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venerdì, aprile 08, 2016

The Letter Exchange Book released!

Gabrielle Rizzo and The Letter Exchange Book Project

Her name is Gabrielle Rizzo, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and for a long time she decided of promoting her project: The Letter Exchange, without appearing at all.

Now, the book, released-

It can be found in Amazon and Amazon Kindle.


She didn't want any kind of personal publicity and involvement during the creative process of her book.
In our past interview Gabrielle asked me of not mention her and her work behind The Letter Exchange Project.

Italian origin, Gabrielle tells me she can't speak any italian unfortunately.

"Never learned it although I visited Rome last December and my ancestors are from North Italy."
The dream of this girl? To seeing back the art of corresponding and for doing it, she created just few months ago a website I discovered for pure casualty, called The Letter Exchange Project.
Gabrielle asked to everyone to write her a letter, later published in a book.

Released yesterday the book The Letter Exchange, 100 pages, wants to remember to everyone that writing a good letter is better than a short text message.

Gabrielle, I guess satisfied.

"Yes I am. And looking back, I think the best part about running this project for me was being able to connect with individuals who still value the handwritten word."

Gabrielle started this personal dream without any big expectation

"Starting off, I had no idea what kind of reception the project would receive and slowly I realized that there was a community out there for snail mail lovers. I even see a change from last year's National Letter Writing Month, celebrated every April. I think the Write_On campaign has expanded this year and reached more people. I also think that there's movement towards this "text less, write more" mentality. And, on a completely smaller scale, I think I helped influence those close to me. The message spreads by example right!"

A key-piece to Gabrielle her anonymity. Why didn't you want to let us know your name?

"I wanted to make sure the focus was on the individuals and their submissions. I really wanted the focus on shedding light on what they wrote and had to say. As I started curating the book, I felt like it was an appropriate time to share the voice behind the project."

How many letters did you receive?

"I received 30 letters, from 7 different countries which seems small but you have to remember it takes more for people to sit down to write something."

In twenty years old-fashioned correspondence appeared defeated by various factors. The net, with its compulsion, dependence was winning the war. Postage increased dangerously these past years as well for discouraging the use of common letters. People kept away from this hobby.
Gabrielle in the past talked with me of  the use of written words compared to the use of the net. 

"I do believe that correspondence lived differently today."


"The Internet has without a doubt captured more of our  attention. Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc allow for an  instantaneous connection between people near and far. There  is not the same delay as sending a letter or even penning  the letter for that matter."

Someone call it instant gratification. People are not anymore able to waiting for anything, because stressed by the gratification that they can receive by the net.

"I think that the instant gratification I have hinted to above can air on the side of superficial. With modern communication the individual behind the tweet or Facebook post is almost lost. I think that the  creative process, as well as, your identity is muddied with  using those outlets. You could portray an entirely different persona without having to hint at your true identity."

With a letter...

"I  think that when you sit to write a letter that anonymity is  lost. You are responsible for the words, even if they are fiction, you're still writing them from your stream on conscious. I just feel it's more personal."

Correspondence is like a personal journey to Gabrielle

"I would  have to agree that the role of the correspondent has been
 lost. On the other hand, the role of the recipient is lost  as well. While it's a personal journey to write a  letter, it's also a personal experience to receive one as well.

Statistically real letters bring good mood.

" When you open your mailbox and see a letter in the midst of all the spam, you are immediately connected.  There's some statistic out there that estimates a 10-15% better open rate if the outside of the envelope is  handwritten. That stands for something. That resonates with  me. Even if it's just 10-15%, it still means that we  visually connect with the handwritten word.  I'd like to hope that written correspondence isn't a thing of that past."

Gabrielle loves to think that

"With the communities my project  touched, the written word can still live on. I think that society as a whole gets so wrapped up in their day to day  lives, almost glorifying busy.
A mantra I love is:

 Stop the glorification of busy.

It's not just letter writing that falls by the wayside, it's reading a book
 or going to a play. We've entered a time where we are
 captivated by 30 second imagery and short

Gabrielle loves to go to Boston

"Yes it's a beautiful city and recently I've seen a revival of standard supply stores. These supply stores may be trending, but they are diamonds in the  rough. They keep cards, pencils, stationary, notebooks and more in stock. They are my sanctuaries after work. I must  have hundreds of cards in my apartment just for when I need one or when the occasion arises."

The Letter Exchange Project started with

"2-3 letters a month. That  frequency definitely picked up by September 2015. I was patient.  I knew that my post office box wouldn't be flooded at  first. The creative process takes time. It also takes time  for something like this to catch on."

Someone asked to Gabrielle: What should I write though? Her suggestions?

"I would always tell  people: Whatever is on your mind right now. Letter writing  doesn't have to be a strenuous task."

Were you inspired by some sites for this name or project?

"I didn't have a particular site that inspired me. I had a fellow colleague  who was wrapping up a mail art project when I first met her  called:


 Her project stuck with me for a few months. I started to  really think about the art of sending mail. I also felt  connected to her project in a different way. My friends often comment that I'm one of the few people that still sends mail. I liked that. I thought deeper on their  sentiments and then came to the realization that there are  so many other stories out there that have no outlet...no place to be heard.
I think the combination of those things helped inspire The Letter Exchange.

We talked of Massachusetts a land of readers, culture and writers. How's the situation of correspondence in your State at the moment?

"I'm not sure how most  people in Massachusetts utilize written correspondence. I  can only speak for myself and people I know. I think that  the majority of my close friends and family will send cards
 and notes around the holidays. I know that long ago, I had  some family members that used to correspond with their  relatives overseas. I think that it was trickier back then  to keep up with correspondence because of a less  sophisticated postal service. I also think that it may have
 been harder to keep track of people's whereabouts. We  have the Internet now to thank for the ease of finding  people. We can often Google a name, find a Facebook,  LinkedIn, etc. and easily be in touch to acquire their  address. Back then, if someone moved and didn't inform  you, that correspondence would be lost.

Gabrielle loves post offices

 "Yes I do. I think that it will always be a joyous  place for me. I love watching individuals stand in line to  mail their letters or packages. I love receiving mail so I  always think wherever their letters or packages are going,  it will make someone's day."

When do you write everyday?

"Personally, I write  whenever I feel inspired. I keep journals, I keep to-do  lists, I remember by writing so the handwritten word is  vital to my day-to-day. I frequently send friends and family  cards, postcards, notes and so on. Sometimes I just send  notes to send notes or to make someone's day. I'll  send recipes if I know someone might enjoy it. Spending  $0.49 to send someone an "I'm thinking of you  note" is the easiest money I could spend."

I didn't want to forget to tell to my readers I participated at The Letter Exchange Project as well and you can find my letter included in the book :-)

Good Luck, Gabrielle!

Anna Maria Polidori

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