Sometimes the worlds of my “Year of” projects collide – today is an example of just that. Barbara, who followed the Year of Giving and Year of Volunteering, dropped me a handwritten note to say hello. She said she’s enjoyed following my year-long pursuits and is looking forward to my book. Yeah, me and Barbara both. I’ve got a ways to go on that though, I just haven’t been spending enough time on it. Perhaps next year has to be the Year of Reed’s Book.
My letter with Barbara’s card in the background.
Wow! I was so pleasantly surprised to get your letter – it’s been a long time. I looked through my old emails and found that I wrote you back after your email to me in September of 2011, but I’m not sure I ever sent you the volunteering suggestions?! Shame on me if I didn’t.
Thank you for sharing about your volunteering experience during your Spring Break – what a great way to spend that week. I think voluntourism is an interesting way to bring groups together while doing good.
Congratulations on your nursing degree. I’ve had several friends and family members in the hospital this year and have developed an even deeper appreciation for the profession. You’re doing truly important work!
Best of luck to you on your wedding, that’s exciting – hopefully not too stressful. Don’t forget that it is celebration and it’s meant to be a special day for you to remember – make sure you enjoy the moments.
Thank you again for reaching out and saying hello – that meant a lot to me. Stay in touch,
Photo: AP Photo/Brad Barket
My second letter this year to a long standing (ok, sitting) host of late night television. Thanks for the memories Jon – see you at the party on January 5th!
You’ve been coming into our living rooms, ahem…bedrooms perhaps, for more than 15 years. More importantly you’ve been informing us and entertaining us – you’re like a therapist only better. Sure, you listen, you process information and become an active voice in the conversation, only you cut through the charades and bullshit and deliver the medicine we need with a soothing spoonful of humor that makes the insanity of the reality – or is it the reality of the insanity? – somehow easier to swallow.
I’m writing you as part of a year-long commitment that I’ve made of writing handwritten letters every day. It’s a lost art – or as your pal Steve Carell said (I wrote him on Day 7), “Sending a handwritten letter is becoming such an anomaly. It’s disappearing. My mom is the only one who still writes me letters. And there’s something visceral about opening a letter – I see her on the page. I see her in her handwriting.” He’s so right.
While everyone is grilling you about what you will do next, my wish is that whatever you do, you find time to be with those you love – maybe even write them a letter. Speaking of you writing letters, a response from you would be the pinnacle of my Year of Letters. Right now that honor goes to either my father or an inspiring 100 year-old doctor from California who wrote me back. I also received a response from George W. Bush.
Anyway, good luck and thanks.
With respect and admiration and a bit of a man crush,
P.S. A wiser man than me once said, “Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. And let the chips fall where they may.” Well played, sir.
P.P.S. Mark your calendar for January 5th, 2016 – I’m throwing a party for all 365 people who have received a letter this year. More details at YearOfLetters.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your drinks are on me!
Posted in Congratulations, Staying in touch, Thank-yous
Tagged celebrities, comedy, Comedy Central, fans, handwritten letters, Jon Stewart, news, quotes, stationery, television, Year of Letters, year-end celebration
I normally don’t use Hallmark stationery – but I like this one.
On May 27th my friend Jeri posted this on Facebook:
“Exciting news today! I have been selected to attend the School of Advanced Military Studies program at Ft. Leavenworth. It is a one year program and means I am moving back to Kansas! I am sure no one ever thought they would hear those words from my mouth. Classes start June 29th…will depart DC on the 15th. Life is crazy sometimes!”
Life is crazy sometimes and we didn’t even manage to meet up before she left. Jeri started classes today – so I thought I would drop her a note in the mail.
Congratulations on being accepted into the Advanced Military Studies program at Ft. Leavenworth! I’m glad you have arrived safely in Kansas – I’m thinking this just might be the first handwritten letter that has welcomed you to your new home.
I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet up before you left. My schedule has been chaotic lately. Today I’m writing you from State College, PA.
Once you get settled in, maybe we can find some time to Skype or talk by phone and you can catch me up on this new adventure. You sounded pretty excited – it’s not everyone whose pulse quickens at the thought of going to Ft. Leavenworth! I hope that you enjoy it, I know you’ll love being closer to your family. And who knows, maybe I’ll show up there some day – you know I go to Lawrence from time to time. It appears to be less than an hour away.
Stay in touch,
One of the reasons that so many people knew about my Year of Giving project was a beautifully told CNN story by David Banks. As I write my way through the Year of Letters, I remembered that Dave has sent me a note around the holidays every year since we’ve met. I thought it was time that I returned the handwritten kindness.
It’s been five years since we’ve met and I think you’ve dropped me a holiday card each year – thanks! I know exactly how many I have sent you. ZERO. Sorry, I’m trying to be better at staying in touch. I wanted to say hello and wish you Patchaya and Tanjira a wonderful summer. I’m not sure how often you are downtown in DC, but let me know, it would be nice to catch up. People still mention the CNN story you did on the Year of Giving – you did a beautiful job telling that story!
Take care brother,
P.S. I saw your quote other day on FB from Albert Camus, “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” So true!
I met my buddy Ryan Ruta while living in Valladolid, Spain back in 1995. We spent a semester studying Spanish at the Universidad de Valladolid. It was a tremendous experience and I made a couple of friends along the way, Ryan was one of them.
He ended up moving to Bolivia to do some post-graduate work, met his wife Twyla, got married, started a family and joined the Foreign Service. Every couple of years they move to a new country and he often comes back to Washington for periods of time, so we get to catch up then.
He was here back in April and I’ve been meaning to write him ever since.
I used some Washi tape to add an international touch to the header of this piece of stationery.
Dear Ruta Family,
I hope my note finds you well. One thing that I always enjoyed during my time abroad was receiving handwritten letters from friends and family.
I’ve been writing a handwritten note or letter to someone every day this year. Today is Day 149! I’ve written to all kinds of people – family, friends, celebrities, politicians – just yesterday I wrote to former President George W. Bush. Ryan even helped me leave an anonymous note with $10 in it at Starbucks on Day 104 while he was visiting here in DC. I’m sorry there’s no money in this letter for you, I learned long ago that sending cash in the mail is not a wise decision. That reminds me though of a short story, Una Carta a Dios by Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes. Have you read it? You can find it online – it’s really short but worth reading.
I hope to some day visit you guys while you are living abroad. I don’t know if I will make Honduras, although it’s one of the few countries in Latin America that I have not visited. It would be fun to see you and check it off of my list of countries to visit.
I hope that Bianca, Diego and Lexi are all doing well – hopefully making new friends and adapting to life there. I guess the same could be said for both of you too!
When you have time, drop me a note and let me know how you are doing. And definitely let me know when you’ll be in Washington as I always enjoy seeing you and catching up.