Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The End and The Means

I started this project with about 205 names in THE LETTER JAR--friends, family, teachers, employers and employees, professional contacts, even a handful of writers and musicians and filmmakers whom I've never met but whose work has profoundly moved me.

As they've occurred to me, I've added another couple dozen names along the way, and I'll likely add some more.

Still short of 365, though.

What will help me reach my goal are the writing opportunities I've started to recognize in my life. Friends have a baby? Rather than just ooh and aah over the photos on Facebook (though I still do that too--who can resist pictures of new babies?) I send them a card and maybe a little present. A friend helps me through a rough patch? I send a thank you note recognizing the gift of their listening.

On Mother's Day I sent handmade cards to some friends and family whose mothering skills I respect and admire. My cousin's wife getting accepted into nursing school was cause for a celebratory note, with extra kudos for going into a profession where more hands are so desperately needed.

When two friends lost their dogs, I wrote notes of condolence and made small donations to charity in memory of their beloved pets.

I'm not afraid to admit that in the past, before I launched this yearlong letterwriting project, I might not have seized some of these opportunities. I can honestly say that sometimes I'm "looking" for a reason to write to someone.

Is that a bad thing?

I have to believe that, if the letter recipient appreciates the gesture, it doesn't necessarily matter what first prompted me to put pen to paper. That I am so motivated now to write to people and tangibly acknowledge life's highs and lows--in ways I just never would have before--just one of many unexpected blessings of this project.

BLOG ADDICTION: Started following Letters of Note on Twitter last month. Can spend (have spent) hours looking at archives, and I'm always looking forward to a new installment. Today's? Johnny Depp thanking some fans for the quilt they handmade for him. I couldn't make this up.

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