Thursday, October 01, 2015

Free Love Letters 2015

It's finally October and once again we are entering the dark half of the year, my time for creativity and renewal when for many people the opposite is true. October is a special month to me for a number of reasons. It ends with pagan new year (Samhain) on Oct. 31 and time for the cycle of the year to start anew.

I associate October with love because I've actually met (officially) all my previous lovers in the month of October. So even though I'm a polyamorous single right now, I believe in celebrating love in all its forms, not just sexual or romantic love.

So four years ago I started a project called "Free Love Letters" to mark October as my own month dedicated to love. It's sort of like those people holding "Free Hugs" signs in Times Square, but more permanent. As you might guess, I've kept a journal for most of my life but it was only in middle school that I started writing letters, which led to becoming a journalist and later into public relations. It has also played a big part in cultivating my past love relationships and some of my oldest friendships.

I started thinking of the FLL project after reading this article in the Wall Street Journal"Stationery's New Followers" - Aug. 25, 2011. I wanted to do something for the sake of art, without any other purpose or agenda beyond putting something beautiful out in the world. I've also been inspired by master calligraphers Jake Weidman and Seb Lester - although this project is not about the beauty of the script so much as the message in the letter.

As a whole, the FLL project celebrates love itself, not love for any specific person. The idea of love is bigger than the fuel for our intimate relationships - love is the most powerful force for good we have in the world. This is why I do all I can to help people find new ways to experience and share love. I sincerely believe that if there's more love in the world, it will make the other problems we have easier to handle.

So each October, I write a personalized love letter to anyone who requests one by sending me their physical mailing address between now and 11:59 pm ET on October 31. Even if you've gotten one before, if you enjoyed it I encourage you to request another! Everyone who gives me an address will get a letter - guaranteed - whether we've known each other a minute or a decade.

Each love letter will be handcrafted using some of the many tools I've collected over the years - fine writing instruments, a vintage manual typewriter, various seals and waxes, a burgeoning collection of handmade papers, etc. Once completed, it will be delivered to you anywhere in the world by old-fashioned postal carrier and thus its contents will be as confidential as things get in this modern world.

Your letter may be philosophical or romantic, funny or sincere. It might be perfumed or decorated. It might recall some tiny, distant memory of our time together, or it might be five pages long if we have a history. It might be lyrics to a love song that reminds me of you. It could be a story I've always wanted to share with you, but never found the right moment to tell it.

But whatever it is, it will be honest, and it will be about you and me - and whatever is between us and how it relates to the experience of love. It will be the product of my deep reflection about you and possibly a lot of research on how we've interacted over the years. And for those moments it takes you to read it, you and I will share a personal and physical connection that is so rare in this fleeting digital world.

Since I started doing this project, the number of requests have grown geometrically - one in 2011, three in 2012, five in 2013 and 10 in 2014. They have also gotten more involved to make since I'm constantly trying new ideas and improvements. So bear in mind that if I get 20 requests this year, it may take a few months to receive your letter, but I promise you will get it (unless it gets lost in transit) and that it will be worth the wait.

Finally, no response will be expected from you - the letter is my gift with no strings attached, in honor of all the love that has found me in Octobers past. All individual letters and requests will be kept confidential on my end, but you are welcome to share the experience publicly if you wish, as many people do.