Gabrielle Rizzo and The Letter Exchange Book Project
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."
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.
yesterday the book The Letter Exchange, 100 pages, wants to remember to
everyone that writing a good letter is better than a short text
Gabrielle, I guess satisfied.
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
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?
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?
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
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."
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."
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.
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...
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
Correspondence is like a personal journey to Gabrielle
"I would have to agree that the role of the correspondent has been
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.
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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."
talked of Massachusetts a land of readers, culture and writers. How's
the situation of correspondence in your State at the moment?
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
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
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
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?
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