Long before the ability to write a quick email and press send, there were these magical things that were written and delivered straight to the recipient’s front door. These simple and beautiful messages bring smiles to people’s faces that an inbox full of junk mail can’t possibly do.
Now, because of Hannah Brencher, founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, love letters have been dropped all over the world, just waiting to be found. The art of snail mail and writing with something as simple as a pen and piece of paper hasn’t been lost, and this is how it all began.
HB: The story behind More Love Letters began about two years ago, shortly after I graduated from College and moved to New York City. I was a full time volunteer, living on the third floor of an immigration, trying to figure out the starting thread for all these unkempt writer dreams in my head and crying far too much on the subway. I actually started writing love letters to people I would see on the train as a way to rid off some of the waterworks. What started as a hobby of sorts resulted in the leaving of dozens and dozens of love letters across New York City for others to find and be encouraged by.As it usually unfolds when social media joins in, people began requesting love letters from me. The people were from all across the world with all shapes and forms of heartbreak. I wrote about 400 of them before I decided that the world really needed a lot more than just the love letters of one girl. I fleshed out the bigger picture, built a website and just went with it. I honestly thought the website would die out in a month or two… but this proved it had momentum overnight.
L20: How did others start getting involved?
HB: Honestly, I think people discover it via social media and word of mouth. It seems like the kind of concept that people bring to the dinner table. It is cool to share letter writing stories, it is cool to swap ideas on where to “love letter” a particular area. I blabber about it constantly and I just have to believe I’m not the only one.But when the site first began I just put up an application for writers and within the first week I had filled the slots. I found people who understand social media and the written word and could be empathetic and encouraging but on the ball with how the digital landscape looks today.
L20: How far has the love letter movement spread?
HB: It seems to grow bigger everyday. I know of it being on 6 continents. I can name dozens of countries–Belgium, Norway, France, Pakistan, China, Japan, Ireland, etc. Today I just learned of a letter leaver in Sweden and New Zealand.
L20: What is the most rewarding part about writing love letters?
HB: Can I be honest? As rewarding as writing the love letters has been and always will be, the most rewarding thing for me right now is watching what other people will do with these love letters. I cannot get enough of it. I hear great and passionate stories on a daily basis and I cannot help but just be humbled by all of it… I started this thing? I began this ripple effect? That is almost too much to process.
L20: Tell us about TED2013 and how we can help.
HB: Oh my goodness… TED and performing was an absolute dream boat for me. I still cannot get over how amazing the whole audition was. In a nutshell: I am a finalist for the TED2013 Global Talent Search. They are looking across 14 countries for the best ideas, most share worthy ideas to bring to the TED stage in February. I am in that pool which is so hard to wrap my head around. Honestly, watch every talk. They are addicting. But, if you like what you see for my TED talk then rate, comment and share with your networks!
L20: What are your plans for the future?
HB: I am currently gearing up to burrow myself into a hole and write a book… That is the goal and plan. But I do hope to continue on writing, speaking and spreading the mission of love letters to as many as I can. I’ll be building up More Love Letters and just acting as the messenger for a really beautiful idea. I like the sound of that. It makes me quite certain that there is purpose in my every day.
L20: How can Love Twenty readers get involved with writing love letters?
HB: Visit MoreLoveLetters.com. Check out the different ways to be involved. Sign up for the subscriber list–we send out a letter request every month for someone in need! And, or, just start leaving love letters in the places you live and work! All the deets are hanging out on the site so get em’!