"Imagine you are a letter traveling through time. What message do you want to convey to your readers?" ~Theme of the 2018 International Letter-Writing Competition
The other day I read a piece by author Amy Peterson that brought about some interesting thinking. She shared the prompt from the 2018 International Letter-Writing Competition, quoted above. Truthfully, I was unaware of this contest for young people ages 9-15, even though it's been around since 1971, sponsored by the Universal Postal Union.
I first thought about a young person needing to decide if their letter would travel back in time, or ahead to the future. How would they frame their thoughts so a reader in another time would understand their message? I wondered what message a young writer would actually want to convey. What would you want to say?
Then my mind jumped ahead to 2020. What message would a young person want to say about 2020? Would they share thoughts similar to the cartoon, or meme, my husband showed me a few weeks ago? It depicted a scene from the movie, Back to the Future, where "Doc" tells Marty McFly to never set the DeLorean to 2020! It's good there are those who can find humor during challenging circumstances to give others a moment of lightheartedness. Or would they focus on how COVID-19 has impacted their young lives and the world? Or would they discuss their thoughts on the social issues and unrest in our nation? Would they write letters of despair, or encouraging words? My guess is there would be letters reflecting many aspects of what we're living now, which one day will be considered history.
Reading to find out more about this contest, I learned that themes are announced many months ahead of the deadlines. Participating nations conduct their own competitions, and then each submits their country's one winning entry. The 2020 International competition deadline was on May 5, 2020. The theme: "Write a message to an adult about the world we live in." What would you want to say?
Amy Peterson, "Time-Traveling Letters," Our Daily Bread, August 9, 2020