Dear You A postcard and letter-writing station at Odense Central Library. Write a letter and win a prize sponsored by Pen&Papir

Dear You
Other | Monday d. 16. Nov. - Sunday d. 22. Nov. 2020 | Østre Stationsvej 15, Odense C | Price: 0 Kr. | Written by: Elena Stanciu | Translated by: Christoffer Henneberg

Location: Hovedbiblioteket
Organizer: Odense Hovedbibliotek & Pen & Papir

Writing a letter – an old-fashioned, pen and paper letter – is not an easy thing. Or, rather – writing and sending it is not easy! It takes courage – first, to sit in silence with yourself and your words; decide what thoughts will make it on the paper; open a door to yourself and leave it open for weeks at a time, until a reply arrives. It’s all an exercise in openness and vulnerability; in patience and control; in discipline of language and finding appropriate words. 

We have a chance to go back to this (to some) extinct form of reaching others, as Odense Central Library and Pen & Papir invite us to write letters we never sent; or, postcards – an even trickier format, where the entire universe in your mind needs to fit a very small piece of paper. 

They can be letters to the “boyfriend/girlfriend you never got; to your childhood friend; to your grandma, no longer with us.” Beyond the tear-jerking quality of the list of possible recipients, it’s a solid list. It touches on the elements that make a letter special – distance, memories, irreversibility of time. It’s hard to believe that scribbling on a piece of paper can help us better cope with these huge dimensions of life. But it does. 

I remember my own letter-writing days and they were amazing. In the summer between sixth and seventh grade, someone who, up until then I’d only seen as a classmate, told me to “write to her.” And I did – at the end of that summer, I had a boxload of letters for her, all unsent, delivered in bulk. As I gave her the stack of papers, I hoped she would become my best friend. When she wrote back, I knew she already was. I don’t remember much of what’s in those letters, but I remember the anxiety of waiting for her to read and reply; the point of no return, not being able to take back what I had written; the hope that she would understand and that my words hadn’t failed me. We didn’t talk that much, but we wrote like crazy. Happy letters, angry ones, confused and confusing messages, confessions and secrets, boisterous philosophical views we didn’t really understand. We were silent people, but our pens were on fire. 

I have only love for that time and it’s such a precious period in my life. And letter-writing was not a coincidence, it was a determining aspect. So (from now quite an emotional place), I encourage you to join this postcard and letter-writing exercise. I can’t predict what it’ll do for you, but, if nothing else, you might be lucky and win supplies from the lovely Pen & Papir.

Link to the event

Written by Elena Stanciu

Elena has an MA in American Studies from SDU, and currently works as Features Editor for arts and culture publication PETRIe. She is interested in visual culture and contemporary art, design an...