You Gotta Piece, 2011 (Pen, Marker, Watercolor, rubber stamps) by Dorothy Santos

Ah, the day of heart shaped chocolates, conversation hearts, disdainful people that despise Valentine’s day, and an exchange of love notes…

Truthfully, I absolutely love the day (YES, EVEN when I was single). I just never (ever) really thought of it as a day for couples. The history itself and all the believed legends of what makes Valentine’s Day, well, Valentine’s day has very little to do with romantic love between two people (but I can see and understand where and how romantic love plays an integral role in understanding its history). Again, I’m not going to go through the litany of Heart’s Day history BUT if you insist, you can start here.

This year, I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to create something based on social networking. There were several pre-selected folks but I wanted to see who would respond to my Twitter and Facebook posting of the following:

Want to receive something special (handwritten with hearts and a memory)? Send your mailing address to dorothy.r.santos@gmail.com ♥

Honestly, I was NOT expecting anyone to respond. As I mentioned to someone else, I thought, if lucky, maybe 2-3 people. Seriously, even though I have Twitter and Facebook friends, I wasn’t expecting to receive a slew of home mailing addresses. I had the idea brewing in my head and crossed my fingers. Pleasantly surprised, there were 17 willing participants out of 24 total recipients. I proceeded to cut 4×6 cards, piece them together, draw the human heart, and draw! I worked on this for a few days and had different drawing methods (i.e., drawing randomly on cards, patterns based on my mood, images that had something to do with where I’m from – San Francisco, CA). The result: A blue and red heart made with, well, a lot of lovingly made doodles. Yes, when I was a kid, I was a doodler/scribbler extraordinaire and wanted to re-visit those days to remind people that they’re loved and cared for.

See, art can pump some much needed love in the world…yes, I’m a die hard optimist. Do YOU have a problem with THAT? Didn’t think so. 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day, family, friends, and the rest of the world. 🙂

Writing letters, drawing, doodling, and even your handwriting can become art. The documentary 1000 Journals includes interviews with individuals who have received and/or given away blank journals. The creator of the project, Someguy (yes, this is the name he goes by) is based in San Francisco thus tugging a bit at my heart-strings since I call this great city home. The distribution and circulation of the journals has been ongoing since 2000 and it has expanded to 1001 Journals! The journals have gone all over the United States as well as 35 other countries (if I recall correctly). As the journals traverse the world, it’s fun thinking about where they’ve gone and all the types of individuals that have filled the pages.

I’m actually working on a project for Valentine’s day at the moment and hoping to get it done within the next few days. Of course, now that I’ve mentioned it, I have no choice but to finish it, which is a great thing. I’m pretty excited about it. In any case, my project, primarily, is based on tons of doodling (that would otherwise be in my journal). Seriously, like many people, letting go of my drawings and doodling has been made easier now since I’ve learned more about the 1000 Journals project. As I watched the documentary (which kept skipping due to a bad disk – does anyone use the word ‘disk’ anymore? I digress!), it occurred to me that many people wouldn’t consider themselves artists or creative but there’s something, intrinsically, that makes people want more in life. People want to be more than their job, more than the money they make, and to be more than what another person thinks they are. This wanting more involves the creative spark. Trust me, even mathematicians and scientists need to be creative when looking critically at problems. Likewise, artists must problem solve when they are creating art work.

One of the most wonderful aspects of the 1000 Journals project is the idea of impermanence. The act of letting go of what you have created can be difficult. Yet, knowing there are others that have created something from their unique experiences and perceptions of the world is pretty extraordinary. I highly recommend looking at the 1000 Journals project and maybe put in a request to receive and pass a journal onto another person. Whether you create something dark, happy, sardonic, scathing, highly rendered, classical, abstract and/or write in the journal, it would be exciting to see what other stories are out there in the world. 🙂