A Circle Journey

Two friends here, Gail and Susie, each reminded me (separately, in totally different ways) of the value of snail mail.  I will admit. I love it. As a writer, a lover of words, paper, pens, communication, and written expression, personal snail mail is more valuable to me than any expensive gift.  I love stationery, wax seals, calligraphy, the lost art of cursive hand writing or even better, calligraphy. To further support this, I offer that I am a huge fan of Nick Bantock and his epistolary series of books known as The Griffin and Sabine trilogy. (If you have not read, you simply must).

Susie’s reference to snail mail and Gail’s real snail mail (thank you Gail!) reminded me how badly, in early reunion, I wanted my daughter to mail me something. I wanted to touch something she touched. I wanted to see her writing. I wanted a physical object, no matter how small in value from her.

It never came.  She once alluded to considering sending me her senior high school portrait, but alas, she never did.  I still find myself musing over the dream of getting something from her in the mail.

The term snail mail is a dysphemistic retronym. For the less word nerdy among you I will say it is a term that is used somewhat negatively to refer to the old form of mail or communication (versus the quicker more electronic versions of email, Facebook, etc.).  You know, the United States Postal Service?

While I fully embrace modern technology, there is something huge to be said for the good old tangible stuff you can feel, smell, touch and inspect (and maybe even spray with perfume and kiss with your own lipstick).  In pondering snail mail as it relates to adoption reunion, I found myself reflecting on an unrealized dream I had in early reunion…sharing a circle journey book with my daughter. If I couldn’t meet her, oh how I would have welcomed something that came from her, had touched her.

A circle journey book or journal is a book that is created and maintained for a variety of reasons. Families may pass one back and forth to each member who writes something on each page. Good friends may do so to build on their friendships with each other. The book goes back and forth between two people, or it may be sent around to members of a community or family. In my case, I envisioned it being sent back and forth between my daughter and me in lieu of meeting. Since she is a writer and a collage artist, I thought it would be a wonderful fun way to share with each other.  Similar to scrapbook, the parties can write words, paste stickers, photos, personal mementos, or illustrate the book. You fill out your page or two and send it to the other party. They do the same and return it to you. The cycle (or circle) continues until the book is full.

I am sharing this here as I still believe it is a wonderful idea. Perhaps someone else, yet to be reunited (or maybe currently in reunion but struggling through things) might want to consider a circle journal.  Sometimes pictures, drawings, cutouts from a magazine can say far more than an email or letter.  Imagine the valuable artifact you have upon completion!  What a piece of your history!

Below are a few links I found that explain the books and process in a bit more detail.

Circle Journey Books

Amazon: Circle Journey Correspondence Kit

In closing, if any of my readers are fans of snail mail, send me a message with your address. I would love to mail you a surprise gift, card, quote or paper smile, just like my friend Gail mailed me this week.

6 Thoughts.

  1. I absolutely LOVE this concept! I think I will start one with each of my grandchildren. I agree, Suz, letter writing is a lost art.

  2. I have started one of these with my nearly 5 year old daughter. I write to her and leave it under her pillow. I then read what I have written, she draws me a picture and writes words to me. It was a wonderful day when she wrote I love mummy. We have an open adoption with visits and regular contact, I am in contact with her first mum a couple of times a week, but I think this would be a good thing for them to do together one day soon. I agree, isn’t it nice to go to the mail box and get something other than a bill!!

  3. I love this!! Definitely something to consider. I just love your creativity, Suz. I hope one day your daughter will come to understand and value how incredibly gifted you are.

  4. First, big hugs and kudos to Susie and Gail for breaking out of our electronic era and writing/sending letters. I love snail mail too (and paper, pens, greeting cards). I always send hand-written thank you’s for example. But too often fall into the speed and convenience of emails and FB posts. Making mental note.

    I have every handwritten letter and card that my son ever sent me. Before either of us were using email, although it probably existed. I treasure them , so Suz, I definitely understand your desire to have something that your daughter touched, wrote on real paper, and took the time to send. 🙁

    I love the circle journey idea. I participated in something like that years ago, a “notebook project,” passed around between women all over the world. I wonder if I could interest my granddaughter in that.

    Thanks, Suz, for this post.

  5. I love the idea of the circle journey book! Thanks for writing about them, I have a couple I would love to start.

    I love snail mail, have sent Christopher many handwritten things as I think they are so much more personal than typewritten words on a computer screen. I received a card in the mail from him one Christmas ~ opened it breathlessly only to find it was a photo Christmas card with no personal writing on it at all. Don’t get me wrong ~ I loved getting the card but I had such high hopes of seeing something written by him. The breathless excitement quickly turned into a huge disappointment, hopes that I didn’t even realize I had were dashed. I’m still impatiently waiting to see his handwriting…

    Now a funny story about sending personalized mail! One of my friends was in WalMart with her teenaged daughter the other day. They were in the perfume isle when a woman joined them in smelling all the different scents. This woman squealed with delight in one of the perfumes and exclaimed “This is the one!” My friend looked at her wondering what she meant and was told “My boyfriends gonna love it on the letters I write to him while he’s in jail” Really? You (happily?) share that with random strangers? Only in WalMart!!

  6. Wow…thanks for this wonderful idea and post. I so wish I had done that with my birthmother once I met her. I regret the many holidays I could have shared with her before she passed away….way too soon. I was left only to live vicariously through her story and the characters in my books! I miss her each and every day!! http://www.ageviewpress.com
    Jeanette Vaughan
    Author and adopted child

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