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a passel of projects

Today is one of those days that requires an entire pot of tea. First, we have another thick layer of snow, which makes me think of the kind of cake frosting that belongs only on Pinterest and not on a plate in real life. Piles and drifts and swirls and still.more.coming. This is not a problem, because my entire pot of tea is a very lovely one, David’s Sencha Pear, and if you’re going to drink that much of anything, it might as well be good for you and somehow both rich and astringent all at once. I am at the little writing desk in the living room, and my notebook is at my side with scribbles and scratch-outs and smudges.

If you’re going to be smothered by snow, you might as well be in your element inside.

I wrote letters, so many letters. I wrote to people who were already in my address book and people who were brand new. Myron asked what I was saying to all these strangers. “Anything,” I said. And this is pretty much true—some of the letters stayed on the surface, and others tapped hidden confessional veins. In the last letter I wrote yesterday to Annett in Germany, I said “What is blogging but writing letters to strangers?” That is how I felt when I wrote the letters, once I got past the beginnings and before I hit the closings—as if I had slipped into the mode that comes over me when I open up a window and write a post, except I knew that the audience of each post numbered exactly one person.

Even with the horror that is Canada Post’s delivery system, I’ve gotten lovely responses already, and I have heard that many of mine have landed where they were supposed to. This thrills me. Do you know how often I have talked myself out of buying yet another lovely set of stationery because I had so much already? Well, let’s just say there is no more need for austerity when it comes to my paper drawer. Next week, I’ll post a slideshow of all the items I sent out, because they should mostly be delivered by then. I’m thrilled (and a little appalled) that I sent 32 items and every single one of them was different. Yes, there was a lot of stationery in my stash.

I took on other projects in February, too. The most maddening was the breakdown, buildup, and damn-and-blast hatred of the chapter I was working on. I believe I have fixed the foundations of it, finally, and set it on a path to coherence. And then! And then there was Scintilla.

Onyi created all of the badges and banners for this project. I am about to splash them everywhere, just so you know.Last fall Onyi, Dominique, and I talked about the kind of prompts we would love to answer in our own blogs. I have to admit that (even though I was originally determined to write the Reverb posts when they happened during December) I felt limited by the scope of 2011 as a subject for a month’s worth of reflection. I wanted to think about the stories of my whole life, some of which show me in a fabulous light and some of which show me for the jerk I can sometimes be. But I tried to do it, because what I wanted most was to read the posts of others and get to know new people.

I thought about the times when we show ourselves in our most glittering spotlight, for good and not-so-good. I thought about a zesty, everything-clicks blind date, the kind of date where you hear about a few closet skeletons but you understand how they helped to make the person sitting across the table from you. Dominique and Onyi brought their own sense of what they loved to read to the prompts as well. Between the three of us, we winnowed a long list of prompts down to the ones we thought would elicit the best blog posts—the ones that make you remember why you click Publish, the ones that make your list of very favorites, the ones that take the most out of you but give the most back in return.

Please visit The Scintilla Project and, if this sounds like a journey you want to take with us, sign up for the prompt list. We cannot wait to read about what makes you who you are.