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Blog > Postcard Stories

Have you ever seen a book about postcards without any images of the postcards themselves? That might sound strange at first, as one tends to associate postcards with pictures… but truth is, the written content of the postcards is often just as (or more!) interesting than the images they show.

Journalist Jan Carson spent the year of 2015 coming up with short stories for postcards that she sent to her friends and family, one per day. What might have started as a random observation or overheard conversation around her town of Belfast, quickly turn into stories on the back of each postcard, as imagination takes over. The result of this creative endeavour is now compiled in a book called Postcard Stories, where the mini-narratives are interspersed with beautiful illustrations by Benjamin Phillips.

Postcard Stories by Jan Carson

Each story send us on a journey to a parallel reality — sometimes surreal, sometimes puzzling, and often just funny. Here’s one of my favourites:

"January 22nd 2015 – Belfast International Airport, Aldergrove

A man in the line for Edinburgh has three inflatable worlds in a plastic bag. He is stopped at the departure gate by an easyJet representative.

“What have you got in the bag?” she asks. It is seven a.m., too early for lipstick, but she is wearing a thick gash of it: bloody red.

“Three worlds”, he replies, and removes them one at a time, clamping them between his feet, because the world is shaped like a soccer ball and inclined to roll if permitted to do so.

“One item of hand luggage only”, she states mechanically, already eyeing up the next offender.

The man proceeds to demonstrate how, with great determination and a little pressure, the world (and all those back-up worlds to come), can be deflated and contained within an overhead luggage locker."

Just picturing that scene put a big smile in my face, and I’m sure anyone who has ever flown on a low-cost airline can picture it as well. The book is filled with 52 such little stories, a collection of Jan’s imagination and mementos that would make any postcard lover happy.

Now if only we could make our handwriting as small as Jan’s and fit those many words on our postcards… perhaps she gives workshops? 😊



27 comments so far

smeuldersdrawings, Netherlands
dear jan,

ha ha ha - I like such short stories very much :-)

I can imagine that it gives you big fun to make them ...

good luck and I wish you a lot of inspiration !

greetings = gonny out of the netherlands

STUFFellaneous, United States of America
Sounds like a really fun book. Wany to be postcard penpals!

Coastalchix, United States of America
Looks like a great short read! Just ordered it on Amazon! Can't wait to get it. Thanks for sharing

mounten, Italy
Thanks for sharing, I had a look at it on Amazon and I've read some other short storys. Very funny I've ordered it. Ciao

Shark1986, France
"Now if only we could make our handwriting as small as Jan’s and fit those many words on our postcards… perhaps she gives workshops?"

Ahahah, the first thing that popped up in my head when I read the "example" story.

daanoniel, Netherlands
Can only buy with creditcard :( i would like to have the book. Please use more payment options

Silverclaw, United States of America
I like it a lot! ;)

ACEA13, United States of America
So interesting. A great idea.

happydayout, New Zealand
Love the sound of this so have just ordered a copy. Thanks is for sharing

Gemini17, Netherlands
I like it very much! A good idea!

pacnan, New Zealand
I really like the idea of creating stories on the back of the postcards. I'll have to look for the book.

Ciara25, United Kingdom
I recently went to a workshop of Jans, we were given a photograph and asked to write a story then sent it on a postcard, I got 192 words on mine, its amazing she can do 300!

Sheshells, South Africa
What a lovely & inspiring idea! Congratulations ,Jan. Hopefully I will bump into this book soon.

melilot, France

meiadeleite, Portugal
@Ciara25 Oh, it's great to hear that she does give workshops — and what a wonderful creative exercise! Those larger postcards might still come handy though...

smeuldersdrawings, Netherlands
dear postcrosser,

I read the blog
about the idea of jan
about writing short stories on the postcards -
it looks great to me too :-)

and I wonder if yóú like it to postcross
direct with me in that way:
a card + a short story
about the image ón that card ...
I think it would be very stimulating !
or even on a selfmadecard ....

it is just an idea ....
unless ján does not like this initiative ?!

feel free to say - no - to me if you are not interested ,
that is no problem ....
but íf .... you are more than welcome :-)

greetings =

postcrosser "smeuldersdrawings"
of the netherlands -

Ciara25, United Kingdom
@ meiadeleite

Yeah it was part of the east side arts festival here in Belfast and it was really inspiring! Yeah true :)

triplightly, United States of America
What a wonderful idea! I would get hand cramps writing so small however. And Smeuldersdrawings, you are very clever. Your method of writing and your idea - fantastic! Now the big question...Where did they get those Star Wars stamps?!!!! =D

meiadeleite, Portugal
@triplightly they were issued some weeks ago here in Portugal, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movies!

Savagepink, United States of America
I've ordered the book as well, currently out of stock but I hope it will come soon. I would love to see actual examples of these cards with the tiny stories!

alison41, South Africa
What a marvellous idea! I'm always on the lookout for ideas for stories.

ICsparrow, Canada
I am excited to receive my copy from There were none left at and besides I'm Canadian so it makes sense.

fisherman, Ireland
Looks like a nice book to to get and read - Book Depository has it

meiadeleite, Portugal
Like @fisherman suggested, feel free to try locally, or on or on other websites that might have payment methods that are be easier for you. I'm afraid we can't link to all of them on the post, but we definitely understand that Amazon isn't the best place to shop in all countries!

Flippie, Canada
Hi, I'm hoping on work shops! I love your work.
Thanks, Anneke

mineral, Hong Kong
Where can I buy it? That sounds good.

pacnan, New Zealand
For those of you in New Zealand...The Author will be doing a writing workshop in Wellington as part of LitCrawl 2017.

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