This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now…
Photograph and interview women onto something GOOD.
Women who wake up each day with steadfast dedication and commitment to their work, ideals, and dreams.
Women who may not always get the recognition they deserve.
Forward-thinking women, women on a mission, women who believe they have something to GIVE.
Women like Lindsay Zier-Vogel…
Woman on a Mission Interview No. 2: with Lindsay Zier-Vogel [Toronto-based writer, arts educator and bookmaker, creator of The Love Lettering Project: a community arts engagement project that had brought nearly 3,000 love letters to strangers since 2004. Lindsay has been featured on CBC Television’s The National and was deemed one of the top 50 reasons to love Toronto by Toronto Life magazine. She is currently working on her second novel. As an arts educator, Lindsay teaches writing and book making workshops in the schools and community settings.]
Tell us about your mission? What was the inspiration for your idea/company/project?I ask people to write love letters to the things they love about the places they live in, and then hide these love notes for strangers to find. I’m starting in on the 9th incarnation of The Love Lettering Project and I am more in love with this project than ever before.When it started (in 2004!) I was sitting in a park with my dear friend Rhya Tamasauskas (http://rhya.blogspot.ca/) and I were going through love poems we had written and decided to slip them into airmail envelopes marked love and leave them for people to find. It was so much fun, I’ve done it every year since, leaving love letters on bikes, in a library and for the last while, I’ve been setting up tables at events all over Toronto and asking people to write their own love letters to the things they love in their cities. The shift from noticing what doesn’t work in the place you live to the things that do is an incredibly powerful shift in perspective.Last year, the Toronto chapter of the Awesome Foundation helped fund 14 The Love Lettering Project events across Toronto and this year, I’ve received partial funding from The Canada Council for the Arts to head over to the UK for a 5-city tour of The Love Lettering Project. I can’t wait wait to hear what people across the pond love about the places they live. When I’m not love lettering, I’m writing. I just finished my first novel (fingers crossed someone picks it up!) and have just started my second. I love slipping into Claire’s world every morning. And thinking about it on my bike, and while I swim for the rest of the day. And when I’m not doing either of those things, I make books. Small run, limited edition hand-bound books.
How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Writer, love letterer, bookbinder, crafter, artist, observer, engager, baker (of the gluten-free sort), lover of mail…
What is most sacred to you?
Mornings. I write in the mornings, before the day begins, before most people are up. I love those few hours in the morning in the quiet, with CBC and a coffee.
Who or what is a current influential force in your life?
In my love lettering life, I am so inspired by the city I live in – Toronto – the neighbourhood I live in – Roncesvalles – and those who share what they love about the places they live, the small corners of their neighbourhoods. And in my writing life, I am so taken with the small details of Amelia Earhart’s life. That she loved tomato juice. And always wore silk scarves. And had a dog named James Ferocious when she was a kid.
What was the hardest part of growing up for you?
I’ve often (always) lived in my head – that’s where the best stories live for me. So getting outside of my head wasn’t always easy. It’s still not…
What advice can you offer to young women with GOOD ideas today?
Do them. All. Just do them all! Even if it’s just the very beginnings of something, even if it’s just the first step, just do it. You never know where things will end up. You never know what doors will open, the people you’ll meet, the endless inspiration that might reveal itself…
Where will you be in 5 years? What will your ‘mission’ look like?
Five years. Hrm. I will be writing. And love lettering, or doing some sort of community engagement project. But I have no idea how any of that might look right now. I know that for the next few years, I’ll be writing this novel that I’ve just started and that I’ll be chatting with people about what they love about the places they live in. One of my favourite things about The Love Lettering Project is that it’s not planned out years (or even months!) in advance. I figure things out each year as the summer approaches, and I love the chance to be open to opportunities and whatever might be happening right then.
Where can we find out more about your project?
I’m heading to the UK for a 5-city tour in June (!) bringing The Love Lettering Project to London, Oxford, Liverpool. Brighton and Nottingham (partially fnded by the Canada Council for the Arts). I’ve just kicked off a fundraising campaign to fill in the rest. The project details can be found at: loveletteringproject.com (and my writing and book-making work is at: lindsayziervogel.com). My books will also be featured starting at the end of May in an exhibit at the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library in Toronto.