The Letters Project / by Hannah Harley

At the start of 2016, I set out with a challenge: to write as many love letters as I could. Millennials are often told that we don't have meaningful relationships and connections, that we only show love through likes, retweets, and shares. But I've found that friendships are significant, especially among my peers. I've been fortunate enough to meet truly spectacular people and to know them well enough to love them. So I thought I'd do some old fashioned writing and send them handwritten letters - thanking them, praising them, cherishing them in a tangible way. 

I wrote the letters throughout the year to friends, family, co-workers, classmates, acquaintances, roommates. 100 letters to 100 different people. People who had all impacted me and shown me love - if only for a moment. The relationships all changed in their own ways, but my plan to send them at the end of the year remained. I wrote 100 letters in a year, but beautifully, thankfully, it wasn't nearly enough to thank and cherish all the people I wanted to. 

On December 31st, 2016, I sent out the first batch. I scanned each one, so I could have a way to remember the love that I had access to all year. I'm still scanning a second set, but that'll be on its way within the week. 

Unfortunately but also happily, between my moves from Pittsburgh to Indiana to Manhattan to Brooklyn, I lost a notebook filled with letters. On the one hand, I'm horrified that that's all lost. But I'm also elated. There's potential in those that I could never capture in the physical item. To those who don't receive a letter from me in the mail in the coming weeks, you were probably in that lost notebook (or you never gave me your address, classic). You were, and are, loved thoroughly. You're loved by a very unorganized creative. 

This year, I aim to write a letter every day. These letters, though, are not intended to ever reach who or what I write them too. Inspired in part by Collateral Beauty, I will be writing to people and things and ideas and feelings. At the end of the year, I'll send them to anyone who wants one. (Shoot me an email at hannaheharley@gmail.com with your address!) I'll write letters to the little girl in the pink hoodie on the train, one to rainy days, perhaps one to Steven or Marlinda, maybe another one to the steam on windows in coffeeshops when it's cold. I'll write letters to love and to heartbreak, to fear, to jam and jelly, to the moments when you're perfectly buzzed and with your best friend. 

I want to spend more time focusing on living more presently, more abstractly, more passionately. And a letter a day is a way towards that goal. 

So if you're interested in this next phase, please send me an email with your address, and I'll send you a letter by the end of 2017. Thanks for being a part of the journey. 

 The first batch. 12/31/2016  This project has been generously funded by Tom and Patrice Harley, who lovingly bought me 200 stamps so I could spread some love via letters. Thanks, you two! (And sorry I lost your letter, Dad. But I'll be sending you a new one!) 

The first batch. 12/31/2016

This project has been generously funded by Tom and Patrice Harley, who lovingly bought me 200 stamps so I could spread some love via letters. Thanks, you two! (And sorry I lost your letter, Dad. But I'll be sending you a new one!)