It’s the last day of the month and do you know what that means? Tomorrow is a big day, so Julie and I are spending today getting ready to send the newsletter out for the members of the League of Extraordinary Penpals AND we are getting ready to open up subscriptions for the La Papierre SSS!
We recently received a fun ad from Alec in Japan and I want to share it with you…
You can email Alec at email@example.com to get in touch about becoming penpals.
I have a few things in common with Alec, so that is fun. I played the drums when I was in high school, I love postcards, I am part of the LGBTQIA community and I started corresponding with penpals in 2013 too!
This brings me to a question, I want to know how long you’ve been writing letters. Head on over to our Facebook page and answer our question!
Julie and I have been binge watching so much Grey’s Anatomy that we are currently feeling like we are living in Seattle. It hasn’t helped that it’s been rainy and dreary here for over a week. Julie’s having dreams about Grey’s Anatomy characters. And sometimes I find myself wondering what it would be like to be BFF’s with Chief Webber or Dr. Bailey. (PLEASE NO SPOILERS, we are only at the end of Season 7.)
It’s safe to say that Julie and I value a good story. So does Christopher; I can’t wait for you to read more about him!
Please tell us about you!
My name is Christopher A. Liccardi (I used to think the “A” was for awesome), I am 41 in May, but plan to start going backwards until I hit 29 again. I live in Nutley New Jersey, which is 20 minutes outside New York City, with my wife Rebecca and our dog Cisco, Rabbit Parker (the hairy brown football) and Cockatiel, Chester (in bird years, he’s as old as Mr. Miyagi).
I am an Information Security Engineer – which roughly translates to computer super geek and cyber cop. I work in the field of forensics and security on a digital level. In my spare time, I write… fiction, mostly, but I spend a fair amount of time working on penpal letters as well. I love being outside, especially on rainy days and love to be around horses, although that doesn’t happen much these days. I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Universe, tattoos, all things science, LoTR and Stephen King, baking and fountain pens.
Rebecca and I on our wedding day.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Fun, sarcastic, obsessive, quick-witted, kind, big-hearted, impulsive, geeky, romantic, do-gooder <– is that still a word used today?
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
I first got in to penpalling when I started with LEP. I had a penpal when I was younger. We had to write to them when I was in grade school, but we lost touch before high school ended. I don’t recall much about her, other than she wanted to move to the US, because that’s where all the pretty people lived.
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
I write to and receive letters from eight penpals currently. All of them are from LEP and all of them are AWESOME! The initial letters back and forth are what you would expect, but once we get to know each other, we tend to send random things in the mail, like cereal box covers as post cards and artwork drawn on napkins and scraps of paper. Those are the things I love most about having friends that write rather than send text messages and IM’s on Facebook. It’s the randomness that makes this fun. I have one penpal in particular who can be as wordy as I can be and her letters are always fun. Just like having friends you see on a regular basis, I have one or two that send mail several times a week and the letters always make me smile and laugh.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
The stories! It’s always about the stories. People’s lives are so intricate and detailed… the texture of a perspective and the finite recollection of someone’s memories are small bits of fiction, wrapped in a cloak of truth. I love to hear about and to share childhood stories of times remembered. The expression in someone’s letter is almost physical… I can see the happiness and sadness in a story about a brother or a friend that impacted their lives. It’s cool to share with someone on such a deep and personal level.
Writing a penpal reply late night in the hospital.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
I am looking for people to share themselves – what a particular day was like or a thing that someone saw that made them laugh or cry. Something that they want to share with someone that is personal or that has impact. I like to do the same thing. Tell me about a day in the life, or an adventure you found yourself in that scared the hell out of you. Those are the things that bring people together and at the same time, separate us from the strangers who we pass every day in the street or the coffee shop.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
The freedom to express myself in written word and with washi tape and glue and fountain pen ink… I like the carefree way you can go-to-town on a letter and the envelope and it all becomes poetry in words.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
English, bad English and truck driver potty-mouth English.
Stationery art I created on a whim.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
With a new penpal, the initial letter takes FOREVER to write – and by forever, I mean at least 3 days. When I write without thinking about it, I can knock out 20k words in a few hours. When writing to a new penpal, every word gets measured. I have an old barn door that I converted into a desk. It’s my private space. It’s overcrowded and far too small, but it’s where my “stuff” is. My letters tend to be long – no two ways about that. I do send short, funny stuff to a few penpals (see cereal boxes as post cards) but I generally have a lot to say and I like to answer all questions posed in a letter from a penpal. I try to write back within a week, but sometimes that is a problem.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
No, dammit! I haven’t gotten any weird requests from penpals, yet. Although, I am certainly hoping to :-) Someone once mentioned dirt in a Facebook post about a penpal… I might ask someone for a tube of dirt from Ireland or Scotland one of these days. If you can mail a potato and a coconut to someone, dirt should be pretty easy.
Picture of my writing desk.
Have you met any of your penpals?
Not yet. I believe a member from the LEP was talking about a meetup for the NYC/NJ area people but I haven’t seen the invite go out yet. I would be interested though.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
Certainly. I would love to have more penpals. Email me.
As I close, I’m going to accept this Pacific Northwest weather we are experiencing. I’ll keep my coffee cup filled and put on a sweater. The grey rainy days tend to put me in a reflective mood. I will embrace the dreariness and use it to daydream and think about this beautiful life I’m living.