here is a glimpse into her thoughts on feeling small outside of her well-constructed online world.


Letter #25 - Slow

Today was a lazy sick Monday.  I almost didn't check the mail, but eventually I just had to get out into the gorgeous sunshine and go somewhere.  Two letters greeted my in my mailbox - #25 & #26.  I must admit I was surprised to receive two letters in order - what a novelty!  Between napping and tea-drinking I read these letters.  This one resonated with me on this particular day where I felt I had done nothing, wasted my holiday, all because of some virus.  I was annoyed and had wanted to bring the kids on a great adventure, study for a few hours, clean and make a nice dinner.  Instead I cuddled two little boys, read stories, and napped with them.  It was a slow day.  Thank you for reminding me that slow has a place in our hectic world.

Letter #21 - Time as Sacred

plus... Christina tucked in a polaroid of me painting at her 30th birthday party