But now Nancy finds herself beyond dedicated to the project, bordering on obsessed. She cannot stop. How could she stop? She loves it so much, relishing the visceral pleasure of putting pen to paper, brightening someone’s day, decorating the envelopes with doodles, sealing her thoughts in wax and putting out these missives into the world. The whole thing, which started so randomly, has taken on a life of its own.
That one-year mark? It passed long ago and, still, Nancy writes on. The pandemic? That has only heightened Nancy’s epistolary engagement, fueling her desire to reach out to friends and neighbors and relative strangers. Writer’s cramp be damned, she persists. But it has gotten her thinking of the long-term implications.
“I figure if I didn’t die in my 20s with all the dumb things I did, at this point now I’m doomed to live to be about 130, just genetically speaking,” she says, turning away from the kitchen table clutter. “My whole family tree, we live way too long. So that’s the thing I worry about, right? Because I can’t break a streak. I just can’t.
“I’m at 549 (days). Is this my life now? I’m thinking of the future, ‘Well, it’s been 11,201 days and I’ve written every day.’ I’m old and now I’ve got a hook for a hand trying to hold the pen.”
She laughs at the absurdity, but she also seems to cherish it for that very reason. Tall and statuesque, with a streak of silver hair mixed in with the black that makes her look like a young Susan Sontag, wearing a long, flowing peasant dress and a “Best Life Ever” mask, Nancy is a Flagstaff original. Wry and funny, as befits her Irish-Sicilian ancestry, she also is the type that takes no guff.