(Updated as of March 2022)
Hello! My name is Alison (Al) and I'm a writer, barista, crafter, and musician from Canada! I love everything snail mail and have had a lot of mailing adventures in the last few years!
A couple of important snippets:
1) I am genderqueer and use They/Them pronouns mostly, although it can vary.- if you don't know what that is, or want to check re: pronouns feel free to ask :) I also use the Mx. prefix (pronounced mix) in place of ms. or mr.
2) The name I go by is my pseudonym/pen name (Alison (Al) King) but the PO box is registered in my birth name, so that is why there is a "c/o" line in my address- please do include that line so that packages actually do make it to me! Don't panic if you forgot- the wonderful postal workers at my local post office know me quite well by now so odds are that they'll put in in anyways, but it's always best not to risk it! You can just call me Al or Alison though- both work.
3) I love meeting new/different people, even if you disagree with me or how I conduct my life. I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and basic human decency, so you will never be greeted with negativity from me. All questions, concerns, opinions, disagreement, and love are welcome here. I don't offend easily, and try to practice reckless optimism in all aspects of my life.
4) That being said, I have absolutely no tolerance for willful ignorance, outright spite, and intentional racism/homophobia/transphobia/xenophobia/etc. and will call you out- gently, and always with love first- if necessary.
A little bit of everything!
-Classical (I play cello and was in classical lessons for 13 years. Elgar's Cello Concerto in E and the Devils Trill Sonata by Tartini are my curent top two!)
-Punk (80's and 90's Green Day, The Lunachicks, The Donnas, Bad Brains, The Interrupters)
-Rock/Alt (Weezer, The Heavy, Hot Hot Heat, Blur, YUNGBLUD)
-Pop (Mostly queer pop tbh: Girl in Red, King Princess. Honey by Kehlani is my current absolute favourite)
-Rap (Beastie Boys, M.I.A., Public Enemy)
-RnB (Zayn, Santigold, Missy Elliot)
And I could go on!
I have a to-read list about a mile long, but at the moment I am reading "Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany" by Bill Buford and I'm enjoying it! I struggle with true crime/horror fiction these days but I'm also about halfway through Helter Skelter, although I've been "reading" it off and on for a year or so.
I was a Harry Potter kid hardcore, so while it saddens me the path JK has taken (and while i wont be buying anything harry potter not from a thrift store to avoid sending any more money her way) that series was definitely the inspiration behind my current obsession with magical realism. I love a good queer book, a good magical book, or a good tragedy (well, in normal times) and always love recommendations!
I love movies. I wanted to be a screenwriter for a while (and maybe still do... shhhh) and I just love when film is done right. Some (pretentious, I know) favourites: Amelie, Barton Fink, Withnail and I, Trainspotting, The Favourite, Little Women (2020 version. Sidenote- Jo in this is literally me, I am not kidding. They even joke about her being their only brother. I cried 3 times in that movie.), Moulin Rouge, The Princess Bride, and Cloudburst. I am also a HUGE nerd, so Star Wars, classic Indiana Jones, superheroes (old X-men, Deadpool, Wonderwoman, Marvel Universe up until Infinity War) etc. get me really excited but nothing in this genre will ever be able to top Mystery Men in my opinion, and that is an opinion I will be standing by until my dying day. There is also something to be said for a good documentary- Disclosure, 13th, a secret love, Crip Camp and Quincy are among recent favourites for me.
Oof. I feel like at this point in the pandemic. I have watched the entirety of Disney +, Netflix, and youtube combined (and an unnamed New Zealand streaming service I VPN the crap out of!) it feels like, so odds are Ive seen at least a part of your favourite show. I'm currently part way through "The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window" and wow- what a mind bender! I've also jsut started the third season of "What We Do In The Shadows," and just finished up with the last season of Offspring.
I think this section has evolved the most since I set up this profile the first time, and I'm not ashamed of it. Currently, my craft obsessions include: postcard making, collage, journaling, crochet, sewing my own clothes (I finally got a sewing machine, now I just need to figure the damn thing out lol), and chaotic scrapbooking. One of my 2022 resolutions (if you can even call them that, really) is to try more new things though, so I've been joining a lot of swaps for crafts I've never done before, and I'm really excited!
