One of the reasons why I love second-hand books is this: because sometimes–when I get lucky, I’ll find one with hand-written notes inside of it.
I am always fascinated by such random collision of lives; knowing that the book I am holding once belong to someone else; given as an act of love by the people who are/were close to their hearts. Reading those hand-written notes, I can’t help to wonder who these people are, what are their stories, and why those books find their way to greet me in some random bookstores in different parts of the world.
So, I guess the idea has been occupying my mind since then, leaving me questioning:
“What will happen when you leave hand-written notes: a poem, a prose, a flash fiction–anything that is close to your heart, to be found by random strangers?”
Last Saturday, together with my soul-sister, Ollie, we decided to find the answer to that question. And today, we come up with TheTravelingWords. It’s an idea that I have discussed with Ollie a few months back, but I guess an idea will always be an idea unless it is being executed. So, here we are now, inviting you to initiate connections with strangers by leaving hand-written poem/prose/flash fiction–or anything that is close to you heart, in various places.
“When you are traveling, carry your words with you. When you are not traveling, let your words travel for you. Magic happens when we let words travel.”
This November, we invite people to leave their hand-written notes with the theme “Distance” in a coffee shop. They can actually write their notes on the back of their bills and leave it on the table when they have finished their coffee. If the coffee shop have a tip jar, they can also put your notes there. They just need to put TheTravelingWords.com on the bottom of their hand-written notes (they can also put their names/contacts if they like), and send the pictures of the notes where they left it to us. We’ll showcase them all on the site, so that people who found their notes would know what this is all about! :)
Personally, coffee shop (especially tiny ones) is a place that is close to my heart. I spend many times there, sitting on the table far from the busy counter, writing some random lines on my notebook while watching people and sniffing the lovely smell of fresh-roasted coffee beans. I always find it amusing to leave something for the barista or the waitress… just to brighten up their day a bit more–especially when they are about to clean the table.
I guess now I have a stronger reason to do so.
It’s something about closing your eyes
and trying to forget something you
have always remembered.
It’s something about chasing
the feelings that burn the back of
your eyelids, knowing that it
comes from something unrequited.
It’s something about running towards
someone else’s back as they’re
walking away from you, leaving
all your whys unanswered.
Maybe it’s true, that our past doesn’t define us. But inevitably, our past will always be a part of our present; and our future. It’s something that will always stay within us, for the better or worse. And this is definitely alright–as long as we have no regret.
We have made mistakes, or done things we are not proud of. We have been hurt badly. We failed many times. We thought we could not move on–that it was impossible to feel alright ever again. However, surprisingly, we always see ourselves eventually moving on, just because. For some it takes months, for some it takes years. Maybe we will be able to move on when we have stopped fighting the past and decided to make peace with it instead. Knowing that it’s alright to forgive without forgetting–as long as we can choose wisely the things we’d want to remember. We choose to remember the lessons instead of carrying around the pain. We choose to remember the feeling of recovering instead of the feeling of despair.
In the end, we are made of memories. Good ones, bad ones, uplifting ones, embarrassing ones. And all our lives, we have also left pieces of memories inside those we’ve crossed path with–some of them might have long gone and forgotten, some will always feel close to our hearts. We will never be sure about how things will turn out, about whether we’re going to make a courageous bold move instead of another stupid mistakes. So, let’s just don’t think about it too much. For the time being, these are the only things we can do: being presence in the now, seizing the moments before they pass us by, and collecting memories. Loads and loads of memories worth remembering.
Because memories are what we all made of, and we are still going to carry them with us for many many years to come.