My boyfriend and I have known each other for 3 years today! We celebrated with all you can eat sushi and we’re going to watch a movie after I post this week’s interview on my blog. So let’s get to it!
Please tell us about you!
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to introduce myself; my name is Linsey A. Daman. I’m an American entrepreneur who lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri. I started the Cultural Arts Center of St. Louis, LLC about four years ago in my home office. It has been a very long four years with many trials and tribulations trying to get this company off the ground. As many business owners know, it isn’t easy starting from scratch. Fresh out of college, I began my company with no contacts, no baseline and little to no financial support. So the journey began and I started slowly collecting one client at a time. One client turned into two and so on and so forth. Eventually I was overrun with clients asking for my services (dance performances) but quickly I realized that my life was heading into a different direction. After the rush of the Cinco de Mayo season with everyone celebrating this festive holiday, I started to question if I wanted more out of life than just dancing. My answer was yes! Please know, I adore dancing and have been dancing before I could even walk but it was time for a change. Listening to my instincts, I began writing and soon after published three books “Bridging St. Louis,” “Water Blue,” and “Windershin.”
A professional photo of me dancing Flamenco during the week of Cinco de Mayo.
In Winter 2012, I decided to use my dance skills but in a way that everyone could enjoy rather than limiting myself to a St. Louis audience. Hence the recordings started of my Flamenco dancing and now the titles “Flamenco Thunder,” “Flamenco in the Wild,” and soon to be “Sounds of Cayman” are on Amazon for sale. Having my audible footwork mixed with drums is a wonderful way to send my talent to other nations. Several of my postal pen pals have already requested to listen to the material and are excited to tell others about my works. My pen pals have really encouraged me and some have even offered their assistance on certain audio projects. For example, there is a lovely young lady in Stratford upon Avon who has offered to paint or draw the art for my disk cover. I recently wrote her back informing her that a great collaboration can be had since she is desiring to have her art work discovered and I’m desiring to have my instrumentals found as well. Working together with my pen pal will allow us both to use our talents and make a project together. A wonderful collaboration in the making! This was only one offer I received from a pen pal; I would love to see the future potential from other correspondents. The options are endless! Of course, I’ve only referred to professional benefits from pen paling but of course there are many personal friendships and future relationships that could be discovered as time unfolds. Let the adventure begin!
Dancing with my blue sombrero.
To contact me or for additional information…
Linsey A. Daman
2589 Sunrise Drive
Eureka, MO 63025
Website : http://www.cacstlouis.com/
Photography is a great passion of mine and while studying the flora and fauna
on Grand Cayman I took these photographs. This photo is also used on the
front cover of my instrumental disk called “Sounds of Cayman”
that I recorded during my recent research trip there in January 2013.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
A photo I took while at Queen Elizabeth’s II Botanical Park on Grand Cayman.
This photo is featured on the inside of my “Sounds of Cayman” audio recording.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
I’ve been seriously pen paling via standard postal mail for several months now. However I’ve always sent letters, postcards, etc to family members and friends in the past (but I always knew these people prior to writing). It’s been lately that I’ve joined several correspondent sites, address lists and International contact exchanges to try to broaden my horizons on meeting people from around the world. My objective was both professional and personal as I truly believe there is a lot to be had from a good pen pal or correspondent. Typically I enjoy writing to individuals outside of America to gain more of an International perspective from either particular country. I don’t favor one country over another and welcome letters and correspondences from all nations.
But to answer the question of how I started, it had a lot to do with our current email / computer era. I truly feel that if someone takes the time to sit and write a handwritten letter then they are serious about maintaining that friendship / relationship. Compared to email which everyone can access almost immediately and is completely free. My general rule of thumb is… please take the time to get to know me and spend a little effort to in this process. Your words and sentiments will go much further having them handwritten on special stationary rather than a cold, fast quick email of nothing. It is honestly amazing to read some of these letters and greetings cards I receive from strangers in the mail because quite honestly most of them are ten times nicer, more caring and thoughtful than anything I’ve ever received from “supposed” loved ones from the past. My largest complaint with ex boyfriends was the lack of “thank you” notes after a present was given or even holiday cards / valentine cards. Finally after begging and explaining my case over and over again, then I would receive a reluctant letter in the mail but it doesn’t have the same meaning when you “beg” a letter out of someone. I’ve always wanted to find that special someone who would be polite enough to write a “thank you” note after a birthday party or a special event. Of course, there doesn’t have to be “thank you” notes for every occasion but once in a while it would be nice to be formally thanked and know that they really care. Again I’ve received more warmth and compassion from strangers half-way around the world than I have from any of my ex’s put together. So if you are reading this and would like to get to know me better as a person, please take the time to know me because I’ll take the equal amount of time in return.
