Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guest Blogger - David L. Atkinson, Writer

by Bert Carson
This is my friend, David L. Atkinson, of Mirfield, West Yorkshire, UK.  We've been cyber acquaintances for a few years and we even bumped into each other briefly on a Google+ hangout.  Now we're friends.  The shift from cyber acquaintance to friend happened when we began corresponding by the vintage handwritten letter method.  In my last letter to David, I asked if he would write a guest blog for Corresponding Writers.  An hour or so after the letter arrived at his house, he sent the following post.  Enjoy.


It is interesting thinking back over the years about my writing experiences and at times it has been somewhat painful.  As a child attending infant school (5-7 years) I was under the tutelage of a bit of a harridan Mrs Dobson.  It was my misfortune to repeatedly pick up the pencil presented to me in my left hand, which in 1955 was almost a cardinal sin.  I was repeatedly whacked over the knuckles until I picked up the pen in the 'correct' hand.  So it was a wonder I ever wrote with a pen.

Moving on - my father was quite strict about the quality of my written work and if he spotted me making a mistake and crossing out he would make me start again.  He wasn't being unkind but wanting me to do my best, so there was no punishment attached to my making a mistake.

So the early years weren't easy for me writing on paper and the advent of computers was a godsend, but the intervening years had various writing experiences that were memorable.

At the age of 14, I began  dating a girl which led to writing love letters and fifty years on I still remember the thrill of receiving a handwritten reply.

When I  left home to go to college four years later I was partially supported by my parents and as this was before the time that they had a house phone I used to write a letter every week and woe betide if it was late in arriving! This went on for the full three years and for sometime afterwards, because it was 1979, and the birth of the first grandson, when mum and dad finally agreed to have a phone put in the house. Then the letters stopped.

At that point the world began to change and change rapidly.
When I was teaching science in the middle school, the government gave schools a computer. There was a total lack of knowledge and understanding about the machines so schools gave the machines into the care of the science or maths teacher. It was my good fortune that in our school it went to the science department - me!

Really, since then I have rarely written a letter except in anger and yet  I must have missed the experience. It has been a positive action becoming involved in corresponding writers and writing and receiving a letter through the post stamped Huntsville, Alabama. As I understand it there are numerous other people involved in this form of communication. There is something more tangible about a communication that has been physically worked on to paper, each stroke by a human hand holding a fountain pen. It is a real connection and I would advise all who had time to try it for a while, it is every bit as addictive as writing fiction but less on sided!

David L Atkinson

David, thanks for the blog. However, don't think for a minute this counts as a letter. You still owe me one.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cards and Letters - Traveling Ambassadors

by Bert Carson
Today, I'm sending this vintage post card to Angela in Taiwan.  Postcrossing randomly selected her name and furnished a copy of her profile.  As I read it, I noted that she likes vintage post cards and she listed the camel as one of her favorite animals, so naturally I selected a card that fits both those preferences.

Angela also had the following note on her profile telling how she feels about the post cards she receives.

"You might live far from me.  What you see and what you have experienced are totally different from me.  A postcard carries the temperature, the scent, the sound, the culture, the history, and more about your country.  It travels across the continents and arrives in my mailbox.  The day I look at this postcard that you have sent to me, it will be as if I were in your home town.  What a magic moment."

What can I add to that?  Nothing.  So I won't.  Instead I'll rush to get Angela's Camel in the mail and on the way to her mailbox today.

If you'd like to know more about Postcrossing here's a link to a blog post that gives the particulars, complete with links to their site.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


by Bert Carson
photo by Hans-Georg Beyer - Germany
If you follow this blog or my main blog site, you know that I've gotten into a vintage social media (hand written letters) in a big way.  Thanks to InCoMoWri, I've acquired a number of pen pals around the planet.

Now, thanks to Postcrossing, I've established international links with even more real people.  Postcrossing (contact links below) is a free postcard exchange service for people interested in exchanging post cards with other people around the world.

The concept in a sentence is, "Send a post card and receive a postcard back from a random person in the world."

There's just one catch.  Unlike internet social media, once you receive a postcard, the person who sent it stops being a random person to you.  That's not a catch actually.  In fact, its the marvel of Postcrossing.

Here's a real life example of how it works.  Postcrossing gave me Hans-Georg Beyer, of Germany, as a recipient for a postcard.  I read his profile and saw he was interested in Lighthouses.  On June 24th, I sent him a postcard with a photo of Highlands Lighthouse (from the Cape Code lighthouse postcard book I purchased from  When Hans-Georg received the card he registered it on Postcrossing and commented that he liked it.  I received his notification of receipt along with his comment via email.  That meant two things.  First, I could request another address and second, I could respond to Hans-Georg's message via email.

I did both.  The following day I had another comment from Hans-Georg through Postcrossing.  Through our email correspondence, which began with a postcard, I learned that, among a number of other things, he is an amateur photographer who displays his work on fotocommunity.  I asked him if I could use one of his photos to illustrate this blog post and he quickly agreed.

If you would like to know more about Postcrossing, here's the link.  If you want to know more about the creator of Postcrossing and the team that makes it happen, here's the link.

In our impersonal world, which is growing more virtual every day, Postcrossing is a breath of fresh air.  Pick up a few postcards, sign up, request an address, or two, or as many as five to start with, and start writing and mailing.

If you aren't quite sure - take a minute and watch this delightful video of real people around the world mailing postcards.

Five years of smiles @ Postcrossing! from meiadeleite on Vimeo.