Saturday, November 29, 2014

Giving The Power Of Words

When we were young, my older brother and I loved to get mail. I can remember races to the death involving so much illegal tackling and shirt holding that we would have been banned from the NFL for life.

Just to see if we got any mail.

You can imagine the mountain of mail a six and nine year old child would get on a normal business day. So, after the winner of the Battle Royale--bloodied and bruised, and walking with a severe limp--would bring the mail to dear old Mom, the disappointment on our injured faces would be almost comical.

But still we loved to get mail. So much so, that we would fight over any junk mail that would be shuffled in with the bills, correspondence and catalogs. As Mom would flip through it all, two youngsters, jockeying for position while covertly throwing elbows, would ask, “Can I have that?” Until a chorus of Canihavethat?Canihavethat?Canihavethats echoed after even the slightest twitch of her fingers.

So, necessity being the mother of invention, (and my mom the most inventive of them all) in her infinite wisdom decreed that forever forward I would be known as Occupant and my brother, Resident.

With our new titles, our Canihavethats turned into “C’mon, occupant” or “resident resident resident” being beseeched under our breaths with more inner cosmic force than the worst Vegas slot machine addict ever known. Fingers, toes, legs and eyes were all crossed to endear ourselves to the luck and mail gods of the universe who, obviously, mandated the writing of "occupant" or "resident" on all junk mail.

Hardened gamblers at the racetrack had nothing on us. The anticipation as our eyes watched Mom’s every movement while she flipped through the stack. The gleeful dances of the one who got lucky. The sick disappointment of the one who walked away empty handed. To live or die at the whim of companies’ advertising department, only to start it all over the next day.

Good times.

I relate that embarrassing childhood story to punctuate the power of the written word. As authors, we're already well aware of that power and strive to wield it as we create our stories. But more specifically, I refer to the power of a letter. The written word purposefully given to another.

Authors use their time and talent to entertain and inform the masses. They can also use those same skills to lift the spirit, boost morale and deliver hope to another person. There are lots of websites that offer that opportunity to anyone, not just writing professionals.

Anysoldier.com, Soldiersangels.org, uso.org, letterstosoldiers.org, are all organizations that provide addresses for you to write a soldier stationed in a combat zone. Saying thank you, showing your appreciation, or just a friendly hello are all powerful ways for authors to use their gifts.

You can write anonymous love letters to people who are going through terrible tragedies.

Or, if you’re brave enough, you can even write an inmate. WriteAPrisoner.com will set you up with a male or female inmate to become pen pals with.

Just a little reminder  during this time of thanks and giving that the power of the written word distributed to the masses or to a single person each create an impact in their own unique way. So if you’re looking for a special project, and volunteering at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or food bank isn't up your alley, here is a way in which you can make a difference without even having to leave your own home.

And who knows, you just may inspire a gleeful victory dance from the recipient.

29 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

haha that was a neat way to let you both have some junk mail. The power or words can sure go a long way.

Carol Kilgore said...

Excellent ideas. Your mother was a smart woman, and it's good to see you're following in her footsteps.

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Wonder idea, and you're mom was smart. Loved the story, funny the things little kids get so excited over.

Christine Rains said...

What an awesome idea your mom had. I've always loved getting mail and so does my son. I might be one of the rare folks that still sends regular letters. It's amazing just how one letter can make a big difference in a person's day.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your mother was very clever. I don't think kids get over the joy of receiving mails for a long time until they start receiving bills in the mail.

Lexa Cain said...

The story about you and your brother was hilarious! I never liked writing letters when I was little. My mom had to force me to write thank-yous for presents. (Yes, she was right and I was wrong.) I like writing emails though. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Your mom sounds fabulous!!
Letters are powerful things - and real mail in a real mailbox can be pure magic :)

Al Diaz said...

I still get excited when I get mail the traditional way. And this is an splendid idea! I shall check the links you have here. Thanks for the suggestions!

The Happy Whisk said...

You are very good at writing, posts. I've said that before, but I wanted to say it again.

Well told.

Chrys Fey said...

