By Heidi Stevens Chicago Tribune
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The "Dear Women Project" is a collection of notecards, designed and hand-drawn by Emily Asher, that you can use to pen your own notes. Asher designs a different set of cards each month, and she donates 25 percent of the profits to a nonprofit that benefits girls and women.
My favorite thing to happen upon unexpectedly (other than a $20 bill) is an old handwritten note.
I'm blessed with a husband who likes to write them, and I store them in odd places, slipped between pages of a book, stuffed inside a sock drawer, tucked in with my bills, so they'll pop back into my life unannounced. I also do this with notes from my mom, my friends, my kids. Finding them is an instant soul boost.
Which is probably why I love the Dear Women Project, a new endeavor launched by Chicago designer and calligrapher Emily Asher.
"I've gotten nice emails and texts over the years, and I've tried saving them on an external hard drive or sometimes I'll print them out," Asher, 30, told me. "But handwritten notes are automatic keepsakes. Each person's handwriting is so distinct and personal, and it just fills you with gratitude and love."
After the presidential election, Asher read about people writing thank-you notes to Hillary Clinton, which sparked a conversation at her book club. They were discussing ways to turn the frustration they felt about the election results into action, and one of the ideas was to write letters to the inspiring women they know.
"I've found a lot of comfort in reaching out to the strong women in my life," Asher said. "It's also motivational. When I wrote a letter to my grandma, I was thinking about all the things she has taught me, and it encouraged me to act according to those lessons."
The Dear Women Project is a collection of notecards, designed and hand-drawn by Asher, that you can use to pen your own notes. Asher designs a different set of cards each month, and she donates 25 percent of the profits to a nonprofit that benefits girls and women.
The first month, the cards featured an illustration of Hillary Clinton, with a quote from her 2016 concession speech: "Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance in the world." Asher said a portion of the profits went to She Should Run, a nonprofit that encourages women to run for elected office.
January's boxed set features Emily Dickinson with the quote "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all." The sales will benefit Girls Write Now, a New York-based creative writing group for at-risk high school girls.
Asher says she plans to represent women from a variety of time periods, disciplines and races. She's collecting suggestions on her site for future women to feature, and she's considering doing assorted boxed set collections for various holidays.
(My suggestions, in no particular order: Maya Angelou, Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai and Rosa Parks.)
Of course, we can also use Asher's project as inspiration to sit down and write to the wonderful women we know, notecards or no notecards. Suggestions for the recipients are equally fun to mull, and a lovely internal reminder of all that's good in the world.
Let's get writing.