One question we often get is what’s the most surprising thing that’s happened since we started working on Love Letter To the World. There’s a lot we didn’t anticipate a year ago, yet we always come back to what’s at the core of this artwork: the people (if you are reading this, you are already part of this astonishing core!). We never imagined we’d make so many new friends. We did not expect we’d happen upon Frank X Walker’s inked words in coffee houses, barbeque joints, and daycares.

Kelli Reno's "still believing"

Kelli Reno’s “still believing”

We did not imagine we’d meet Kelli Reno, an English teacher at STEAM Academy in Lexington, who wrote to us a week before getting “still believing” inked on her back, to ask whether we’d work with her students to collect loving words for the North Side of Lexington. We will soon be talking with her sophomores about community, art, and poetry that makes love visible. Her sophomores will be writing poetry and making art (though they will stay away from permanent tattoos!).

We did not imagine that an email introduction by a mutual friend would lead to a meeting with Ali Farhang at Third Street Coffee that lasted nearly two hours. Ali, who identifies as a proud Torontonian who was born in London and considers Iran his homeland, wanted to make sure he does justice both to every word of “Love Letta to de Worl’” and to the venerable tradition of Persian poetry. So we drank coffee and talked about metaphors and multiple meanings and words too heavy with history.

Listen to Ali Farhang’s translation here

We did not imagine that on walking into Blue Door Smokehouse we would see “with the sun” inked on the right arm of Rob Thomas, the man who greets everyone who enters with a huge smile. We already knew Rob from the Lexington Tattoo Project, but we had no idea he has enough charm to convince anyone to get the sliced beef brisket, even if you thought you were going in for a side of slaw (the beef brisket is totally worth it!).

Rob Thomas' "with the sun"

Rob Thomas’ “with the sun”

We expect that our circle of friends will continue to grow, that one day it will be impossible to travel anywhere without spotting new galaxies of words and suns dancing on strangers’ skins.

— Kremena and Kurt