Evidently this has been going on since 2015 and I’ve had no idea there even was such a thing! You didn’t either?? Good. I don’t feel quite so late to the party.

What is it?

It stands for: International Correspondance Writing Month – much like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

As the goal of Nanowrimo is to get the participants to complete 50,000 words for their novel in the month of November, the goal for Incowrimo is for each participant to write and send a handwritten note each day for the month of February. It can be either someone they know or someone from the rather large database of addresses collected from all around the word – which is pretty darn cool.

Why do it?

December 2018 will be the first year I won’t handwrite a multiple page letter to a spunky 105 year old lady in Viking, Alberta, Canada. My Auntie Irene isn’t really my aunt but my mother’s aunt. Through our 15 years of handwritten friendship, I’ve learned quite a few things about her.

She was a teacher. At 90 years old, her handwriting was impeccable though she would disagree. She loved to learn and took writing classes in her 90’s just because she could. Knowing I was teacher prompted many stories of her classes in the 60’s and also her mother’s classes in a one room schoolhouse.

I met her once when I was a girl. My family journeyed up to Alberta on vacation, and we stayed on her farm in Irma. I have fond memories driving around the farm in the old brown pickup truck with her granddaughter Kareen and eating Salt & Vinegar potato chips.

Farm life was so different than anything I’d experienced. There was a huge breakfast each morning to hold us over to supper. If we got hungry before then, we found snacks in her huge garden and washed off our choices in the rain barrel. Fresh tomatoes and cucumbers! Could there be anything better??

I have a stack of handwritten cards from her, one from each year of our marriage. She remembered each of our children and would always comment on them from the family picture. As a woman with a farmer’s heart, there would usually be a line or two about the weather especially if it was markedly different from years past. I loved her complete sentences and beautiful slanted letters.

These are the things I know of Auntie Irene.

I knew she wasn’t doing well when I wrote her this past December. Being 105 years old will do that to a body.

Reading between the lines, I knew her heart was to be with her dear husband again and to see Jesus. I told her I was thankful for her caring for me through her letters for so many years and that I was just a tad bit jealous of her getting to meet Jesus. I reminded her that Someday we will have a cup of coffee and a good long chat together for as long as we want.

Then I sent it. I think she was able to read it before she got to meet Him. Out of the 100+ cards I send out each year at Thanksgiving, hers was my favorite. It forced me to slow and sit with my pen and think. Cursive letters and sentences would flow and I found myself talking to her page after page. I will miss that.

The Challenge…

For the month of February, write and mail one card a day. There will be days I will complete more than one to keep up with my challenge – as I did with my 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. There is a address exchange over here if you’re stumped for people or you’d like some mail of your own!

Letters matter. Write them and send them. They will someday be cherished far more deeply than flat one-dimensional emails. Those who read your handwriting will have a piece of you to remember.

If your writing isn’t what you’d like it to be, practice! (I know I probably sound like a teacher here.) Practice making those cursive letters. Print if you like it better.

Just write those cards and make sure to send them! Have fun writing and sending to people you know and even a few you don’t.

The reach of our words and the timing may have eternal benefits or it might just make someone smile.

Happy Incowrimo 2018!!