Have you ever been so inspired by an author’s work that you wish you could tell them exactly how much they have impacted your life? In our new series, Literary Love Letters, we will be doing just that – sharing open love letters to inspiring authors. Today, Our Endless Numbered Days author Claire Fuller writes to Miranda July.
Back in the winter of 2008 when I had just met my future husband, Tim, he introduced me to your collaborative art project, Learning To Love You More. (For those reading this letter, who aren’t Miranda July, Learning To Love You More was a book, a website and a series of assignments set by July and her co-artist, Harrell Fletcher, that anyone could do, such as, take a picture of your parents kissing, draw a constellation from someone’s freckles or ask your family to describe what you do.)
Tim and I did many of the assignments together. We made an encouraging banner (‘Life is an Adventure’) and hung it on a pub garden fence, we carved a bust of Steve the taxi driver from a sweet potato, and we made a sign and protested with it (‘Less Driving, More Walking – holding up traffic on the westbound A4 in central Reading*). We did all sorts of things that we would never have dreamed we were capable of, and felt more alive for doing them. We had such fun and I want to thank you for it.
The project – including the website where everyone uploaded their assignments – was acquired by San Francisco MOMA in 2010, and it pleases me hugely to know that some of our pictures are there too.
But when we’d finished doing the assignments I looked around for another challenge, and that’s when I found the short story event at my local library. I wrote a short story and read it aloud to a paying audience, then I wrote another and another, and a few more, and then my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days. It’s easy to trace its provenance back to Learning To Love You More.
And now, your debut novel, The First Bad Man, is published the same month as mine. I wish you the best of luck with it, and thank you for helping mine on its way.
*No protesters were put in danger during this assignment: the four lanes of traffic had stopped at a red light.