We didn’t get to post much on the blog last week. Sadly, we spent quite a bit of time at the hospital. I’m so thankful that Julie is feeling better now, but she has been struggling with some stomach problems. One of the biggest factors in helping her feel better has been water. Water is so crucial to our health. So let’s all commit to upping our water intake… to health!
Today makes the start of a new week, and what better way to start a week than to publish a new interview. I’m super excited to introduce you to Tami!
Please tell us about you!
Hey there! My name is Tami Orr and I am a mom to four, wife (to one!), thrift store addict, full time writer, avid reader, and snail mail fan. I write for a living, and am the author of more than 400 nonfiction books to date for readers of all ages. Words truly are my life, between the ones I write, the ones I read, and the ones I include in long letters to others. If you’d like to email me to say hi (I far prefer letters!), my email address is email@example.com. My blog is http://amothermusings.blogspot.com.
Living two hours away from the coast is amazing.
It is the best place to go for writing inspiration.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Wordmonger, Goodwill addict, mail art wannabe, happy heathen and blessed woman.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
I have been penpalling since I was about nine or ten years old. My first letters were sent to celebrities (ah, Donny Osmond!) and later to authors I admired. I wrote to some faraway relatives and friends, and then began penpalling in earnest in 1986, as a mama. I have been doing so since.
My family and I love to go camping and this moment is an example of why.
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
I’ve had as many as 250 penpals at once—I wrote to a bunch of prisoners for years. Then life got way too busy for that many and the number of penpals decreased as the number of children increased. Right now I have around 80, I’d say. While there are a number of people who are against writing people in prison, I have found some of the deepest connections this way. I wrote to one man for 25 years. He watched my children grow through photos and became like family. He was truly special to me and I still mourn his death from cancer a few years ago. I write to 15 or 20 people in other parts of the world and enjoy the chance to learn about different cultures and traditions.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
Oh goodness—books is always good, daily life and family, thoughts and dreams. Almost anything other than politics or religion works for me.
My husband I have been together for 32 years—and it just keeps getting better.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
I truly want someone who is looking for longer letters, rather than quick occasional note. I specifically want ones who will ask me questions and answer those I ask. I don’t want a litany of their daily chores. I don’t want TOO much info, as in please tell me about your family, and I will do the same. But please don’t spend two pages telling me your niece’s and nephew’s birthdays and favorite colors. Give the basics and we can expand from there!
The men in my life—husband and sons.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
Because I work from home, I tend not to get out and socialize face to face as much as some people do. Instead my friendships and socializing tend to happen through the mail. I love walking out to the mailbox and finding letters. I love reading them and answering them in my head, excited to have spent time with a friend. I tend to send out a lot of tuck ins and gifts, and am thrilled when I get something in return that I wasn’t expecting.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
Assuming you want me to understand it, either very, very, very (think toddler level) French or English.
My youngest who makes sure I laugh multiple times a day.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
If my darlin daughter is in town (currently she is living in Brisbane, Australia), one of our favorite places to write is a coffee shop, sipping mochas, nibbling on a treat, and covering the table with paper, stickers, address labels, envelopes, stationery, cards, and pens. We are almost always asked what we are doing and love the chance to remind people that letter writing is still a wonderful hobby. Since she is gone for months, my favorite place has become the far end of the couch, lap desk covered in aforementioned supplies, my right leg thrown over my handsome hubby, and a silly fun movie on TV. I usually take no less than two weeks and no more than four to respond to a letter. I send everything from fun postcards to “book letters”, or journals that come with letters, pics, cartoons, and anything else I can think of. I tend to do a lot of mail art, so if I know you don’t shred or throw away your incoming mail, I will probably send one your way.
One of my favorite activities to do while camping is catching up on letter writing.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
Actually, the strangest thing that has ever happened to me is that I have been “dropped” by people who are religious and cannot accept that I am not. Some I’ve written to for years and we’ve had many things in common but that one difference is enough to be dropped. One yelled at me for three pages because I used the word “secular” and called me names, but ended with “I’ll always love you.” No thanks.
Have you met any of your penpals?
I have… about six or so. It’s always a surprise, despite photos and letters over the years. Face to face is a different experience entirely.
My best friend and daughter before she went off to explore the Land Down Under.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
Always! If you’re interested, you can reach me at:
18014 SE Kelly St.
Portland, OR 97236
I am finishing up my morning coffee as I publish this interview. And then… I will go grab my water bottle. I’m drinking a minimum of 2 liters a day now.
Have a happy hydrated week!