Last Thursday I was browsing my email and came across a literary magazine launch event happening after work. This immediately sparked my interest because the entire magazine was made up of 26 love letters from around the world – the sap in me was immediately attracted. I clicked on the event link to learn more and from there was directed to the lit mag’s kickstarter page. I learned that Lettres Mag was created by a woman named Agnes, a professional social media strategist who is a “creative artist at heart”. After being laid off, she felt uninspired by the job market and decided to create this magazine.
“through this printed art magazine, i wanted to rebalance my communication platforms to be less about the immediate, and mass-audience oriented online communication, and more about the intimate, one-to-one and sometimes time-consuming communication of letters, and to show everyone what love looks like offline” -Agnes, taken from her kickstarter page
I loved her passion, creativity, the idea of love letters (written by those in love, by the heartbroken, by the hopeful, by parents, children, siblings and friends) and knew this was not only something I wanted to purchase and read, but an event I wanted to attend. So, obviously, I did. I hopped on the B train downtown after work and found my way down a side street to the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. Not only was the interior of this bookstore cool and somewhere I will definitely go back to simply to hangout, browse the shelves, and maybe even write, but I learned that they operate almost entirely on volunteers and donations. They work this way so that 100% of their profits can go back to the Housing Works services, which support the people whom a lot of organizations deem “too challenging to serve”, as quoted from their site. I also quickly learned that this group they service is made up largely of people affected by AIDS.
Aside from the small stage set up for the live readings and performances that were going to take place, an area to purchase the mag, and (free! always appreciated when over half of your paycheck goes to rent) snacks, beer, and wine, there was also a love letter writing table. If you chose to write a letter you picked a card and envelope, wrote your letter, and placed it inside the envelope unsealed with your address on the front. After the event, the letters were to be mixed up and a few days later sent out so that you in return receive a love letter from a stranger. (I might have already received mine, honestly I’m not very good at checking my mail) I wrote about a love letter I received recently, and how it was cathartic for both the sender and me, the receiver, and about how sometimes putting pen to paper and writing down your feelings can help you understand, heal, or even just make someone else feel a little extra special.
As Agnes said on her kickstarter page about why we need more love letters:
i’ve noticed in my everyday communication, the flow of conversations is often focused on a shallow “how are you” and updates of our surface-level life events. but life is more than updates—it’s full of feeling, questions, insecurity, unevents and revelations. writing down deeper feelings through love letters is both healing for the self and uplifting to others in a non-paper, digital-savvy world.
we need love letters to remember that we can all connect and have conversations in unexpected ways. anyone can write a love letter, everyone can tell a story, everyone can love and be loved – all it takes is the time to express it.
Love is a word/theme/feeling I wanted to explore on this blog and I think going to this event helped me decide how to begin to dip my toe into it. So, to borrow from Agnes’s creative project as the next few weeks of spring start to finally come upon us and things are in bloom, fresh and new, I am going to share some love letters with you all.
I can’t seem to find anywhere Lettres Mag is for sale right now but their Instagram handle is @lettresmag so check it out!
Happy writing, happy reading, and happy loving.