From The PaperGirl Mailbag (And the PaperGirl Retreat?)

Mail from The Netherlands. How cool is that?? Letter: Marloes, Scan: Me.
Mail from Marloes from the Netherlands! How cool is that?? Letter: Marloes, Scan: Me.


Yesterday, I went to the mighty Merchandise Mart to pick up the PaperGirl mail.

I walked the whole way from school to the Mart and I was glad I did. The day was fine, the Chicago River looked pretty good, and there was a man on the Wells Street bridge smoking a cigar when I passed. (I must admit: I like the smell of a man’s cigar when I’m in a city, crossing a bridge, going to pick up the mail.) And when I got inside the Mart, I felt happy. After all, I have a key to a mailbox that will never contain a gas bill or a credit card statement, only glorious mail from people who like this blog. People like Annabelle, Richard, Katherine, Leah, Ellen, Lorel, Marloes, Deborah, and Liz.

Where do I begin?

Remember a little while back when someone suggested there be a PaperGirl retreat? Or was that me who thought it up? I can’t remember, but let me tell you: That idea keeps rolling around in my brain and I like it rolling around. When I opened the fabulous letters in this last batch, the idea of a P.G. retreat rolled up to me again for a totally selfless reason: You people should meet each other. You really should. The letters I have here in a box at the foot of my desk are written by such interesting, funny, neat people. You’re like, pre-BFFs. Trust me.

I keep fantasizing about what a PaperGirl retreat would be. It would be a quilting/writing retreat. I’d teach patchwork and writing. You could write about your quilts. You could put words on your quilts. You could just write about your life and then, when that got really hard, you could just go sew. That’s like my entire life. And along with workshop instruction and learning and fun, we’d go to the Art Institute and look at art and have some fabulous dinners downtown. We would drink really good coffee at breakfast and we’d go see a show or something at night. But the night wouldn’t go too late because I turn into a pumpkin.

Wouldn’t that be kind of great? I really love the idea of doing a workshop weekend that blends quilting and writing. Look, you heard it here first: If there’s interest, I can schedule a phone call with the one and only Carmen and we could at least think through logistics. How hard could it be? I’ve been teaching patchwork and writing long enough. I’ve been living in Chicago long enough. Hey, Rita and Lily had fun with me — my first testimonials, perhaps!

Anywhoo, it wouldn’t be a PaperGirl Mailbag post without sharing some mail, so let’s have it. Tonight, not a lace swatch or Italian linen (I haven’t forgotten about that!) but a poem, written by the irresistible, one-and-only Leah. It might seem boastful to post this poem for everyone to see, but I can’t resist the opportunity to share its charms, Leah. Rhyming “Wonder Woman-y” and using the word “gravel”? Seriously? Leah, you leave me no choice.  Ahem:

In Chicago’s a sewist named Fons,
With talent to rival magic wands:
She enjoys frequent travel
O’er land, sea, and gravel
She just went to see Claus (not Hans.)

Her interests are varied and many,
Her life’s more busy than any; 
Creating and planning,
Studying and cramming,
She’s a little bit Wonder Woman-y.

From Chicago, New York, or D.C.,
She writes for all others to see;
Her adventures in life
All the joy, all the strife,
On her excellent blog, th’ ‘Ol P.G.’

Reading it’s always a pleasure,
A favorite use of my leisure;
It brightens my days
In so many ways
It’s fun, insightful — a treasure!

That came in the mail! Can you believe it? Amazing.

One last thing: Of course I love to get poems (and hats and chocolate from Seattle and drawings) but I must tell you that this mailbox thing is really for you, too. It’s good to write a letter to someone. It feels good. Don’t worry about writing it “well.” Don’t worry about the perfect card. Just write to me. You might discover something.