In this day and age of instant messaging, emojis, and exchanging of photos as a means of communication, do we still know how to write love letters? Do we know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a love letter? If you’ve ever wanted to receive more than just a few words typed out in shorthand or perhaps currently do not have any potential letter sender in sight, let Isa Garcia’s recently released book Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God, romance you.
The young author writes a series of letters addressed to women on a series of topics, namely (as you probably figured out from the subtitle) God, love, life, the tough stuff, and you. Yes, you. Found was launched last Wednesday at Commune Cafe featuring performances by spoken word and musical artists. I ask Isa just a few questions, prior to her book launch, on the making of Found. Read on!
Ronna Capili Bonifacio (RCB): Why did you choose to write Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God?
Isa Garcia (IG): The letters actually wrote themselves. 80% of the book’s letters were written when I was still in my early 20’s. (I’m currently 28) After graduating from college, 21-years-old, fresh from a break up, searching for a job and completely uncertain about what to do with my life, I decided that the best way to cope was to write. I started a blog (the now-defunct Everyday Isa) and poured my heart out. I wrote about God and love and pain and fear. I wrote about loneliness. I wrote about friendship. I wore my heart on my sleeve, not for anything else but because that time of my life felt so messy and writing true was the only way I knew to survive it.
When I started getting e-mails from different women all over the globe, women who were responding to my posts, women who felt a lot less alone because of my words, I felt so… overwhelmed. I felt honored and humbled and grateful that my words had, for a moment, been a safe place for these ladies to rest their hearts in. And I continued to write for the same reason. I eventually outgrew the blog and closed it down but that experience of connecting with different hearts in cyberspace showed me that there was a place for those words in the world.
And, thankfully, OMF caught that and the book, Found, was born.
RCB: Why in letter forms?
IG: I had always loved writing letters. From when I was a little girl to a teenager, passing notes to my friends, to a young lady in college sending out long, elaborate e-mails to her best friends. You can ask those closest to me and they’ll tell you it’s true: writing is my love language. Letters are so beautiful and so extremely personal. I love receiving them as much as I love writing them. A letter feels precious, carries the weight of intention — someone thought of you and decided to pen their affection with words on paper. How beautiful is that? The words I had written were so vulnerable that spinning them into letters (so that others could make them their own) seemed like the perfect thing to do.
RCB: How did you come up with the subjects?
IG: Each letter is attached to a story, to a time in my life when I was experiencing something. You Should Date, for example, came about because a girl I knew had been tweeting the boy she loved to love her back. Something about that moment broke my heart because I knew this boy had no care for her at all. And in begging him, I felt like she was settling. Somehow I knew that she was meant for love, full and real and good. I knew it and I knew God knew it, too.
Found also features 12 postcards designed by Crae Achacoso which feature quotes from a letter. Tear it off, put it up your bathroom mirror to remind yourself of Biblical truths (“Love patiently waits for you to reach your potential”), or pay it forward–write a letter to a friend who needs the encouragement (“There is a part of us that can only truly be found in sadness, in anger, in despair, defeat. And that part is precious. It is the place where courage is built.”).
As is the emotion that lingers after a love letter has been folded up, loved, valuable, encouraged, and able will be the aftertaste upon finishing Isa Garcia’s Found.