Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "writing-prompts"

The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

This month, let’s talk about sports. Do you have a favorite sport to practice or watch?

In June, write about your favorite sport.
The Little Mail Carrier is strong!

Although football is the sport most commonly associated with Portugal, I have to confess that I don’t find it particularly interesting myself. Instead, my favorite sport is definitely swimming! I love the feeling of slicing through the water, and there’s nothing quite like jumping into a pool on a hot summer day. I try to make time for it at least once a week, and often bring a friend along, so we can chat while we lazily make our way across the pool.

If I had to pick a sport to watch though, I would be most interested in watching a game of Quidditch, which I recently discovered is a real sport with tournaments and everything. I hope it’s as fun to watch as they make it look on Harry Potter!

What about you? Which sports are your favorites, or which do you like to watch? Share them with others in the postcards you send out this month!

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

This month, our suggestion is all about museums. We love a good museum, where carefully curated collections and exhibitions contribute to scientific knowledge while sparking a universe of learning possibilities!

In May, write about your favorite museum.
Portugal Communications museum

Do you have a favorite museum? Paulo and I like quirky museums, but our favorites so far (no surprise here!) are usually related with mail history.

In Lisbon, the Communications Museum has a wonderful exhibition where you can learn about the postal history of Portugal, from the first mail coaches to its present day modernization. There’s also an interesting section containing a recreation of a real post office, where you can pretend to be either a postal worker or a customer waiting to get some stamps! After so many years being on the customer side of the counter, it’s surprisingly fun to move behind the counter to do the job ourselves. Things look different from there!

So, what about your own country? Which national museum is your favorite? Which place should a postcrosser definitely visit if they find themselves in the area? We invite you to share your best museum tips on the postcards you send this month.

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

This month, let’s talk history.

In April, talk about a famous person from your country’s history.
Written postcard

I agonized over this prompt for a long time, no historical figure seeming quite right… and then a couple days ago over dinner, our friend Tiago (aka ogait) asked: “How about Aristides?” and suddenly I felt really stupid. But of course!

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portuguese consul in southern France when World War II broke out. Portugal was a neutral country and thus an appealing destination for the many people displaced by the war… but these were the dictatorship years. Fearing economic and political chaos, the authoritarian regime in power tightened the border controls and all consulates and embassies were issued strict orders to avoid giving out too many passports and transit visas.

But did Sousa Mendes care? No! He immediately disobeyed the order, on grounds that it was “an inhumane and racist directive”. Despite being officially reprimanded, he continued issuing thousands of visas to refugees who flocked to his embassy in Bordeaux. He was eventually called back to Lisbon, where he was trialed and suffered disciplinary punishments.

The regime took credit for receiving all those refugees, and history books of the time mention the benevolence of the dictator… but in reality, it was Sousa Mendes (and a few people like him) who disobeyed the law and made Portugal a safe haven for many. Alas, they never made a movie about him(*), and his role in history was only recognized many decades later, when it was discovered that he had granted over 30,000 people safe passage to Portugal.

So… which historical character of your own country would you pick? We invite you to share something about a national historical figure in the postcards you send out this month.

(*) I stand corrected: Jéssica (aka J2404Pt) sent me a nice message to let me know they did make a movie about Aristides in 2011! It’s called the Consul of Bordeaux, and I’m off to the local library, to see if they have it there. Brilliant!

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

This month, our suggestion invites you to think about those sayings that stuck with you. Here it goes:

In March, share a favorite quote or motto.
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Where to start, right? There are so many good quotes and life mottos that spring to mind, that it’s rather difficult to pick one. And how can you explain to the recipient the significance of that quote to you?

So… I’ll try to go first. In one of his books, American writer Kurt Vonnegut introduces his uncle Alex, who would often complain that human beings rarely noticed when they were happy. So, in order to notice and appreciate those moments, now and then he would interrupt whatever he was doing and exclaim “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is". I liked this idea so much that I adopted it as my own motto and started doing it as well, pausing briefly every so often to acknowledge my own happiness. It’s amazing how many simple moments throughout the day are sources of contentment and gratitude.

What about you? Which quotes have stuck with you, or which words do you try to live by? Share them on the postcards you send out this month!

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

Previously on this series, we’ve talked about musicians and writers, but what about other artists from your country? Are there any inspiring (past or present) visual artists whose work you find interesting or iconic?

In February, write about a visual artist from your country.
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Ok, I’ll go first! One of the most striking Portuguese-born painters of our time is Paula Rego. Her works are often unsettling and raw, maybe even grotesque… and yet so full of power. They feature strong female characters prominently, in a clear drawing style that blends fantasy and realism by mixing fairy tales, folklore and political issues. The result is an indescribable imaginary universe, that feels very much a part of our national artistic heritage.

What about your country? Are there any painters, photographers, filmmakers, designers or other artists you’d like to spread the word about? Let other postcrossers know about them in the postcards you send out this month!

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