I loved to get mail as a child, too! It made me feel special and grownup.  Your mom was creative. That’s a great idea!

Kate Larkindale said...

That's a great story. I always had tons of pen pals growing up, so I got a lot of mail. My sister didn't like writing letters, so she got jealous, but didn't do anything about it. Do people still have pen pals? I guess the internet has kind of made that obsolete.

Liz Blocker said...

Listen, Occupant, I can hook you up. Really. I can hand over all of my junk mail - and best of all, I'll even do it for FREE. Sound good??

;) What a great story. "I can remember races to the death involving so much illegal tackling and shirt holding that we would have been banned from the NFL for life." Love that!!

I also love the anonymous love letters! I am now obsessed with that website.

Sherry Ellis said...

I used to like getting mail when I was a kid, too. Although I don't think my brother and I ever fought over it!

Loni Townsend said...

Great reminder on sharing the joy of the season. :)

My daughter is at the age where she loves getting our junk mail. Every piece comes with a question of, is that for me? She loves opening the mailbox, even though she's too short to reach inside.

Melissa said...

Too funny! My kids still fight over who goes to the box and gets the mail. They don't fight over the junk mail, though.

This is a great post--both the funny part and the heartfelt part. :)

debi o'neille said...

Excellent post and ideas. My daughter gives her son lots of junk mail, and he feels pretty popular. :-)
Deb

cleemckenzie said...

I get excited over just seeing the mail truck come down our road. And now that emails pour in, I'm in heaven everyday! Loved your story.

Medeia Sharif said...

I loved looking through my parents' mail, junk mail included, and receiving pen pal letters in school. Nowadays, if my phone is beeping nearby, I itch to read my email.

Empty Nest Insider said...

This is such a wonderful story! I love how your clever mom solved the problem by calling you "Occupant," and your brother "Resident!" Smart and funny! Great idea to send letters to soldiers!

Julie

Delynn Royer said...

Great post (as always!) with some great suggestions for this time of year. We all love mail, and the personal snail mail kind is the best if you still get it. I remember when I looked forward to checking the mailbox for personal gems each day. Now, thanks to email, our traditional mail stream has pretty much dwindled down to bills and mountains of junk mail.

Lynda R Young said...

Your mum was very wise.
I loved this post.

A Beer For The Shower said...

Remember when getting e-mail used to be a joy? "Ooh, an e-mail, I wonder who's it from?" Now it's just, "Ugh, another e-mail alert. Who spammed me this time?"

I think having a penpal would be cool. I can't remember the last time I got anything I actually wanted to open in the mail.

Ava Quinn said...

Thanks, everyone! And thanks to those of you who actually read to the extremely long end! Lol. One of my longer posts. And yes, my mom is a creative, out-of-the-box thinker!

Mina Lobo said...

Dang, girl; you reeled me in with humor and snared me with the end. Very well done indeed. :-)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Writing to a soldier at Christmas is a wonderful thing to do. My cousin served in Iraq and those guys treasured letters, books, anything we could send them.

Robin said...

I loved your story. I find it comical that NOW I hope that nothing in the mail box is for me. It's a relief when it can easily be dispatched to someone else... or the garbage (posthaste!).

Of course, the reason for that last is that letter writing is a nearly forgotten art. Who receives anything but bills anymore? About two weeks ago a card arrived for me. I was stumped. Too early for Christmas. Not my birthday. What could it be? One of the members of my church choir took the time to send a "thank you for helping me with my notes" card. It was very sweet. It reminded me that is power in the word, power in a simple thank you. If you don't want to write a stranger, try a friend. You have no idea how much it will lift them up!!!

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

brilliant! and getting mail makes my life better--I have a few pen pals and getting a real letter i can hold is invaluable in today's world. Nothing beats real mail!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I used to love getting mail too. I still do actually- one of the highlights of the holiday season is the cards.

I'll have to bookmark this page and start sending some mail.

PS your mother was such a clever lady!

Ava Quinn said...

So glad you liked the letters idea! Have a fun holiday, ladies!!

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