The other day I was driving to work and an idea exploded into my head. You know how sometimes you can be in a blank space of thought and you’ll catch a glimpse of something, and then over time it matures into a fully formed idea or action? That didn’t happen here. Instead, the proverbial stork delivered a fully formed idea to me instantly and it’s something I want to put into action right away for fear it will fly up and out of sight.
When was the last time you wrote a letter? Or wrote anything longer than a few words? I’ve been realizing that for most, you reach a certain place in adulthood and you stop writing. The majority of us sit at computers and type everything. And then we go home and sit on our phones or tablets and tap out everything with our thumbs. So we still have these thoughts and things to say, but we are losing sight of an important medium in which to communicate with one another. Aside from scribbling down a grocery list every week, how often are we working our penmanship muscle? My answer is: not much. And I can tell! Recently I’ve started back at school and frequently take notes in class after 10 years of not needing to actually write much. And I’ve noticed, sometimes I get momentarily lost in writing certain letters, like for just a blip of a second my mind isn’t sure how to write a letter or word correctly. And I naturally write in cursive (another lost art!) and sometimes on certain connecting strokes my mind stalls for just a blink, until I think through the next letter. This tells me that over time, we begin to lose the sharpness of forming words with a tool on paper, a skill we drill constantly from the time we enter kindergarten, until we leave school in adulthood. That practice spans, on average, 15 or more years, but when you layer on another 15 of non-writing years over the top, it’s amazing how rusty the whole act becomes. Writing isn’t something I want to lose, or am willing to give up on. It’s too important and meaningful to let slip away, so I want to launch a personal project in 2017 that is two fold: I want a writing activity that I can genuinely look forward to, but I also want to bring back the romance in writing letters; this is where you come in to play.
I want to write you a letter, if you want to receive one. I want to sit down at my desk, and take time to practice my handwriting, without rushing on to something else. Why are we always rushing to the next thing anyway? This will not be a check off of a list of things I have hanging over my head, but really an honor of an opportunity to get to freely express myself and send it out into the universe, to be received by someone I know and care for. If you would like to be on the receiving end, please comment or directly message me your address and I will add you to the list! And at some point this next year, I will write you a letter. It may be just a glimpse of my life that day, a funny story, a secret, or a confession that I’ve always wanted to say but never had the chance. I have no idea what it will say when the time comes, but I will take every care to make it genuine and heart-felt, even if it’s not particularly profound. Even if we haven’t directly communicated in years, you have a place in this. Part of the beauty in sending a letter is to touch someone you would not otherwise be able to, so distance apart is encouraged!
If you want to participate, there is no response required of you after you receive your letter, I’m not looking for 100 pen pals! But I would require you to pay it forward somehow in the form of communication. It can be big or small, but speak life into someone. Write someone a note to brighten their day. Say hello to a stranger and offer a compliment. It’s like watching birds soar out of a tree when you genuinely tell a woman you’re passing that she looks beautiful today, or that her shade of lipstick is perfect for her. Or a child you see, that you really think his shoes are cool. We are often paralyzingly absorbed in our snapchat and Amaro filtered world that we forget how to be vulnerable and human to each other. So, if you get a letter from me, you have to send something good back out into the universe. It’s the simplest form of pay it forward that I can think of, but one of the biggest treasures when on the receiving end.
Plant a seed. Plant several! Watch how evergreen the world (and people) around you grow.
Cheers to you in 2017!