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August 12, 2011

Art Project on Posting Your eMail

A global voluntary initiative that propagates the strength of the written word over its digital counterpart

I long to receive a three page, heart-rending, soppy letter, filled with words carefully chosen and eternal.

- Bobbie Ann Pimm (American writer)

It is not nostalgia alone that makes us long for that elusive letter – it is also the feeling of warmth that it evokes, its ability to revive all those soft emotions of connecting with someone your own.

Ivan Cash, a 25-year old entrepreneur from San Francisco and lover of this quaint, old school form of communication, recently decided to spread the message of the hand-written letter far and wide. The result is a start-up, which is creating waves ironically in cyberspace, called Snail Mail My Email (SMME). A free transcription service, SMME takes your e-mail messages (subject to a word limit of 100), writes them down in manuscript and sends it on to the receiver, free of cost. Snail Mail My Email describes itself as an interactive community art project which seeks to share the warm-fuzzy feeling of receiving a personalized letter as well as to inspire people to send their own snail mail.Cash has the support of a global network of volunteers and the project will run for a one month period from July 15 to August 15.

We live in a world where the invisible information highway seems to have all but evicted the good old letter from everyday life. The folded paper in the envelope, carrying “words carefully chosen and eternal”, may be the next best thing to a loved one turning up at the door in person, but only very few of us either write or receive letters today. Is letter writing a lost art already?

Luckily many people like Cash still believe in the value of the written word over its digital counterpart, and they initiate efforts to ensure the survival of this art. Civil Society projects, school initiatives and art projects have taken place in different parts of the world. The public response to these efforts, like in the case of SMME, has always been warm and spontaneous. The art of the personal letter may be endangered, but is certainly not dead.

The letter is a beautiful expression of emotions, and an evolved representation of human nature. When you write a letter, you probably make someone’s day. The SMME project and other letter-writing initiatives, therefore, need all the support they can get.

How to join Snail Mail My Email: Anyone with internet access can partake SMME by simply sending an email, after which the very same message will be handwritten and physically mailed to the chosen recipient anywhere in the world, completely free of charge. For details log on to



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