“What you give to the world is what it keeps of you.”


In my closet, I have three big rubber boxes that I have carried with me for a long time. Two hold business necessities: Taxes, my first (and second and third) rejection letter, my contributor’s copies of books, a photo copy of my first fellowship award check.

The third box holds memories. Paper and words. Letters from exes, friends, family. Photos with notes on the back. My sister’s Spanish test. The first fiction story my little brother ever wrote. Birthday cards. Gift ribbons and airline tickets and travel brochures and forgotten grocery lists, on and on…

I don’t keep a lot of things, but I keep what matters most. But it’s harder to keep email, texts, digital photos. The above box also holds floppy disks of things that I wanted to save when email and digital writing and the internet were first entering my life; I keep the disks, even though I know I have little chance of retrieving anything from them. It’s something I can hold in my hands and wonder at. There is too little wonder in the world anymore, I think. What will our children hold? What will be inside the shoe boxes wrapped in ribbon that they find under the bed? Will they remember what it’s like to be able to see the slant in someone’s hand-writing when they say, “I like you. Do you like me? Circle Y/N”?

Mary Robinette Kowal has issued the Month of Letters Challenge. In it, you send something, anything, through the mail every day for the month of February. It’s an amazing idea, and one I wasn’t sure I would be able to take on. My schedule is busy with work and travel and life changes. But this feels important. It feels big in a way that I don’t yet understand. I want to be part of this thing, and to share it with the people that I love. Also, this is — remember — my Year of Yes.

So I shall begin. I don’t know yet what form this experience will take. I have never been a good letter writer (why? I don’t know. I have never been a good writer on paper in general. I know for a fact that if I couldn’t type, I would never have become a writer at all). But I think I will try to send pretty things, mementos, and moments of joy. I will probably tie it all into This Body of Work somehow, but I haven’t figured out how quite yet.

Also, one of the rules is that if you write to me, I will write you back.

So, here is where you can write to me if you’re so inclined:

Shanna Germain
9594 First Ave. NE #422
Seattle, WA 98115

May the month bring you delight and joy in the shape of folded paper, pretty stamps and sweet, sweet words.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

PS — Image by this awesome artist.