Several hours ago, I received this interesting note from a recent Guild reader:
Dear Stationers Guild:
Crane cards are for stuffed shirts.
Looking for exuberant cards for holidays and your blog goes on and on about Crane stationers who make truly boring formal holiday cards for stuffed shirts.
Constance Kay Inc. is a lot of fun, but I also want alternatives and I am very tired of having to purchase Papyrus Cards in emergency situations such as I am working in some god forsaken place with only – horrors – Hallmark around.
Perhaps your blog isn’t a total loss and I will find clues as to get other fun things such as diffraction grating wrapping papers.
Firstly, I appreciate any relevant feedback from a human being since most feedback comes from spammers in Eastern Europe.
Secondly, I agree that there is a tendency to think formal correspondence (referred to as “Crane cards”) is something for “stuffed suits.” I don’t happen to share this opinion, but clearly written correspondence doesn’t seem to resonate with the vast majority of our socially mobile population.
Thirdly, I feel compelled to tell the kind reader that I wouldn’t hold out much hope about finding information about “diffraction grating wrapping papers” anytime soon on the Stationers Guild website. It is a subject that I take as seriously as “Romancing a Snow Shovel.”
But more to the point, I think I would like to spend the next few paragraphs to defend the importance of a handwritten note. “Defend” is probably not the right word, since I know of no one – stuffed shirt or not – who wouldn’t want to receive a handwritten note rather than a banal Tweet – Tweety Bird included!
Now Crane stationery or a unique greeting card from Constance Kay may not be the reader’s thing, but quite frankly both are far superior to the rather pedestrian greeting cards and stationery you can find at retail establishments.
The issue is generally not the quality of the greeting card or stationery, but one’s willingness to make an effort to meaningfully “communicate” with another human being. To say that “formal correspondence card” is for “stuffed shirts,” is akin to saying that Twitter is for “illiterate teenagers.” I suspect that either assumption is probably wrong.
Making an effort to exchange a handwritten note requires a level of personal commitment to a relationship that many people feel is not warranted in today’s digital world. I, like others, feel strongly about the importance of the personal expression achieved in a handwritten note and plan to continue the time-honored tradition of exchanging an annual paper holiday card with distant friends.
If others feel the same, write on!
Happy Valentine’s Day (a lovely letterpress greeting card from Oblation)
Richard W. May
Founding Member of the Stationers Guild