Having been immersed in the world of serious literature and publishing for more than 20 years, Edwina Johnson also recognized the power of the humble postcard early on.
“I was in Turkey in the early ’90s and sent my brother a postcard of a belly dancer,” she recalls. “He was a resident at a private boys boarding school at the time, so the headmaster confiscated it and called my parents in. My dad laughed and said it was just from his sister. I always loved that I caused so much trouble with a simple postcard.”
Hooked ever since, Edwina still prefers the tactile pleasures of a postcard, to email, text or even a FaceTime call from friends holidaying overseas.
Write anything, so long as it’s not a bog-standard list of what you’ve done that day.
“I’m old-fashioned,” she admits. “There’s nothing like the thrill of opening the letterbox and discovering someone has sent you a little piece of the world to brighten your day. I’ve got postcards from 40 years ago in my collection, and when I read one I can remember the exact moment when I first held it in my hands. They’re a connection to the stories of my family and my life.”
As for advice on penning a classic postcard, Edwina reckons there are two ways to go – either pack in as much as you can, so the stamp covers part of what you write, leaving the recipient wondering. Or go the minimalist route, and only write three highly considered words. Oh, and put some thought into what’s on the flipside too.
“I take a lot of time choosing the appropriate card with the recipient in mind,” says Edwina. “I want the image to express exactly how I feel about the place I’m visiting, so for me the picture on the front carries as much weight as the personal message on the back. Write anything, so long as it’s not a bog-standard list of what you’ve done that day.”