By Leigh Newman
Imagine grocery shopping at your local megastore, reaching down into the assortment of dented, limp red onions and pulling out an envelope with the words "This letter is for you" written on it in loopy blue ink. Would you leave it there because you might not be the real "you?" Would you open it on the spot? Or would you look both ways, then scurry off with it hidden in your purse to read later?
This spring, Brooklyn artist Liz Medina has been dropping off these anonymous missives around as part of her Eternally Yours project. She tucks them into bushes and weaves them into the spokes of bikes. She hides them in old antique cannons and on the shelves of toy stores and—just yesterday—in the bill of her restaurant check.
Each envelope contains three things: (1) a love letter that asks how you have been and tells you how wonderful you are, which you are invited to respond to, (2) a drawing that you are invited to add to artistically by drawing or painting or writing on it, (3) a prepaid envelope to send your contributions back.
"I'm trying to address the breakdown in traditional communication, such as with letters and writing," says Medina. "I want to ignite a small spark in people's lives, for them to feel a flash of joy as they go back and forth from work—if not some mystery."
Eternally Yours volunteers now hide letters in states as far flung as California, Texas and Iowa. Medina herself has tucked over 500 on her home turf of Brooklyn. Her favorite response back from a reader was a tiny scrap of torn white paper with the words "try harder" written by manual typewriter. But over 20 other examples are posted on her site.
"I went to art school to paint and draw," she says, "I thought I would spend my life simply perfecting those skills. But when I moved to New York, I decided to act on all the crazy ideas that I think about but never do. I mean, why not, if it makes people happy?"
Her next project is a 20-foot-tall inflatable gumball machine.
Our response: Why not, if makes people happy?
Tell about your love letters—the sweetest, the strangest, the one you wish you'd written...