Do You Want a Handwritten Letter in the Mail? Randy Osborne Will Write You One!

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Osborne's first letter.
Osborne's first letter, a sort-of prototype for the ones to come, is addressed to a friend in Chicago and written on paper torn from a notebook, starts off by explaining the letter-writing project, then veers off into musings about how, although he learned the Palmer method of penmanship in elementary school, his handwriting now resembles his own father's. What other things, he wonders, do we inherit without realizing it?

"It's a stream-of-consciousness thing," Osborne explains. "I want to show that people can write letters in this way. The stuff that comes out is fascinating. I'm not worried about running out of things to say. I've never been unable to write or talk. Did you know the term writer's block didn't exist until the 1940s? That's when the stakes for writing got high. It became about marketing, or grades, or getting into a better university. Before, people just sat down and wrote."

So far, Osborne has amassed about three months' worth of requests for letters. Naturally he hopes he'll eventually receive the full 365, but if he doesn't, that won't stop him. He'll continue to write a letter every day and send them to people who he already knows (and, more to the point, whose addresses he already knows).

"Or," he says, "it could become something else."

As he tried to show the people unwittingly roped into Narrative Urge, you just never know what will happen when something odd stumbles across your path.

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