Posts tagged with "mail" - Faerye Net 2009-02-23T18:55:41+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Postal Predicament 2009-02-23T18:55:41+00:00 2009-02-23T18:56:06+00:00 <p>So I took a walk in the rain today down to my local post office. As I&#8217;ve mentioned, <a href="" target="links">I am fond of the postal service</a>. I like ink, paper, pens, letters, stamps and post. I also like my local post office. Today I hied me hither because I was walking that way anyway, and because it might give my short story submission a few hours&#8217; jump over home pickup. My carefully paper-clipped story, my <span class="caps">SASE</span>, and my signed cover letter were tucked into the traditional manila envelope, laid on my dear little home postal scale, and affixed with no fewer than five stamps (like <a href="" target="links">my colleague Tina</a> I like messing with the stamps) in order to reach the exact postage for a &#8216;flat&#8217; (big envelope.)</p> <p>Today, however, escorting my carefully addressed short fiction submission to the &#8216;stamped mail&#8217; slot, I noticed a sign that said <em>Bring packets and parcels to the main desk.</em> The item in my hand resembled a &#8216;packet&#8217;, so I strolled over to the desk and approached the postal employee &#8212; not the one with whom I usually chat. &#8220;Am I not allowed to put this in the slot?&#8221; quoth I. The lady took the envelope full of hopes and dreams and slapped it on the scale. &#8220;I already weighed it&#8230;&#8221; I protested. She pinched my hopes and dreams appraisingly, then looked at me over her glasses.</p> <p>&#8220;Does this have anything rigid?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;No. Just a paperclip.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s rigid!&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;What?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That&#8217;s rigid. It&#8217;s like a key.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;But&#8230;every short fiction writer in the world is probably in trouble,&#8221; I babbled. &#8220;Editors don&#8217;t like staples. Are staples okay?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Staples are fine. It&#8217;ll be 34 cents more.&#8221;</p> <p>I nodded and managed to buy the stamps I needed before wandering away, feeling (and doubtless looking) poleaxed. If this is true, it means almost <em>every postal submission I&#8217;ve ever sent out</em> has been underposted. I imagined that every sub had arrived solely by dint of luck. I imagined my pristine manila envelopes arriving in New York stamped with an angry and inconsiderate &#8220;<span class="caps">POSTAGE</span> <span class="caps">DUE</span>&#8221;! I shuddered. And <a href="" target="links">tweeted</a>.</p> <p>Then I rebelled. Seriously, if my postal submissions are underpaid, but no one notices and they&#8217;re getting there just fine, are the clips really a problem? Wouldn&#8217;t the editors have objected if they were paying 34 cents a pop for the privilege of turning me down? So here I sit, bending one of my largest paper clips easily to and fro between my thumbs. It is nothing like a key. The <span class="caps">USPS</span> <a href="" target="links">website</a> prohibits items in flats that do &#8220;not bend easily&#8221; or &quot; cause more than 1/4 inch variation in thickness&quot; &#8212; to my eye, this clip is fine.</p> <p>What do you think, fellow writers? Are you willing to pony up an extra buck every three submissions on this nebulous pretext? Do you think my post office is being overly rigid? Anyone know an editor who takes paper submissions well enough to ask whether they get &#8220;postage due&#8221; often?</p> In praise of post 2009-01-28T13:02:53+00:00 2009-01-28T13:03:26+00:00 <p>If, like me, you have a fondness for postal mail and find paper letters a particularly meaningful way to connect with others, perhaps you will appreciate this report from the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake:<br /> <blockquote>&#8230;William Burke, the postmaster&#8217;s secretary, recounted what happened when he took a U.S. Mail sign from a streetcar barn and mounted it on the top of a car he had pressed into service to collect the mail.<br /> <blockquote>&#8220;The effect was electrical. As people saw the machine bearing the mail coming, they cheered and shouted in a state bordering on hysteria. We told them where the collections would be made in the afternoon and asked that they spread the news. As we went into the Presidio there was almost a riot, and the people crowded around the machine and almost blocked its progress. It was evidently taken as the first sign of rehabilitation and, as it proceeded, the mail automobile left hope in its wake&#8230;&#8221;</blockquote>&#8212; Simon Winchester, <em>A Crack in the Edge of the World</em></blockquote></p> <p>Perhaps we take the mail for granted, relying as we so often do now on faster, more ethereal transmissions. But think about it &#8212; for under two bits (for no money at all, in the generous wake of the earthquake) a man or woman you do not know will take your message and ensure it gets to your friends and family. Your piece of paper, your artefact, can cross all the great miles of this country safely and promptly, and assure your family with its very weight and reality that all is well. That&#8217;s civilization.</p> Does this really work on anyone? 2008-06-16T10:31:11+00:00 2008-06-16T10:31:11+00:00 <p>Since I&#8217;ve been a member of the <a href="">World Wildlife Fund</a> since age 14, my name has gotten on the lists of many conservation organizations. So much so, in fact, that I no longer need to buy return address labels or jot pads. Ever.</p> <p>Regardless of the superfluity of these items that I have accumulated, I save them and I am vaguely pleased by their appearance in my mailbox; it isn&#8217;t just another thing to recycle. I&#8217;m not sure the address labels will have any effect on which organization I add to my giving when my ship comes in, but I have a vague goodwill as a result of them. So they sort of work.</p> <p>You know what doesn&#8217;t work? Putting a celebrity&#8217;s name on the return address label. This week I got yet another letter from Leonardo DiCaprio touting some conservation org. He&#8217;s the biggest offender, but I&#8217;m not excited by getting mail from Paul Newman, either (sorry, sister sledge). In fact, in all my years, I remember being excited by this tactic precisely once: when I was eleven. &#8220;Mommy, Mommy, Bill Clinton wrote to you!&#8221; She smiled indulgently and I learned about boring form letters with star-power return addresses.</p> <p>Does this work on anyone? Is there some sliver of the population so DiCaprio-loving that they will do whatever he broadcasts? Because by sending them to me, they are only moving paper from &#8216;new&#8217; to &#8216;postconsumer&#8217;. And there are never, ever, free address labels in a star-power begging letter.</p>