I was recently given some beautiful old Strand postcards to scan for the site. All of the postcards were blank. Instead of simply adding these postcards to the site as they were, I thought they might be used for a little life writing. In Strandlines sessions at the Age Concern Day Centre, Odhams Walk – also with the Peabody Life Writing group I’ve been working with over the past few months – I invited people to think about the postcard as a form of life writing. I suggested that they might add some text to the blank postcards, writing either as themselves or as someone else (imagined, past, or contemporary). When writing the postcards, I asked groups to consider the following questions
- Who is writing?
- Who is being addressed?
- What is the reason for writing?
- Where is the postcard being written?
- What is happening as the postcard is being written?
- Why has the postcard been chosen?
- When was the postcard bought and where?
- What kind of handwriting does the writer have?
- How do they use the space?
- Does the writer use a postscript (P.S.)?
- Does the writer customise the postcard?
For inspiration I also showed groups the reindeer’s sketch postcard on the Strandlines website.
I scanned the postcards created by the group at the Age Concern Day Centre, and have added them below. Participants were asked to state whether they’d like to remain anonymous, give their full name, or use a name of their own choosing. Writers, in the order they are given below are: G. Hamer, Louise, Stanley Crabtree, Pauline, Anon., Arthur Mee-Harrison, Teresa McFarlane and Isobella Stewart.
As you can see, some chose to write as themselves, other adopted the voice of another person or character.