This started out being a post about a great idea, some very appealing art, and a lovely gift that my mother would have loved. But the more I read about Janice MacLeod, the more interested I became in her story. Janice is an artist, writer, and Etsy seller who had a really brilliant idea. Every month, she paints a watercolor of Paris, where she resides. Then she writes a charming and personable letter over the painting, makes a few limited-edition high-quality copies, personalizes each one, and mails them to her subscribers. This may not sound like much, but these letters are really very special. And often, the letters include a little bonus:
“I’m conscious to add personal touches,” Janice says. “Sometimes I add an interesting sugar packet, vintage postcard, or a beautiful label I find in my explorations through Paris.”
Here’s a video about the subscription:
She’s also written a bestselling book about how she managed to ditch her day job writing junk mail and turn living in, writing about, and painting Paris into the life she wanted! (Oh, and she met a great guy, Christophe the Polish butcher, too.) It looks like a very entertaining read. In an interview about the book, she was asked the three best lessons the experience taught her. I love them all, so here they are:
1. Live beneath your means
2. If you don’t have it, you don’t need it
3. Write to learn what you know
I find her story inspiring, and I think there’s a lesson in there for everyone who is less than enchanted with their work life. There’s always time to reinvent yourself if you want to badly enough. Don’t worry, I’m not going to run away and join the circus, but it’s fun to think that someday, maybe I’ll get to retire and make a life as a creative person again.
Here’s more of Janice’s beautiful letters, followed by one of my favorite French songs by Madeleine Peyroux.
September 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm
Reblogged this on Paddling for PEACE. and commented:
As a fellow artist, this is really cool!
September 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm
I used to write a lot of letters to people. These were often pages long. I enjoyed writing them, and waiting for responses. I can’t say as I get the same thrill out of email. The closest thing that compares to it is some of the Jvloggers on YouTube (The ones that make a video a month–something less random, and something looked forward to)
In this case, this is definitely something to look forward to. Thank you. I really enjoyed this one, and it has planted some seeds in my brain…..I wonder what it will grow into.
September 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm
I look forward to seeing what it turns into! So glad you liked me.
September 9, 2014 at 9:08 pm
It might take a while for the idea to germinate…but I will keep you informed.
As for liking… your work (and you, I believe) are amazing.
September 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm
You’re very sweet. Thank you!
September 10, 2014 at 5:30 am
What a fantastic concept and it’s execution. The life lessons are brilliant. I love this post even though it’s made me wistful and long to run away and join the circus myself.
September 10, 2014 at 5:51 am
Count me in!
September 10, 2014 at 5:54 am
You know, this (running away with the circus) was the theme of the novel I wrote when hurt (never was or will be published). Apparently a theme in my life. How did we end up where we are instead?
I see the insomnia has not abated or you’re now up for work. Sorry about that!
September 10, 2014 at 6:44 am
September 10, 2014 at 5:32 am
Argh. Who taught WordPress (or Apple?) English? That first it’s was (and was typed) to read “its”. All the more reason to hand write letters instead!
September 10, 2014 at 5:52 am
Then there’s no one to blame but yourself . . .
September 10, 2014 at 5:55 am
Yes. I often fail to catch the autocorrect’s stupidities. My bad.
September 10, 2014 at 6:46 am
I don’t use auto correct, but my texts have become increasingly error-filled because the text is too tiny to read over, so I just type and send, willy nilly.
September 10, 2014 at 10:54 am
That’s a much better attitude. I am a former editor. I can’t help myself.
September 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm
Me, too, which is why it’s so embarrassing when I realize what I’ve sent out.
September 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm
We really are twins.
September 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm
That’s it. Next time I’m in NY (hopefully within the next month-ish) I am buying you a drink. Or two.
September 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm
September 13, 2014 at 10:53 pm
Very inspiring post. Thank you for sharing. Your paintings are beautiful
September 13, 2014 at 10:56 pm
Thanks, but they’re not my paintings. I sincerely wish they were! Glad you like them.
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