Grand Cayman is the only place in the world that has blue iguanas.
This little fellow is a blue iguana even though he doesn’t look so blue.
Their skin color can change depending on the climate, mating season and also
if he is sick or under the weather. You can tell he is a true blue iguana because
all of them are “tagged” with blue beads inside Queen Elizabeth’s II Botanical Park.
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
There are two women in England that I frequently exchange postal letters with and both are quite friendly and willing to suggest ideas, offer help and simply be a good friend. Both of these women sent me Christmas cards for this past holiday season and once I opened them and saw all of the glitter I was smitten. How could you not want to write back to a glittery Christmas card?
There is another woman in Norway who is quite charming to speak with as we normally discuss both of our travel (past and future) plans together. She works directly for Post Norway so it only makes sense that she is interested in postal mail. She sends the best envelopes of anyone with matching stationary!
My most unique pen pal is a married Korean woman living in South Korea. She sent me a packet of corn tea. First and foremost, let me say that I’m guessing because I can’t read Korean but it would appear to be a packet of tea but it has a picture of corn on the front. Which then makes me wonder if they drink corn tea in Korea? Does anyone know about this? If so, I would love to hear from you because I would like to know the significance behind this little present. Of course I’ve written back to ask her that very question but am still awaiting a response. I guess the mail couriers in Korea are much slower than they are here because it’s been quite a while waiting on the response.
Korean Corn Tea from South Korea – most unique item yet.
There have been pen pals here and there but the ones mentioned above truly stand out in my mind. Since I speak French, I do have several letters from individuals in France and Belgium. I have received a letter entirely in Spanish from Argentina and one in Italian from Italy. I eagerly responded in Spanish but had a very hard time with the Italian pen pal because his handwriting was extremely hard to read so it was quite a challenge to make out any of this message. Ultimately it was too difficult for me to even understand and therefore I didn’t write back. Normally I always write back everyone in all languages but due to the fact that the entire letter was completely and totally illegible I finally had to draw the line and say “sorry.”
Occasionally I get those prison letters with the numbers marked at the top. Each has come from men in different correctional facilities in the states. I’ve never received a letter from a woman in prison but given time I’m sure my name will be added to more unwanted lists and traded around (despite my polite disclaimer at the bottom about no letters from prisons). There are the seldom letters from young boys in the Middle East who want to commit suicide due to the current war situation and for some reason feel the need to write me a post card or full letter explaining their depression. You can surely assume these suicide notes along with the prison letters are not responded to with any sort of reply. I truly only wanted to correspond with law-abiding citizens and have no desire to be a psychologist for anyone seeking help through writing.
I’m also not looking for game playing or others hiding behind their words. I strongly suspected two Norwegian men of being the same person but with two different pen names. Has anyone else every experienced this two names / same person scam? If so, I would love to hear your case because I’m sure I’m not the only person that this has happened to before. It is pretty obvious when the handwriting is similar and also the wording, same expressions and arrogant tone reflected through their words. Ninety-nine percent of all of my pen pals are friendly, sympathetic and wanting to write. I suspected these two men because they were both so unwilling to write that it made me wonder “why bother?” Why bother writing to someone if you really don’t want to and then tell the person that they had many more things more important than writing. Well that didn’t make me feel so good to receive that letter. Then suspecting them of this two person / same name scam it wasn’t hard to figure out because both men living in very close proximities to each other were truly hateful and detested the world. Again, why would I want to correspond with people who hate the world? Please note, this negative spin on writing is extremely rare and has only been one case out of many others that I correspond with frequently.
A photo inside Queen Elizabeth’s II Botanical Park.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
Traveling is my favorite topic because I ask each person about their country and what tourists normally see in their country. After that question, then I go further and inquire about what tourists typically don’t see and how to get on the off-the-beaten path. Personally when I travel I like to avoid the big crowds and rush or tourists; so it only seems like a natural question to ask about their peak season and where / when to avoid. I’m waiting back to hear from my English friend who just adores Malta. Since I’ve never been there I’m curious to hear her thoughts on this place.
