My Writing Diary #Mixtapes #80s #Writer #Penpals

Welcome to my weekly writing diary.

This week I have been thinking a lot about old mixtapes. I am blaming a conversation I overheard in a coffee shop for this latest creative distraction. A woman was telling her friend she had thrown out her LARGE collection of mixtapes.

As a child of the 80s and one who spent much of her youth, sat by her stereo, recording thought-provoking songs for her crushes, my ears pricked up.

The woman went onto explain her rationale for chucking out her collection; she didn’t have a tape cassette player anymore, the collection was taking up space and…some of the mixtapes were about her teenage crushes, who she went to school with.

Readers, I had to restrain myself from tapping her on the shoulder and asking why she threw away such a wonderful treasure trove of romantic memories.

As an avid mixtape fan, back in the day, I also wanted to know things like;

    Did she doodle hearts and the initials of her loved one on the front of the mixtape?
    Did she only make ‘falling in love’ mixtapes or like me did she make ‘break up’ mixtapes?
    Did she ever put more than one song from the same band on a mixtape? This was a big no-no for me.
    Has she seen any of her old crushes since the mixtape era? What’s it like meeting an old love interest again who you once inundated with mixtapes?
    Did she ever write in CAPITAL letters on the front of one of her mixtapes – LISTEN TO THE LYRICS and then find out her crush did not do this and simply fast forwarded through each song?
    Did she give a teenage crush one of her mixtapes and how was it received? I used to find my crushes never liked my choice of songs. Heartbreaking!
    Did she ever record her own voice? I did on a couple. A few choice words from me, telling my crush just how much he meant to me. *Sigh*

If I was her, with all those mixtapes, I would have bought an old stereo, gone home with a box of chocolates and listened to them all. Complimenting myself on the sound and recording quality plus the emotional design of the mixtape.

Have any readers out there made a mixtape for someone special in their life?

Here is the latest in my mini fictional series, When Harry Met Po.

Every week I record the friendship highs and lows of my cat, Harry and Po, my dog.

Po was busy thinking about his life.

He wanted to get in touch with his creative side but didn’t know where to start.

Harry and Po had a good chat, on the living room floor, about Po’s creative urges.

They both agreed that Po had a good eye for fashion and clothing design would be a great way of connecting with his creative side.

One minute and twenty seconds later, Po was seen modeling the first of his new head wear creations.

He felt good about his life again.

There will be more from When Harry Met Po.

What’s been happening in my writing life?

In my writing life this week I have been writing pen pal letters to my latest set of characters, in an attempt to rid myself of Writer’s Block.

I would like to say that in my youth, as well as frantically making mixtapes, I was also a prolific international pen pal. My goodness, one year, a girl in Germany and a boy in Holland were deluged with pen pal letters from me. Half the time I don’t think they requested a lengthy letter, with doodles around the edges, from me, but they got one every two weeks. Even when they stopped writing back I would still roll my teenage eyes, shake my head and take out my letter writing equipment. The joy of writing letters was wonderful and so too was receiving one. Oh, my days – I would hop and skip to the letterbox and open my Penpal letter with delight. I would just like to point out the following:

  • My international pen pals never wrote more than 2 sides. I rarely stopped at 8 handwritten sides.
  • My international pen pals never sprayed their letters with perfume. I doused my letters in my mum’s perfume, especially those for that hunk in Holland.
  • My international pen pals took months to reply. On receipt of a letter, I had a reply written and posted within twenty-four hours.

Writing pen pal letters to your characters is an interesting exercise because you get to talk to them in a different way and I think it’s this which sparks your writer’s brain.

What have I been watching on TV?

My loved one and I have been watching Game of Thrones again.

I have such a crush Jon Snow I feel like locking myself away, making him a few mixtapes and crafting a pen pal letter or two. ❤️

Have fun out there!

Lucy x

Posted by

Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❤️

17 thoughts on “My Writing Diary #Mixtapes #80s #Writer #Penpals

  1. All I ever need to refresh my creativity is to walk about the vineyards or watch my two felines. As for penpals, it is rare, in my experience, to find one who will stay with it. However, if you find one, you are both enriched. The last one I had for several years until her health made it impossible for her to continue. Now the messages go in one direction but I believe her family will make sure she is aware of my thoughts and wishes. Thank you Lucy. Keeping a diary or making tapes would have been impossible but that is often the way of children growing up in the system.

  2. Mixtapes!!!
    I made loads as a young teen, for myself. It wasn’t until uni that I made a couple for specific people and received them as well… I still have a stack of them.
    What’s better, I even have some that belonged to my mum and Pops from The 70s. These are filled with old skool Bollywood tracks!
    And yup, I loved penpals too! I’m seriously considering setting something up with a nursery class in America. Doing a class letter and waiting for the response!
    Love your idea of character Penpals!

  3. Yes, guilty as charged – I made at least two mixtapes with hidden messages for the recipient.
    I love the friendship between Harry and Po! I could never have a cat, with Pearly Greyhound around. Pearl’s flash fiction would read: “Pearl met Puss. Pearl ate Puss. Pearl threw up Puss on the carpet. The End.”

  4. Seriously, that Po is the most handsome fashion model. He could design AND walk the runway.

    Mixed tapes,no, I didn’t really have the means. But being a penpal, oh yes! Sounds like we had a similar penpal methodology.

    I write to my characters, too. (In a journal.) Then I have them write back. I think it helps me work on the characters’ voices and motivations.

  5. The joy of buying pen-pal-letter-writing stationery was one of the highlights of my pen pal career as a teen. I too had a friend in Germany, one in Sweden, and ‘almost’ one in Spain. The one is Spain stopped writing after the second letter. I visited both the German one and the Swedish one and found I got on better with their friends than with them. But oh the wonderful times I spent going into town to buy matching envelopes and writing sheets…

    Mix tapes – yeah that was a thing for me too, but I kept them for myself in a kind of a ‘I can’t possibly tell him what I think’ terror.

    Harry and Po rock.

  6. You’re diary is amusing 😁 I particularly enjoy Harry and Po – I’m guessing their names are literary inspired? I just love seeing life from different perspectives.
    I write a series on my own dog Bo and baby girl.

  7. If mixed CDs count as mixtapes, then I’ve exchanged a number of them with both friends and romantic interests in my youth! I still have most of them, I believe. Listening to them definitely takes me back and fills me with nostalgia.

    I like the idea of writing pen pal letters to your characters! I have just started developing characters for a new book I am writing, and I think I will try this.

  8. Being a wee bit older than you, I shared the pen pal phase but missed the mixtape era except for folk tapes from a sister. The mixtape served many purposes, I guess, creative, lustful, instructive…

  9. Hi ya Lucy, this is magic, being a guy and not really allowed to listen to pop music I wasn’t making mix tapes. I loved the dog and cat story…
    Also I feel a bit saddened that your pen pals didn’t share the same enthusiasm as you for letter writing. I can imagine you now waiting months for the letter before eagerly replying. It’s shame they didn’t share your enthusiasm.

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