The Letter Project (take 2…or 3?)
Friends, it’s exciting for me to say that I have now received a total of 25 letters for my letter project, the two most recent being from Knoxville TN and India!!
As a summary of what the letter project is, I’m going to say that I started the project last summer when I reached out to 26 people (via snail-mail) that I randomly found on the yellowpages.com with 18 questions and asked them for their anonymous responses and for whatever reason, none of them wrote back. Most of my letters were returned to me. I wanted these people’s anonymous answers because I wanted to display them all together eventually and create connections between strangers and touch the letter-viewers with the knowledge that we are all different and similar, vulnerable, goofy, serious, scared, etc.
When none of the people I wrote to got back to me I felt a little disillusioned but I got over it. I did nothing with the project for about 3 months and then I thought to myself: well, I have the p.o. box, I might as well throw this project into the internet and see what happens. 25 letters happened! It’s exciting and inspiring!
I have extended my p.o. box to June 2014 and whereas my original goal for letters was 30 my new goal is 50. So far, I have 25: 21 from women and 4 from men - from all over the United states and from countries as far as Spain and India, from people between the ages of 17 and 70. Gentlemen, if you have nothing to do or believe in making the world a smaller place through small connections between people…if you believe in the written word and the beauty of handwriting - write me a letter!
Ladies, too - please join in on the project! The only thing I ask is that all of you write out the questions and answers in PEN so that they don’t get smudged or faded etc. Be as creative as you’d like - use a legal pad or your grandma’s stationary or a napkin- make your envelope or use one of the ready-post ones from the post office, I like it all. People have even sent me random photographs, clippings and postcards with their answers and I won’t lie, I really love that. When I display them, I will display everything that came in the envelope and the envelope as well (but i will cover your address if it is on the front).
So here goes, again:
State of Residence:
1. Describe a childhood memory.
2. Do you consider yourself a good liar?
3. What makes a “successful” person, to you?
4. Do you feel you are living life to the fullest?
5. Describe something that you were once afraid of doing, but did anyway.
6. Describe a dream that you’ll never forget (could be a sleep-dream, a day-dream or a goal).
7. Which part of your body do you like the most? The least?
8. Describe something about yourself or something that you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of.
9. Do you have health insurance?
10. If you could travel anywhere for two weeks for free, where would you go?
11. What is love for you? How many times have you felt “in love?” Are you in love now?
12. What is your favorite time of day?
13. How do you sleep?
14. Describe something you haven’t done yet that you would like to do before the end of your life.
15. How is your relationship with your family?
16. What is your favorite color to wear?
17. What is a food you must always have around because you love it so much?
18. When was the last time you belly-laughed and what was so funny?
For all who write and care to write their return address on the envelope (with or without their name or initials) I pledge to send you a beautiful personal thank you note and an update on the project.
If you would like to check out my artist’s website, click HERE. There is a page dedicated to the Letter Project.
If you would like to check out the original Letter Project tumblr post, click HERE.
Thank you all and Happy New Year!
Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed
nose of mine! what will you not be smelling?
What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose,
always indiscriminate, always unashamed,
and now it is the souring flowers of the bedraggled
poplars: a festering pulp on the wet earth
beneath them. With what deep thirst
we quicken our desires
to that rank odor of a passing springtime!
Can you not be decent? Can you not reserve your ardors
for something less unlovely? What girl will care
for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways?
Must you taste everything? Must you know everything?
Must you have a part in everything?
-William Carlos Williams
Dedication For a Plot of Ground
This plot of ground
facing the waters of this inlet
is dedicated to the living presence of
Emily Dickinson Wellcome
who was born in England; married;
lost her husband and with
her five year old son
sailed for New York in a two-master;
was driven to the Azores;
ran adrift on Fire Island shoal,
met her second husband
in a Brooklyn boarding house,
went with him to Puerto Rico
bore three more children, lost
her second husband, lived hard
for eight years in St. Thomas,
Puerto Rico, San Domingo, followed
the oldest son to New York,
lost her daughter, lost her “baby,”
seized the two boys of
the oldest son by the second marriage
mothered them — they being
motherless — fought for them
against the other grandmother
and the aunts, brought them here
summer after summer, defended
herself here against thieves,
storms, sun, fire,
against flies, against girls
that came smelling about, against
drought, against weeds, storm-tides,
neighbors, weasels that stole her chickens,
against the weakness of her own hands,
against the growing strength of
the boys, against wind, against
the stones, against trespassers,
against rents, against her own mind.
She grubbed this earth with her own hands,
domineered over this grass plot,
blackguarded her oldest son
into buying it, lived here fifteen years,
attained a final loneliness and —
If you can bring nothing to this place
but your carcass, keep out.
- William Carlos Williams