Learning to Love You More
I have a picture in a book.
Two years ago I completed a Learning to Love You More assignment (#63: Create an Encouraging Banner) and made a banner out of copy paper, wrapping paper, yarn and tape that said, “Let go.” Later that year, the LTLYM folks, specifically Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July, decided to put out a book and asked if my photo could be one of the hundreds included.
Then they asked if they could borrow the banner itself for a while, and my little banner had a glorious time touring Europe and NYC as part of a super-cool curated art exhibit. (I find it rather humorous that I have an art degree, but the construction paper banner I made while sitting on the floor in my bedroom is what gets to tour Europe, without me.)
Learning to Love You More is awesome. By creating little assignments for normal people to do, they’ve given a little reminder that things don’t need to be huge or dramatic or super-polished to mean something: “the frequently wild, sometimes hilarious, and quietly stunning creative lives a few people living on Earth right now.”
In a world where everyone tries so darn hard to be one step ahead, hipster but not too hipster, stylish but without looking like they tried too hard, I love flipping through people’s submissions and seeing actual individuality.
In the introduction of the book, Harrell and Miranda write “Sometimes it seems like the moment we let go of trying to be original, we actually feel something new. … For the most part we don’t know who the participants are; sometimes we don’t even know their real names, only that they come from St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, or Doha, Qatar, or New York City—and this is the sound that is keeping them awake (assignment 58), or this is how their parents look kissing (assignment 39), or they had this argument recently (assignment 37).”
(As far as I know, I’m the only person on the site who submitted from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, so I guess that’s me in the intro! Selected, I reckon, for how completely NOT cosmopolitan, how completely middle-of-nowhere-Indiana, such a town likely is.)
Why I bring this up now, in addition to telling you to go check out LTLYM right now, is that I just stumbled upon my banner on a random blog in Portuguese (I think) — ;: com urgência — where it apparently spoke to a person I don’t know halfway across the globe. How cool is that.