Firstly, I hope you are all doing just wonderfully and that 2017 has eased you in as quietly or as wildly as you needed it too! I thought I should do a big update to let you in on a few things going on in my world and things going on with the project.
(A letter I wrote for Dylan on her 1st Birthday)
In November 2015, I became Mum to a little girl called Dylan. It has been the most intense fifteen months of our lives, she is such an awesome little character and a real handful! She is always busy and wanted to make us laugh/scream in horror at her imminent danger. Who knew just how many hazards one house could have, things that you didn’t even consider before – spoons, dog biscuits, nail var.. okay nail varnish was my bad – when she walked in with a painted mouth we all laughed (mostly after we googled HAVE I POISONED MY CHILD?! via google, who sent us to netmums (who are mostly terrifying, but even they said it was okay) She has recently got the knack of sleeping through the night, as I write this I am touching wood, rubbing a shamrock, wishing on dandelions and cashing in on any other good vibes the world wants to throw our way that this is something she sticks too. I got cocky one week with her eating cheese on toast and ever since each piece has been launched across the kitchen, so I hold my breath with any of her new behaviours/habits/sleeping patterns. She is wild, funny and fearless and although our house is a lot louder than it used to be, the love within it’s walls is fierce.
I have been in a more ‘managerial’ role at OMLL HQ as of late (that sounds massively formal and like we’re some sort of big corporation) Basically, as Sam is working full time me and Dylan are each others buddies in the day so I haven’t been able to concentrate 100% on my letters. For a long time this made me want to run and hide and has filled me with a lot of guilt, I’d get emails and comments which were quite nasty asking in no uncertain terms where their letters were and I started to feel as though I was drowning a little. It’s my own fault as I’m not very transparent with the sheer volume of letters that the project has received and whilst I have the project which is my most favourite of things, I’m also a mum and have a couple of health bits that make life a little complicated sometimes. In 2014, I appeared on Surprise Surprise which was wonderful and gorgeous and I’m so extremely grateful but when the TV show aired – within 2 hours I received 4000 emails. Which is incredible but also extremely daunting – this is on top of the 2000 letters that were already in the inbox and then the letters I was receiving every day as usual. This set me back a lot and is why I brought volunteers on board as I simply couldn’t keep up with the volume of letters anymore and the thought I’ve not doing the project anymore is never an option. So now, I have 10 incredible volunteers who went through a OMLL interview and are just the most wonderful group of people and their letters are everything that I wanted OMLL to be and every letter they write I feel so proud and grateful to put a OMLL stamp on. I have always wanted to write back to every single letter that has come in to the inbox, that was what I set out to do but when I set out to do the project I honestly didn’t think we’d be sat here 4 years later with 8000 letters in the inbox. I’m not sure what people would think about me possibly setting out to reply to the letters that have been written in the last 2 1/2 years and if anybody who has written in previously to that feels as though they would still benefit from a letter to resend their request to put it to the top of the pile? It’s just a thought but as supporters of the project I would love to hear your input.
Some other news is, the first ever One Million Lovely Letters Exhibition has a date – it will be running from April 10th for a week at Centrala in Digbeth, Birmingham. I am so excited but there is so much to do and so many favours to ask of people and I just hope it turns out like it is in my messy brain. The theme for this exhibition is ‘A letter to my younger self’ with half of the exhibition being dedicated to letters people have written to themselves at a point in their past where they feel they could of used some hindsight, strength or wisdom from their now self. These will be presented in print and in film (hopefully!) and the rest of the exhibition will be made up of the lovely letters that have been sent in to the project. ‘Dear You’ letters, letters of positivity that will be put up in the exhibition that any one that visits will be able to read and take the letter they feel speaks to them at that specific moment in time, in turn for a letter of their own to add to the exhibition. There will be a space within the exhibit for people to sit and write their own letters. In my head, it’s going to be magical and I just hope I execute it in a way that makes you proud of all the work thats gone into the project over the last 4 years. It’s been a heck of a ride so far.
Heres a little video I did about the exhibition, the sound is awful so I’ll be recording a new one this week hopefully: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c_VFYOJX38&t=28s
So, once again. I’m asking you to get your biros out, your glitter and your stickers – that lovely paper you’ve been saving for the right time or that old notepad in the drawer under the TV. Write for me, write a letter to your younger you or someone who may need it. A letter full of hope to a stranger or a letter of guidance to a younger, lost you. There are no rules when it comes to writing these letters, they needn’t be a specific length – just write from the heart and it will be just wonderful. If you could send your letters into me at:
Jodi Ann Bickley
PO BOX 535
51 Pinfold Street
I’d really like you all to be part of this too!
I’m going to try and write more on here and introduce a little bit more of my world to you, it’s not super interesting but it can be pretty odd at times.
Thanks for reading,
Lots of love,