When we aren’t discussing traveling, typically my pen pals and I are discussing ways we can help each other in either professional or personal manners. As I mentioned before the collaboration between art and music for making a CD come to life is a wonderful idea. I can’t wait to explore future friendships to see where things evolve.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
Lively conversations, fresh ideas and an International perspective. Each person is going to bring something different to the table so why not listen and see if their ideas can truly help you in life.
Favorite envelope from Sweden but has African Sahara animals on the front.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
It is nice knowing that there are people out there that truly want to write letters and get to know you as a person. Honestly I gave up hope thinking there were traditional letter writers out there and basically packed away any stationary I had, thinking it was outdated. But then one day I stumbled across this idea believing that there must be other people out there like me who enjoy the true art of handwriting. When I did a search online I found out that several sites exist for finding postal mail pals. I was slightly shocked to see how many people wanted to write on paper but also extremely excited at the same time. For so long, I’ve always been made fun of by my ex boyfriends believing to be “outdated” or simply too traditional. Well as you can see I’m not the only person in the world who likes to write real letters on paper. I’m proud that I stuck to my guns on this and still strongly support the age of classic letter writing. Call me traditional if you will but some of the best friendships and most rewarding relationships are those crafted with time and care. It’s these two elements combined that form hand written letters. Overall, I would rather wait and have a few solid friendships via postal mail than have hundreds of one-line meaningless notes on the computer. Why should anyone settle for a fake friendship when you can hold out for true companionship that bountifully comes from all corners of this world.
A Collection of letters from all of my most favorite pen pals.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
English (Native), French (BA – College), Italian, Spanish and I could read a letter in Portuguese but responding would be challenging. Currently most of my pen pals speak English but there are a few that speak other languages as well.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I usually read and respond to all letters in my home-office. I’ve been using my company’s stationary and letterhead lately, unless it’s Christmas or a special holiday. It’s a beautiful cream textured paper with my company’s name raised in a rich deep blue at the top.
Regarding time, I honestly keep it open-ended because for some people a one page response will suffice. However others that I connect better with might receive a five to seven page response. The length of the letter clearly demonstrates how much we have in common or are willing to share about each other. The time itself just depends again on the length and willingness to share each other’s personal thoughts. In regards to return time, I typically try to respond with a written response as soon as possible. Typically my reply will be mailed the next day and hopefully should move our conversation along swiftly.
Recycled Herbal Paper that I keep on my desk at all times.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
There was one man with a banjo who wanted to play this instrument for a music recording. Well as we all know that Flamenco is typically preformed with a Spanish guitar and not a banjo but I was willing to keep an open mind. Maybe I could use the banjo for another project separate from the traditional Flamenco. He indicated he was very single and most girls aren’t interested in a banjo-playing man. He said it was a “dorky” instrument and he hoped that maybe I would be mature enough to appreciate all music styles and instruments. I honestly gave it some thought and went to look up his name on the computer to see if he had a profile anywhere. Well sure enough his name, current location and everything came right up on Facebook. Along with his wife’s picture and two children. So what about the flirting with me and saying that most girls don’t find the banjo attractive, but maybe you will? Clearly he was lying and was hoping that I wouldn’t check up on him. Personally I thought he believed that most people who write letters might not use or want to use computers and therefore he could indicate he was single and no one would be the wiser. However, just because I’m old-fashioned and enjoy writing traditional letters doesn’t mean I can’t work a computer and type in his name. I was honestly shocked when I found out he had a wife and children because he kept saying over and over again that he was single. Obviously I had no reply for this banjo.
Occasionally I will get a desperate begging letter from a man asking me to be his beloved girlfriend. Obviously these letters also are not responded to and recycled. I did have one man in prison write me and tell me the reason for why he is in jail is because it was the detective’s fault. I wonder what the detective would say in response.
A photo inside Queen Elizabeth’s II Botanical Park.
Have you met any of your penpals?
Not yet but it would be lovely to visit some of them in the future. Stratford upon Avon would be lovely to see if it lives up to its expectations. I’ve heard such wonderful things about this area; it would be nice to see with my own eyes one of these days.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
Definitely! I would love to add more correspondents to my growing list of pen friends. I’m not particular about gender, age or anything of that nature.
Thank you Linsey!