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  • I was one of the only kids in college who had a reason

  • to go to the P.O. box at the end of the day,

  • and that was mainly because my mother has never believed

  • in email, in Facebook, in texting or cell phones in general.

  • And so while other kids were BBM-ing their parents,

  • I was literally waiting by the mailbox

  • to get a letter from home to see how the weekend had gone,

  • which was a little frustrating when Grandma was in the hospital,

  • but I was just looking for some sort of scribble,

  • some unkempt cursive from my mother.

  • And so when I moved to New York City after college

  • and got completely sucker punched in the face by depression,

  • I did the only thing I could think of at the time.

  • I wrote those same kinds of letters that my mother had written me

  • for strangers, and tucked them all throughout the city,

  • dozens and dozens of them. I left them everywhere,

  • in cafes and in libraries, at the U.N., everywhere.

  • I blogged about those letters and the days

  • when they were necessary, and I posed

  • a kind of crazy promise to the Internet:

  • that if you asked me for a hand-written letter,

  • I would write you one, no questions asked.

  • Overnight, my inbox morphed into this harbor of heartbreak

  • a single mother in Sacramento, a girl being bullied

  • in rural Kansas, all asking me, a 22-year-old girl

  • who barely even knew her own coffee order,

  • to write them a love letter and give them a reason

  • to wait by the mailbox.

  • Well, today I fuel a global organization

  • that is fueled by those trips to the mailbox,

  • fueled by the ways in which we can harness social media

  • like never before to write and mail strangers letters

  • when they need them most, but most of all,

  • fueled by crates of mail like this one, my trusty mail crate,

  • filled with the scriptings of ordinary people,

  • strangers writing letters to other strangers not because

  • they're ever going to meet and laugh over a cup of coffee,

  • but because they have found one another by way of letter-writing.

  • But, you know, the thing that always gets me

  • about these letters is that most of them have been written

  • by people that have never known themselves loved on a piece of paper.

  • They could not tell you about the ink of their own love letters.

  • They're the ones from my generation,

  • the ones of us that have grown up into a world

  • where everything is paperless, and where some

  • of our best conversations have happened upon a screen.

  • We have learned to diary our pain onto Facebook,

  • and we speak swiftly in 140 characters or less.

  • But what if it's not about efficiency this time?

  • I was on the subway yesterday with this mail crate,

  • which is a conversation starter, let me tell you.

  • If you ever need one, just carry one of these. (Laughter)

  • And a man just stared at me, and he was like,

  • "Well, why don't you use the Internet?"

  • And I thought, "Well, sir, I am not a strategist,

  • nor am I specialist. I am merely a storyteller."

  • And so I could tell you about a woman

  • whose husband has just come home from Afghanistan,

  • and she is having a hard time unearthing this thing called conversation,

  • and so she tucks love letters throughout the house

  • as a way to say, "Come back to me.

  • Find me when you can."

  • Or a girl who decides that she is going to leave love letters

  • around her campus in Dubuque, Iowa, only to find

  • her efforts ripple-effected the next day when she walks out

  • onto the quad and finds love letters hanging

  • from the trees, tucked in the bushes and the benches.

  • Or the man who decides that he is going to take his life,

  • uses Facebook as a way to say goodbye

  • to friends and family.

  • Well, tonight he sleeps safely with a stack of letters

  • just like this one tucked beneath his pillow,

  • scripted by strangers who were there for him when.

  • These are the kinds of stories that convinced me

  • that letter-writing will never again need to flip back her hair

  • and talk about efficiency, because she is an art form now,

  • all the parts of her, the signing, the scripting, the mailing,

  • the doodles in the margins.

  • The mere fact that somebody would even just sit down,

  • pull out a piece of paper and think about someone

  • the whole way through, with an intention that is so much

  • harder to unearth when the browser is up and the iPhone

  • is pinging and we've got six conversations rolling in at once,

  • that is an art form

  • that does not fall down to the Goliath of "get faster,"

  • no matter how many social networks we might join.

  • We still clutch close these letters to our chest,

  • to the words that speak louder than loud,

  • when we turn pages into palettes to say the things

  • that we have needed to say,

  • the words that we have needed to write, to sisters

  • and brothers and even to strangers, for far too long.

  • Thank you. (Applause)

  • (Applause)

I was one of the only kids in college who had a reason

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B1 US TED mailbox letter mail fueled tucked

【TED】Hannah Brencher: Love letters to strangers (Hannah Brencher: Love letters to strangers)

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    田兒 posted on 2015/11/02
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