Writing to our potential future-selves with dementia
The Dementia Letter project was born out of inspiration: I found a book with letters of Dutch authors who wrote letters to their younger selves. Titaantjes waren we. This book, I felt, needs a twin! What would it be like if we wrote letters to one of our many possible future selves, our future self with dementia?
Writing letters, I find, is a kind way of breaking free from writing formats, and of directing personal messages at one's audience - even if that person is oneself. And, of course, letter writers are in good - and often famous - company: for inspiration, have a look at The Big Issue Archive: Letters to my Younger Self, Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher and The Value of Letter Writing by Esther Perel.
Through imagining our future self, we are not only thinking about what the future may hold for us, we are also actively shaping its possibilities. What is imaginable, becomes shape-able and live-able. May we, through writing letters, shape better lives with dementia, which may or may not be our own someday?
My friend and former colleague Hannah Cowan was one of the first to write a letter - you can find it here. She felt so inspired by the idea that we are now working on the project as a team! As the letters come in, we will link each of them to a picture below - with the hope to eventually write some reflections on some of the themes that emerge. Are you interested in taking part? Please find the invitation for the project here.
Stay tuned for more letters!