It seems impossible to halt the spread of random acts of senseless kindness. This is a good thing. The latest good deeds come courtesy of Hannah Brencher and her army, which now numbers over 10,000 strong. What Hannah does is simple — she writes happy letters to strangers. What began as a sole endeavor is now a growing movement, replete with a starter kit for novice letter-writers, a TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) presentation, and its own website, of course, at The World Needs More Love Letters.
[div class=attrib]From the Guardian:[end-div]
When 24-year-old Hannah Brencher moved to New York after college, she was hit by depression and overwhelming loneliness. One day she felt so alone, she wanted to reach out to someone. And so she put pen to paper and started writing letters. Letters to complete strangers.
But these weren’t sad letters about how she was feeling. They were happy letters, all about the other person, not her. She would write messages for people to have a “bright day” and tell strangers how brilliant they were, even if they thought no one else had noticed. Brencher began dropping the notes all over New York, in cafes, in library books, in parks and on the subway. It made her feel better, knowing that she might be making somebody’s day through just a few short, sweet words. It gave her something to focus on. And so, The World Needs More Love Letters was born.
The World Needs More Love Letters is all about writing letters – not emails, but proper, handwritten letters. Not conventional love letters, written to a real beloved, but surprise letters for strangers. They don’t necessarily say “I love you”, but they are full of kindness (that’s the love Brencher’s talking about) – telling people they are remarkable and special and all-round amazing. It’s the sort of stuff that most people don’t really say out loud even to the people they care about, let alone a total stranger.
Brencher’s initiative has now exploded. She has personally written hundreds, if not thousands of letters. Last year, she did a Ted talk. In it, she talks about a woman whose husband, a soldier, comes back from Afghanistan and they struggle to reconnect – “So she tucks love letters throughout the house as a way to say: ‘Come back to me. Find me when you can'” – and a university student who slips letters around her campus, only to suddenly find everyone is writing them and there are love letters hanging from the trees.
Now there are more than 10,000 people who join in all over the world. Sometimes, they write letters to order, to people who are lonely and down and just want someone to tell them that everything will be OK. Mostly, though, they scribble notes and leave them somewhere unlikely, for somebody to find.
It’s a very cute idea. It also sounds, well, a bit American touchy-feely. I’m not sure that’s something us Brits do well (although this chap from Aberdeen did it for a while, to some success judging by the feedback on his blog. Even if his notes were printouts and not charmingly done by hand). But I know that if I was on the receiving end of a letter like that, it almost certainly might put a smile on my face. So I decide to give it a try and see if I might do the same for someone else.
[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]
[div class=attrib]Video courtesy of The World Needs More Love Letters / TED.[end-div]