My name is Jodi Ann Bickley and I am 25 years old. I live in a tiny colourful little house in Birmingham where I run my project One Million Lovely Letters (http://onemillionlovelyletters.com) which I started on February 3rd 2013. One Million Lovely Letters started from a night where I was at my lowest and decided I was going to either give up, or do something that I felt gave me a reason to fight. The concept of One Million Lovely Letters is, if you are having a rough day or week or life you can contact me via email and I will send you a handwritten lovely letter. Wherever you are, whatever is wrong. Since starting the project I have written 1,500 letters to people in over 30 countries. The website has had over 100,000 hits and has been viewed in 150 countries worldwide. Which is crazy and wonderful.
The reason I have so much time on my hands to write all of these letters and why I was in a particulary bad place that night was because I got pretty sick. Back in September 2011 I contracted Encephalitis which is a brain infection, which lead to me having a mini stroke which has brought on a condition called M.E which is also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I have lasting neurological disturbances from the Encephalitis teamed with the M.E which makes life a little bit of a rollercoaster sometimes. What it does mean is I have a lot of time on my hands.
Now, One Million Lovely Letters is becoming a book which came out on February 27th with Hodder and Stoughton. Which is lovely! However, what the project has taught me so far, well one of the many things the project has taught me is that everybody can do with a little reminder that we are loved and we aren't alone in a world that can sometimes feel super gigantic.
What I want to do is create some Walls of Arms, walls of letters from workshops I will run in the UK and the rest of the world (with a small team as sometimes my brain does decide to be a little tricksy). These walls can be anywhere, in schools - galleries - on the side of an abandoned building - shopping centres - in the middle of a city - anywhere I am given permission to use, I will. These letters will be the letter that you would send to your best friend on their worst day, the letter you would want to find to let you know things would be okay - but from a stranger potentially from the other side of the planet. Just to remind us that in this big ol' place even though we are miles apart and made out to be so different, we all have the same basic needs. Love, support and encouragement.
Along the way I will be collecting stories, the stories behind the letters that go on the walls. The stories that made you, you and made you able to write the letter you are writing for others. Whether it be of a battle, the greatest love story or something small that in hindsight changed a piece of you forever. A collection of stories from strangers, which along with photos and the story of my own little adventure will go towards the making of my second book, The Walls of Arms.
From writing to individuals and helping one person at a time, these walls will hopefully help whole communities, towns and cities - one letter at a time.
With the funding, I'll be able to buy resources for the wall and also resources and space for the workshops, I would be able to employ a team of helpers and travel to wherever the walls are requested. I'd also be able to employ local translators, so the letters will be able to be read by everybody who visits the walls.
Anything you can offer will really help, thank you so much.