We’re busy folks: We work (some of us at two jobs); we go to school (some of us are graduating); we have families (some of whom need extra attention right now); we have friends (some of whom want to meet us for coffee, tea, or a movie); we have all sorts of obligations which add up to all sorts of hours, and we have all kinds of hobbies which take up all kinds of creative energy. And we play the Sims. And we write other stories.
And we still find time to write letters for the Pen Pal Project.
How do we do it?
When it comes to writing letters to distant family, friends, or pen pals, many people say they just don’t have time. But if we can find time to write letters from our Sims to other Sims, then surely other busy people can find time to write letters to other people.
Perhaps it’s not a question of finding time.
We carve out time for our pen pal letters because they’re important to us: they’re integral parts of our creative projects. We use them to tell or develop a story, to explore characters, and to stretch our writing. We write them because they fit into what we’re currently investigating through our SimLit.
Maybe those who want to write letters to people they know can view their letters as part of their creative lives, rather than obligations. How can that letter to your sister help you explore the ways that gardening connects you to your family of origin? How can that card to your friend from high school help you reflect on ways you’ve both grown, yet stayed connected?
When a project–even letter-writing–scratches a creative itch, then it becomes something that we need to find time for, or else our mind won’t let us rest.
Question for the Week: How do you find time for your creative projects, including the Pen Pal Project and other writing activities?
Sometimes, the letters our Sims write pack a big emotional impact. That’s how I felt after reading Newt’s letter to Norman this week. Having to reply to a letter like that caused me to think.
In this way, as we ponder responses to these letters, our engagement with them and the issues they present becomes deeper. If I were interacting with Newt’s letter solely as a reader, I would be able put it out of my mind and not grapple with the weight of Newt’s confession. Thinking of Norman’s reply, however, caused me to face these issues. What would I do if a friend of mine confessed that he or she abused his or her spouse or partner?
I did some research to see what a responsible reply might be. I consulted my heart. Instead of turning away from this tough issue, I turned towards it.
The letters we exchange invite us to do this, to turn towards each other and each other’s stories. We engage with ideas, issues, and emotions we might not otherwise. Maybe this is one of the best aspects of collaboration. Maybe this is how we come up with something more and something better than we’d do on our own.
How has collaboration inspired and pushed you to turn towards ideas and issues you might otherwise turn away from?
This week, we welcome Gilplum, whose Sim Marisol Vega has become Dove Singer’s new penpal. We have letters from Dove and Marisol sent this week.
We also have letters from Newt and Norm, Kaitlin and Meadow, Emily and Gentian, and Anya and Seth.
If you’ve been reading the Pen Pal project for a while, we’d love to hear about your experience reading the letters:
- Do the letters tell a story?
- Do you get to know the characters?
- If the letters are written by Sims in an ongoing story, what do the letters contribute to the overall story?
- If the letters are written by Sims who aren’t in ongoing stories, do you feel you get complete stories through the letters?
Please feel free to answer here or at the Pen Pal Project thread at the EA Sims Forums.
What a busy week!
We launched our new Pen Pal Project blog, and set up accounts for participating writers.
And two new Simmers joined the project this week: Asaoyoru (with participating Sim Tim Royale) and LillyDoves (with participating Sim Isobel Bay)
We also have new letters from the following Sims:
Ayden and Giuliana
Darren and Tim
Dove and Meadow
Dace and Dusk (Listed on the index for Cassia and Dusk)
Kaitlin and Meadow
Lori and Sienna
Mel and Norman
Newt and Norman
What a busy week! Hope you enjoy the coming week! Happy writing! Happy reading! Happy Simming!
Welcome to the new home for the Pen Pal Project!
Since January 2017, about 17 of us Simmers have been writing letters on behalf of our Sims to each other’s Sims. Up until now, we’ve been keeping track of our letters on the Pen Pal Project thread the Pen Pal Project thread at the EA Sims Forums.
But since these correspondences are beginning to weave intricate and cohesive stories, we decided it would be friendlier for readers if we had a central place to index the letters.
That’s where this website comes in! Here, you can find profiles of all the Sims participating in the project, information about the Simmers who write these stories, and complete indices for each correspondence.
We hope you enjoy this!