Writer showers Toronto in love letters
Matthew Coutts, CTV Toronto
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2012 10:34AM EDT
For eight years, Toronto writer Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been expressing her love by writing anonymous letters and leaving them scattered about the city for others to find.
The neatly-penned notes are slipped into an envelope marked with “love” and left on fences, in mailboxes, under bushes and hanging from trees, to be discovered by an unsuspecting subject.
It a magical thing, the written letter, Zier-Vogel says; a meaningful task often dismissed by today’s society.
“It is rare,” Zier-Vogel told CTV’s Canada AM on Tuesday. “We have text messages, we have emails. People just don’t use paper a lot. People don’t use their own handwriting a lot of the time anymore.
“You get a sense of the person’s feelings when you see their handwriting – if it was urgent or if it was slow and lazy. It’s a lovely thing, I think.”
Zier-Vogel’s love letters rarely focus on a person and, instead, attempt to capture what is beautiful and breathtaking about everyday life. She says it is very therapeutic to write a love letter to your city or neighbourhood.
Zier-Vogel herself has written love letters to beautiful Toronto homes, chairs outside her favourite coffee shop and even to “the point in a lake where it looks like an ocean”.
“It is so much fun,” she said. “I had no idea when I started this as an outreach project that it would be so amazing and fulfilling it would be.”
Zier-Vogel got the idea while hanging out in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park and composing love poems with a group of fellow writers. She decided it would be fun to tuck one of her poems into an envelope and slip it somewhere it would be discovered.
“If someone just stumbled onto a love letter, how great would that be?” she said. “The next year I was in grad school and not very inspired, sitting in the library too often, so I thought maybe I would write some love letters and slip them into books.
“Every year I get excited about what it is going to be the next year.”
There have been eight iterations of the Love Lettering Project since it was first conceived in 2004. The first round of love letters were left in phone booths and cherry bushes around Toronto.
Other Toronto editions have focused on books, tree branches and the locations of first kisses. In 2010, the Love Lettering Project expanded into Halifax, Calgary, Washington, Nebraska and Montreal. The following year, the series of love letter made New York the object of desire.
Meantime, Lindsay has continued with her own Toronto Love Lettering Project and spent last summer peppering the city with her notes of adoration.
This year, she is calling on others to write and distribute their own notes, and is running a blog capturing the whimsy and magic
Zier-Vogel says she is “full-on sneaky” when it comes to hiding her love letters, but never sticks around to see who finds them, or to find out how they react.
“I never wait to see if someone picks them up because there is something about the anonymous factor. I need to keep anonymous as well; I don’t want to be found out while I am delivering them.
“Someone might be really dismissive about it, or someone might be really excited. Someone might not know how to respond. I like not knowing, I like in my head having a fiction of what might happen to someone who finds one.”