I suck at updating this blog – Letters 12-55

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So, I have been writing letter and so far, I have only repeated one person, who became the first step of phase two.  I have received letters back from a few people, which is exciting, but not everyone even lets me know they got my letters, which leaves me wondering if they reached their destination, but I guess that’s a part of the process, too.

Those of you that know me, know the past week has been tough.  My father passed away on the 15th, and – for the first time- I did not write a letter on the day of his memorial service.  I did write two letters the next day, so I’m counting it.  I also started one letter that I finished the next day, but I count that, too.

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I am so thankful that I started this project when I d

I started writing because I craved connection and find handwriting to be powerful and important.  Clearly, I am not the only one who feels this way.  I hope to get the kickstarter going soon and hope that I get some input from artist friends soon.  The little notecards are cute, but I really wanted to incorporate some personal artwork into the project.id and that the first letter that I wrote to someone else was the letter I wrote to my father.  It wasn’t easy to write, but I guess a part of me knew that I needed to write it soon.  So far, I have written 55 letters.  3 of them are unsent because I do not know how to reach the people I wrote to.  Some days, I have had to struggle to figure out who to write.  Others, I have felt inspired.  Oddly enough, FB has provided me with the answer more often than not.  I will see a post from a friend who is having a rough day or going through some struggles and hope that I can offer that love or inspiration they need.  Sometimes, I have just written.  Several of the people I’ve written have messaged me back to let me know that my letter reached them when they needed it most and that they were keeping them where they could see them.

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I randomly decided to start a phase 2.  If you have written back and would like to be a part of phase 2, message me (or write) and tell me three tangible things you miss about FL (if you’ve moved), or that inspire you.

Letters 12 – 55

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Letter 12 – friend from college (with Jack’s artwork)

Letter 13 – wife of a former student (we’ve never actually met, but become friends online)

Letter 14 – pediatrician from my childhood (unsent)

Letter 15 – friend who told me to ask my husband out

Letter 16 – former student

Letter 17 – Dad’s cousin Addie – got a great letter back from her and learned some cool things about his mother (who died when he was 9)

Letter 18 – my beautiful niece

Letter 19 – co-worker I didn’t get along with when we worked together, but have grown to know better since

Letter 20- college friend of great faith

Letter 21 – one of my best friends from high school

Letter 22 – My RCIA sponsor

Letter 23 – former student who is now teaching

Letter 24 – best friend’s mom

Letter 25 – postcard to an artsy mom-friend

Letter 26 – letter to a elementary school friend I’ve gotten to know as an adult/mom friend

Letter 27 – Alex’s Godmother

Letter 28 – Claire (Phase 2)

Letter 29 – dear friend who lives a simpler life- i.e. no internets or facebook

Letter 30 – friend’s sister

Letter 31 – friend starting a dream job

Letter 32 – friend leaving her job to go back to college

Letter 33 – grandfather

Letter 34 – Jack’s teacher whose dog passed

Letter 35 – Cousin Allison

Letter 36 – John’s cousin – Jacqui

Letter 37 – Jenny – anniversary of her mother’s death

Letter 38 – John’s cousin – Lauren

Letter 39 – Aunt Bobbi

Letter 40 – Becky

Letter 41 – former student struggling with loneliness

Letter 42 – friend running her first 1/2 marathon

Letter 43 – HS Friend with faith

Letter 44 – former student

Letter 45 – first real crush – unsent

Letter 46 – my brother – day of our father’s death

Letter 47 – col

lege friend who called to express condolences

Letter 48 – neighbor who took Dottie for us

Letter 49 – Mom’s neighbor

Letter 50 – 5 Guys- my dad’s favorite place to eat – they were always able to cater to his special needs and I wanted them to know how much I appreciated this.

Letter 51 – The Heart Center and Lakeland Regional

Letter 52 – best friend

Letter 53 – old HS friend who has a birthday coming up

Letter 54 – friend whose father is going through similar health issues to my Dad’s

Letter 55 – cousin I haven’t gotten to know 

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Letters 3 through 11 and my mood

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letter 3 023 026 002 005 iphone 002 iphone 006Today was not the first day I thought – “Oh, I need to write my letter and I’m tired and I don’t want to write a letter.” A few of the letters I have written this week have been short. I used postcards of artwork from the fabulous Joshua Coffy, so that gave me a good reason to make the letters a bit more concise. Those of you that know me, know that brevity is not a strong point for me. Forcing myself to narrow the thoughts so much did help me focus and get the letter written.

Josh has told me not to worry about doing it every day, and I even thought “I can’t mail letters on Sunday, so I COULD write my Saturday letter on Sunday,” but I’m afraid if I give myself an excuse this early in the process I’ll give up and I don’t want to give up.

I’m starting to hear back from people who have received letters, through phone calls or messages- no return letters yet, though a few have promised. Honestly, Some days I feel like I will not have enough people to write to, so any letters back will get you in the rotation for a second one, hopefully with some more artwork.

