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Letter-Writing Project Provides Personal Touch In Challenging Times

My baby wrote me a letter.

That classic line from the rock-and-roll hit “The Letter” by the Box Tops in 1967 is outdated in these days of instant messaging, texts, emails, snap chats and other forms of contemporary communication.

But Brooklyn-based performance artist and English professor Brandon Woolf is embracing that old-school vibe with his latest project. 

Woolf is reviving the letter-writing tradition, hoping that the personal touch provides comfort in these challenging, often-divisive times.

Woolf posted a sign saying, “Free Letters for Friends Feeling Blue” in his Park Slope Brooklyn neighborhood, where he has spent several hours, a few days a week, typing letters, during the last month.

“Whatever type of experience you would like to have — I’m happy to provide letters, envelopes, stamps and my body to type your message,” Woolf told patch.com

He uses a vintage portable Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter from the 1940s. Hand sanitizer and mask in place, he has been crafting letters as he sits on a folding chair alongside a mailbox. He wrote the following poem on his Facebook page as a project manifesto.

“Let’s not mourn our mailboxes
Mailgned
As vessels of civic futility, 
but make renewed use of them. 
To sit together (at a distance)
And console one another. And those we love. 
Posting letters from the edge. 
I'll be at the mailbox all month–with paper and stamps and hand sanitizer–
ready to serve you as your medium, your console. 
Together, if you'd like, we can take a moment to type a note of consolation, 
a blue-edged missive to a friend you think could use it."

As of early November, Woolf has typed 50 letters, citing that his favorites involve collaborative efforts between himself and the letter-writer.

Woolf, 37, is calling the project “THE CONSOLE.” It’s shorthand for the Consolation.

We hope that older fans from the Box Tops era — and the younger generation – approve of the message.

The CONSOLE