If this is your first visit to the site, my guest post for SkyLightRain summarises my 60 Postcards story so far.
So, it’s a Tuesday and that means it is time for my weekly 60 Postcards update – the first of my new routine (which I introduced to you in my last post).
I am fully aware that I am a broken record and need some new chat (story of my life), BUT, I will say it again – one of my favourite things about writing my book has been hearing from readers.
There are lots of messages that I would love to share (and hopefully will be able to in the future) but here are three special tales from 60 Postcards book readers which involve a splash of magic, a drop of serendipity and a pinch of fate all mixed into each!
SHAKESPEARE & CO SERENDIPITY (KATHERINE)
“Hi Rachael, You wont believe this but I’m just back late last night from a wonderful trip to Paris and I was dying to bring my boyfriend to a bookshop near Notre Dame I had been to a few years ago with my Mum and Dad “The Shakespeare Book Company“. Low and behold I was able to find it again and there staring at me on one of the first book piles I glanced at was your book. I read the back cover and had to buy it immediately.”
I fell in love with Katherine’s message straight away. The Shakespeare & Co bookshop will always be a very special place to me, as it is where ballet dancing, New York living, Stephanie, found one of my postcards. But the meaning of Katherine discovering my book there became far more powerful when she explained that she also lost her Mum to cancer at the age of 28. The fact that she had been there with her Mum previously was lovely, but no doubt extremely tough.
Katherine said that she could draw parallels with our lives and could especially relate to my take on the reactions of others. I felt an instant connection to Katherine on reading her words – the shared feelings and the serendipity of that book shop leading us to cross paths. Well, email paths at least! Katherine, I know you said that you plan on leaving the book somewhere so please let me know when you do! And thank you for the words that anyone who has lost a loved one should remember forever, ‘Continue to keep their spirit alive‘.
ONE DAY IN PARIS (HAYLEY)
I absolutely loved the subject title of the email from Hayley, ‘One Day in Paris’. It made me feel as though I was about to read a film script. And when I saw there were photos attached, I couldn’t wait to read on…..
“Hi Rachael, my name is Hayley, I’m Australian but living in London for 3 years now and I am an avid book reader. For me it passes time on the tedious and often hectic tube journey each morning or relaxes me before bed, so I’m always on the look out for new books to read. I came across 60 Postcards in Stylist and downloaded it to my kindle straight away. Not really knowing the background to the book (apart from your article) I set off to read it, a week before I was visiting Paris for the 4th time and just for the day! The things living in London allows us to do!
I finished your book, pulling into Gare du Nord on the 7.22am train from Kings Cross, inspired and ready for a day to explore one of my favourite cities.
I was thinking all day how great it would be to find one of your postcards but didn’t want to leave it to chance so when the opportunity came I thought I’d spread the 60 Postcards word instead. Strolling along Promenade des Berges de la Seine we came across a giant chalk board. People were picking up pieces of chalk that were left out for everyone and writing messages, ones of love, friendship and laughs. People just leaving their mark in this great city. So I thought how fitting but to put 60 Postcards on that wall. I’ve attached the picture along with the bridge plaque. I do hope the weather stays as lovely as it was and 60 Postcards gets to stay on that board, overlooking the Seine where it all started.
I’ve never lost a loved one, the thought terrifies me especially now that I live so far away from my family but your journey gives me inspiration and hope that I too would find the courage you have when/if I’m faced with the inevitable. Congratulations and good luck for the future 60 Postcards projects! Hayley xx”
Simply amazing – thank you for spreading the word in the city where it all began!
A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP ACROSS THE WORLD (GEM & LAURA)
When I heard from Gemma (who lives and works in London and is the same age as moi), the first thing that struck me was how much it felt like I was reading an email from someone I had known for years. I loved her jokes about finishing the book on the Megabus and then I was moved to tears when she explained that she was on her way back to London after an impromptu trip home to see her family because of the book.
Gemma shared her experience of losing her Granddad to bowel cancer four years ago and, with it, shared some beautiful insights into how somehow, somewhere – people we have lost are still very much here and a huge part of our worlds.
As book readers will already know, in the first pages I encourage the reader to use a blank postcard as a book mark and to write a message on it when you have finished, leaving it or sending it to someone. Gemma adds, “I am keeping the ripple effect going in my own way. My very best friend now lives in Sydney (sob) and I miss her so so much. Laura and I are two sides of the same coin, since she moved away I feel like I have lost my left arm and I miss her so, so much. She is my soul mate. We speak every day and she is still there for me but it isn’t the same as having her here. Your book touched me so much and I knew as soon as I finished it Laura would feel the same.”
I was thrilled when Laura then messaged me from down under a few weeks later!
“I have just finished reading 60 Postcards in my back garden of Sunny Sydney, and just wanted to tell you how much I loved it! I have lived away from home (UK) for 4 years now and my best friend recently sent me the book along with a beautiful postcard explaining your story. Now that I have finished I have just written my own note on the same postcard and I’m about to go and find a little cafe/ book store to secretly squirrel it in! Fingers crossed the word continues to spread all the way over here in Australia.
Both girls on opposite sides of the world said that they decided to call their Mum’s (Marilyn and Carol) every day for a week to say, ‘I love you’ on finishing the book which was so lovely to hear.
And so here are the messages written on the postcard that acted as a book mark for both of them:
I want you to read this book and love it as much as I did. I follow Rachael’s blog and she asked, ‘if you had one postcard left in the world, who would you send it to?’ I’d send it to you. Use this as your book mark and then leave it somewhere significant in Sydney and spread #60postcards around the globe. Write your own little message to the finder so they know what this is about…..”
Congratulations, you have just become part of “Team 60 Postcards”! My best friend in the UK who I miss terribly sent me the amazing book 60 Postcards in May 2014 and if you have ever lost someone and want to truly be inspired I encourage you to find the book and read it now! The show must go on! Laura F”
The girls tell me that this postcard has been hidden in a gorgeous little bookshop in Surrey Hills in Sydney. That bookshop holds a special place in the girls hearts as it is, ‘full of second-hand books and literature and memories of our happy times. A perfect home for another worthy recipient to find our postcard.’
So any Aussies based in Sydney who may come across this post – get hunting! I really hope that the postcard is found, whether we hear anything or not.
This has been a longer post than usual but I couldn’t bring myself to cut any of it down. Thank you so much to Katherine, Hayley, Gemma and Laura for sharing their wonderful stories. I feel immensely proud and grateful to have you on Team 60 Postcards.
Do you have a serendipitous story of your own? If so get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks very much for listening. Speak to you on Friday xxx
Ps There are still spaces for the 60 Postcards (free!) meet up on Weds 11th June. Click here to find out more and sign up :).