I’ve been in kind of a funk since Thursday. I’m worried about a work situation and what it means for me down the road and that’s draining a lot of my energy. Tonight’s letter turned out to be some good therapy. I wrote to someone I have not seen in a while, but someone I could always vent to without fear of judgment or repercussion.

I’m excited that I have kept this going strong and I hope to get the kickstarter going by the end of the month. I only have a few stamps left and I’m going to have to break down and buy some. I did find a book over the Christmas break and the last time I went to the post office I found 6 stamps someone had printed and left behind, so I took it as a sign that this project was destined to happen.

Letter 3 – HS Friend/amazing artist Josh
Letter 4 – Mom
Letter 5 – Friend undergoing gender transition
Letter 6 – HS friend with admirable spirit
Letter 7 – Friend that move across country
Letter 8 – Former co-worker with great style and humor
Letter 9 – Friends in a new home
Letter 10 – Super creative friend I admire
Letter 11 – Former co-worker I haven’t seen in years

Letter 2 – To my Father

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UCF card and letter to my father.

UCF card and letter to my father.

I felt it important to write this letter early in the project, but knew it was going to be tough to write. I cried. A lot. Those of you who know me, know that my dad hasn’t been in the best health for the past few years. We thought we were going to lose him several times and once even got the 2AM call that we needed to get to the hospital. I don’t know how many of you have received a call like that, but if you have, you know how terrifying it can be. Somehow, he keeps on chugging along. As a result, he has gotten to know his grandchildren and at least Jack has gotten to know him. Alex is too little to understand much of what’s going on, but through the magic of the internet, the videos of my little maniacs have made my Dad laugh and smile. But still, the power of the written word encouraged me to write to him.

I will probably not blog every day and may be inclined to summarize a week’s worth of letter just for the sake of simplicity, but wanted to get the thoughts out for today’s letter. I also don’t think I really want letter recipients to know when they are receiving a letter. Part of my excitement in the project is knowing what joy that surprise in the mailbox can bring. In the early days of the project, I know the letters will be emotional and probably warrant posting, but I already know many of the people following this project will get letter and I don’t want to spoil the moment.

If you are reading this and would like to receive a letter, just drop me a line with your snail mail address. I’ll do my best to not send any actual snails.

The First Letter – to myself

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I decided to write the first and last letters of the project to myself. It isn’t often that I will include the full text of the letter in a posting, as it may be sensitive and/or personal to either myself or the recipient, but this helps to explain my reasons behind the project and what I hope to accomplish. As I was typing, I noticed some sentences that didn’t make sense, but to stay true to the spirit of the project, I am not correcting my mistakes.

If you’d like to receive a letter or be a part of them project, please send me your address!

“January 1st. 2014

The first letter. I’m writing this to myself – to the me I’ll be in 364 days. I hope the year has been all good, though I suspect there may be some heartbreak. But I know I can get through tough times and I know I’ll be stronger for it. I started this project to reconnect: with myself, with friends and family, and with the written – ACTUAL WRITTEN – word. I hope to incorporate art and design, to write to people I respect and admire, to give them a part of myself in a way we too often fear. Most of these letters will be mailed, but a few will not. I plan to write to people I am not able to locate and a few who have passed on.

Some thoughts on letters. Two of my most cherished possessions are a letter from my grandmother. I received it just after I started my first semester at the University of Tampa. She told me she was proud of me. She also told me that she had been kicked out of college for kissing a boy outside after curfew – scandalous. The other letter is from one of my most inspiring and favorite professors after I sent him a copy of my Masters’ Thesis, which I dedicated to him. These mark important moments in my life and, for my grandmother, a connection to my personal past. It was the last time I heard from her as she suffered an aneurysm shortly after I got the letter. I hope to live a life long enough to tell everyone I love how much I love them, but that can’t just be left to chance. I will write to all family members, including my children, so they have that connection with my written word.

I chose to write this letter on yellow legal paper because it is who I am. I was the kid who wrote pages and pages of letters and notes in class. I was also the girl who loved the new school supplies. To quote, or paraphrase, the musical Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim – “a blank page or canvas, his favorite: so full of 021possibilities.”

This letter, and the start of this project, is so full of possibilities. I look forward to the journey.

Susan Wheeler Capozza

Setting up the site and the basic project idea

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A few weeks ago I had an idea while I was driving my son to daycare.  I remembered how much I loved getting mail as a kid.  When my family moved from the small town of Cleveland, TN, where I had spent the first 12 years of my life, I asked everyone in my grade for their address.  I wrote letters religiously.  We moved in the beginning of the summer, so I didn’t get to make many friends until I started school in the Fall.  I watched the mailbox every day.  It was exciting to hear from my old friends and made me feel connected.

Now, I find myself obsessively connecting through facebook and letting REAL connection fall away.  So next year, I begin a mission.

So, I will write a letter every day for the year 2014.  I am talking to artist friends to get some unique cards to help with the scope of the project.  I am also looking to create a kickstarter to help fund the project.  I will blog about the letter writing and hope to write and publish a book about the experience in 2015.