Evidently, this is the year of leaving my comfort zone! This "new year" began on my birthday. The big challenge was to begin a new project that I am calling "Fifty Two Letters". I am writing to one person each week for one full year, ending with the last letter on my next birthday. When I say writing, I mean WRITING...with a pen, my hand, and a sheet of paper. I know, I know. It's never done anymore. Writing letters? By hand?! Ain't nobody got time for that! I'm making time for it.
I suppose now is the time in the blog where I explain the parameters of my project. (Please bear with me, readers. I've never blogged before--another ginormous, uncomfortable step!)
The people I am writing to are all people who have influenced my life and my personal growth in some way. They are people that I know and love: family, friends, and mentors. And people I WISH to know: well known artists and public figures. Each letter is written by hand, without any first drafts or rewrites, and embellished with original artwork. The imagery is created intuitively. I may draw, paint, collage, or embroider the letter; whichever process brings me the most joy at the moment.
I am inviting each person to write me back in long hand as well. I want to reestablish the intimacy of hand writing letters. Technology has offered us great advances in communication. But the convenience and immediacy of texting and instant messaging has, in a way, broken down the more intimate, meaningful conversations we could have with others. When we take time out of our busy lives to sit down and WRITE to someone, aren't we showing that person that they are important? That they matter enough for us to devote some of our precious time solely to that one individual. And when we slow down enough to write in long hand, how does it change the content of what we want to say, and the tone in which we say it?
I've wanted to do this for several years, but always talked myself out of it. I told myself that I didn't have the time to execute it, that people wouldn't care enough to participate, that I would make a huge fool of myself, that my letters would be thrown out with last night's garbage. But the urge never went away, and I became frustrated with my fears. I decided the only way to quiet the fear, was to do it. The worst that can happen is that people don't write back. But I get to enjoy the roller coaster ride this project is sure to be!
I want to document the process and decided I should also share it (taking me even further from my comfort zone). I decided that a blog would be a great way to present the progress while holding myself accountable. I will be sharing from the letters I send and those that I receive. You won't get to see all the content of the letters, but I will share the images and tease you with some phrases from each letter. I'm a few weeks into the project, so I will have to play catch up. After that, I'll be posting on a weekly basis.