July 18, 2014

Sadie Stein on Postcards

At the Paris Review Sadie Stein recalls the postcards she sent as a teenager and writes

Now, as a grownup on vacation, I’m sitting here with a pile of postcards in front of me, wondering what to do about it. What, after all, is a postcard? In the age of e-mail and Instagram and Twitter, it’s a self-conscious anachronism. When you read an old postcard, their messages—in that spindly, legible, Palmer-script hand—are often strikingly banal. People really do say “wish you were here,” without embarrassment, and talk about the weather. With traditional postcards, the thought is what counts; these were, by and large, generic images bearing the most impersonal of greetings.

I travel only rarely now and am much more likely to generate greetings with Postagram when I do, but I always ask friends and acquaintances to send postcards when they do, and I keep them posted throughout my house.