Weekly Letter Project

I know, I know, no posts for weeks at a time and then they all come at once. It’s amazing how much I can write when I don’t want to tidy up.

I have written before on the problems of the “you make your own life” narrative. Since I wrote that post, the situation in Britain has not improved. Things are, frankly, dire and getting even worse.

@kaygeeuk, who has carried out more activist interventions than I’ve had hot dinners, has a great post on activism before the internet. Read, mark, learn, inwardly digest; and then do some of it, please.

My aim, in activism, is not to stop this or fight that or resist the other. My aim in activism is to change the narrative from “you make your own life” to something else; something better, more hopeful, but also more truthful. I can’t articulate it well, at least not in secular terms. It might be “We have abundance if we share” (think about how radical that is to someone who hoards their wealth for fear of not having enough). It might be “Love is stronger than hatred, kindness is more powerful than fear.” It might be something else.

Random acts of activism are all well and good, but I crave systematic procedures, strategic processes. So, being me, I’ve decided to add another project to the ever-growing list. I’m calling it, unless someone else comes up with a better name, the Weekly Letter Project.

In many ways it does what it says on the tin. I’ve decided to try and write one letter per week, for a year, starting this week. That’s fifty-two letters in a year, though I may double up some weeks and skip others just for sanity’s sake. This is not, in fact, my idea; I think it was TheFerrett who did something similar, way back when I followed him on LiveJournal.

The object of this letter writing is not to rant and rave and react against things I don’t like, but to contribute, if I can, to positive change. This may mean writing to my MP; it may also mean writing to religious leaders, celebrities, industry bosses — you name it. It might mean writing a note of encouragement and support to someone who is already making a positive difference but could use a kind word. I want to write to people who might listen, who should listen, who are or could be influential; I want to avoid both people who won’t listen because we differ so much as to be speaking different languages, and those who already think so much like I do that I’d be preaching to the choir. Suggestions are welcome.

The letters will be in my own words. I will draw heavily on the “Twitter hivemind” and other resources, but if I thought using others’ words in their entirety were helpful I would just sign more petitions. Similarly, I don’t intend to send the same letter out fifty-two times to different people. One person, one letter, hopefully sufficiently tailored to their viewpoint and concerns that they will at least consider my contributions.

The letters will be open. I will be printing them and sending them in the mail, but also posting them on here. Recipients of the letters will be informed of the blog posts, so that they can respond online if it is easier for them. Part of the reason for this is to foster an open response, but part of the reason is so that others can add their points of view. Comment moderation could get interesting!

The letters will be moderately short: they will fit on one side of A4 paper, and I won’t spend more than an hour on each. These aren’t meant to be perfect, they’re meant to get done. I can’t afford either to spend an entire day per week writing a letter, or to do so and then have them ignored because TL;DR.

I am inviting you to join me. Can you write? Would you spend an hour a week or less doing so? Do you want to make the world better? We can trade letter-writing tips, encourage one another in busy weeks, link to one another’s blog posts, trade ideas on what to write about. We can all write to different people, especially where we have different areas of expertise. Don’t have access to a printer? Maybe we can buddy up (no, I’m not committing to printing a potentially infinite number of letters).

If you’re in, contact @WeeklyLetterPro on Twitter, or reply to this post.

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