IF YOU WERE EXPECTING A REPLY FROM ME AND IT HASN'T ARRIVED WITHIN 2 MONTHS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I reply to absolutely everything that warrants a reply, and I wouldn't stop replying without any warning. Odds are that my letter didn't reach you, and I will absolutely write a new reply once I know that. I started 2020 with approx. 37 penpals and came into 2021 with approx. 17, and now in 2022 I have maybe 10 including a few newbies I picked up along the way. I think 37 was a too high number to begin with, but I hate to think someone thinks I left them hanging when a piece of mail didn't arrive. Let me know! Also- I am always game to start a new penpal relationship- just let me know if you're looking and we can see if we're a good match!
I will 100% love anything you send to me. I'm not picky and if there's anything this pandemic has taught us it's that shit happens. My only ask is that you dont just shovel a bunch of loose paper and kiddie sticker extras into the envelope of a simple swap. I love extras, but dont expect them and I find that that over-sending thing can kindof cheapen the whole swap.
I'm not collecting anything specific (other than Jones soda bottle caps but that doesn't count here) but I love little things that I might not have yet. I'm a junk journal-er and I love chaotic art (embrace the mess y'all)! I also love when things aren't quite perfect, slightly off, and funky or unusual!
POSTCARDS: I love everything unusual, art cards, drawings, handmade cards, and anything in the "...huh?" category. I'm not a huge fan of touristy postcards or ones with vague quotes, but I can always make use of those as well if need be!
TEA: I'm overloaded with too much green tea at the moment!! Please don't send more green! I'm fairly easy with any variation of tea or flavouring, I just have a large amount of plain green tea and it's not generally my favourite.
WASHI AND STICKERS: I don't really care for washi with lots of text or with that plastic-y coating, but other than that I love most everything! Stickers are much the same- I'm drowning in letter and number stickers, so please refrain from sending those, as well as specifically branded stickers and puffy ones (that stick up from the page- not much use for those at the moment) but I love almost everything else!
BAGS: As of this year, I am now collecting bags of all types and hosting a monthly bag swap. If you have any extra bags that still have a few spots left or dont want to be part of bag swaps anymore, let me know! I'll gladly take them off your hands.
MAKEUP/BEAUTY: Please refrain from sending these unless the swap specifically asks for them. I very very rarely use makeup outside of occasionally for work and I really dislike the huge amounts of plastic and non-reusable materials used in most beauty products. If you have something specific and low-waste or plastic-free that you would like to send, please send me a message first to confirm, and if it's part of a swap requirement please try to pick something as eco-friendly, gender-neutral, and plastic-free as possible. Thanks!
I debated adding this section for a while as it has the potential to come off as really preachy, but please know that's not my intention. Since 2019 I have been slowly moving everything I do and consume in an eco-conscious and plastic-free direction, and have achieved a fairly sustainable balance since 2021. I cook and bake all of my own food from scratch when I can, and when I do order out it's from places that can cater to a plastic-free delivery. I use re-usable everything (yes, I even have a bidet and do not buy toilet paper, which is a direct result of the pandemic. One good thing to come out of it, I guess?) and I dont produce much garbage anymore. Currently, the biggest producer of waste in my life is my swaps and crafting, and I'm looking to reduce that. Please refrain from sending me things wrapped in lots of plastic or many layers of wrapping. I save and scrapbook all of the envelopes and letters/notes etc so don't worry if you wrap your envelope in packing tape or use lots of plastic stickers, and I'm very inventive with reusing and recycling, but some kinds of plastic just aren't built for re-use. And, if you're sending me something that you're unsure if I'll get any use out of (I'm talking specifically household things like candles, gadgets, products, etc) please do check first. And- if you have any tips, tricks, recipes, or hacks OR if you want some of mine, let me know! I'm definitely not in a position to judge anyone for their lifestyle and I know I'm in a privileged position to be able to do this (and have the desire to do this) in my life. Thank you so much!
Lastly, I have a penpal currently who is in the prison system in the united states and is looking for penpals who are Swedish or who live in Sweden in an effort to get to know some of her history. If you are interested please message me for more details! Thanks!
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