More than fish wrapper
August 28, 2007 11:45 AM   Subscribe

At, the goal is to bring together people who nurture a passion for an old, and yet exquisite, form of literature: The writing of letters.
posted by netbros (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ironically, is a trout fishing site.
posted by smackfu at 11:48 AM on August 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Unrelated domain name. Frames with scrollbars (inside impossibly wide margins, for twice the ironic annoyance). Popup windows. This site really has it all.
posted by DU at 11:56 AM on August 28, 2007

Trout Fishing In America went to go mail a letter. Then the '60s ended.
posted by nasreddin at 12:02 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

The site is frustrating for the reasons that DU mentioned... but even more frustrating due to its intended mission.

First of all, writing a letter should mean writing a letter. Paper, pen, envelope, stamp, post box -- hopefully all conspiring to carry words that mean something to someone (ideally two someones), and were worth the time and extra effort.

Writing a letter is not "Send your submissions in plain text (ASCII) format."

What I'm seeing on the site might as well just be emails that someone ginned up. I mean, they come right out and encourage people to write their "letters" to

I don't mean to imply that an email can't be carefully crafted, special, poignant and literary. But it sure ain't what people fancy to be a "letter." How is this not just another website that wants to publish people's writing, but using the gimmick of "Dear Blah... Love, Blah"?

Honestly, I'd find it more interesting if they forced people to actually send in scans of real letters, or maybe (dare I say it?) write a real live physical letter to someone and mail that in.

An Actual, Frequent Letter Writer

p.s. netbros, I think this is a good find. Don't mean to sound like I'm chastising your FPP -- I just don't think the execution of the folks at River Trout is very Authentic.
posted by pineapple at 12:27 PM on August 28, 2007 [2 favorites]

Weird stuff. Letters tend to be notes written on paper and shipped via the postal system.

What I saw on the site were short notes, not different than a blog entry. Nice writing perhaps, but not letters.

I am a letter writer in the traditional sense. I write my brother a letter from any hotel I stay at on the hotel stationery. For over 20 years, he's been getting letters from me, sometimes 20 times a year, depending on my travel schedule.

What would make it interesting is scans of actual letters and their envelopes. Like a Post Secret but not such a design contest angst-off.
posted by Argyle at 12:57 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

The careful posing, the ubiquitous imagery - the "letters' sound like an assignment form an evening creative writing class. Topic: good bye to a lover who has already moved on.
posted by Cranberry at 1:05 PM on August 28, 2007

Meh. They're not really letters, and the few I've read are a bit rubbish anyway.
posted by howfar at 1:37 PM on August 28, 2007

Interesting. I almost made a post about The Letter Project but it's so small scale I was afraid metafilter would drown the poor man. Also, I wanted to write him myself and see what the turnaround time was like. That was some time last winter and he's yet to reply. I'm not at all bothered by that -- it's got to be one hell of a thing to respond, longhand, to so many letters from strangers.

But I agree with pineapple that without the longhand it's no letter. Bills are typed. Disturbing reports about how my 401(k) is doing are typed. Christmas letters are typed (although generally in Comic Sans or some foofy font serifed out the ass, not plain text). If I'm going to read letters as if from random penpals, I want to feel as though they are actually from pals, as opposed to someone who wants money from me or my Aunt Whosits ho ho hoing about how perfectly things are swinging in Gnat's Ass, KS. But then again these don't read at all like letters -- more like overwrought short fiction. Too bad.
posted by melissa may at 2:13 PM on August 28, 2007

This might be of interest (also has links to help in finding international pen pals) to those of you who delight in writing real, actual letters.
posted by misha at 2:28 PM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I sent a letter the other day, and had to dig out all kinds of reference materials on how it's formatted. Bit of a blast from the past, really--I remember all of these things being taught in school, and then becoming increasingly irrelevant.

But I strongly disagree that a letter must be hand-written. It must be signed by hand, yes, that's absolute, but no one should be forced to read the handwriting of someone who has been typing almost exclusively since 1990. There's a fine line between warmth and chicken scratch.

If I want to add that personal touch, I think I'd be likely to add lovely horrible things like glitter, unicorn stickers, or rubber stamps. Alternately, if you have taste, a blob of sealing wax -- you do have your own signet ring, don't you?
posted by darksasami at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2007

Wow, I forgot all about this site. I visited it at least 7 years ago. It had the same layout then, which might explain some of the awkward design choices.
posted by heatherann at 4:52 PM on August 28, 2007

Very original looking website which engages immediately. The literature that I read was good but not in my opinion "exquisite"
posted by broadsurf at 11:54 AM on August 30, 2007

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