Photo. Forward. Food.

Hi everybody. Hope you’re holding up. We’re doing OK. Elizabeth has now semi-officially graduated from high school. We are all semi-officially very proud of her. More on that in the newsletter coming out the next couple of days. There might also be a long rant in there about The Last Dance. We’ll see.

Today, I wanted to tell you about this cool thing I’ve been working on and maybe give you a chance to join in before anyone else does.

To begin: We have relaunched our Passions in America project. For those of you who don’t remember the project — can’t blame you, we have been working behind the scenes on it for a few months now.

As a reminder: The idea of the project is for us to explore the hobbies, pastimes, collections, activities, puzzles, recreations, pursuits, and small obsessions that bring us joy.

Dan McGinn and I (and others) came into this project believing that those small and often overlooked joyful things in our lives are vitally important. They take us away. They give us peace. They energize our minds. They make us happy. In this project, we want to put a spotlight on those things, tell some great stories, share some of the science that shows just how much it helps to carve out even a little time to engage in something beyond work and family that makes you happy.

We have some exciting things planned. And that’s where you come in. We’re going to unveil our new campaign this week. I thought that we’d open it up to you a couple of days early.

We’re calling it “Photo. Forward. Food.” The idea is pretty simple: We are asking people to send us one photo of something — anything — that brings them joy during the pandemic. That’s all. This can be anything as long as it makes you happy. Already, we’ve had a friend send us a photo of a pet in a silly pose and a favorite tree they pass on their walk. It can be a dish you prepared, a scarf you crocheted, a jigsaw puzzle you completed, a board game you and your family play.*

*We have been playing this trivia game that we found in the closet somewhere. Its name is ridiculously bland, something like “FAMILY TRIVIA GAME.” It looks like something we created ourselves. But the game has proven to us unequivocally that we’re not getting smarter in isolation.

It can be a completed crossword puzzle, a Lego model, a favorite flower in a garden, a car you keep checking out on the Internet, a postcard you love, anything at all that takes you out of the moment and makes you feel good.

We believe that by sharing these photos and stories, we can spread some joy and, we hope, inspire some people.

There’s an important second part to this: For every person who sends in a photo, we will donate ten dollars to a D.C. area foodbank. We are still identifying the right Foodbank (we should have that locked down in the next day or so) but we will donate up to $25,000. That would be 2,500 people sending in photos, which is an awful lot. But we think it’s possible.

So, here’s what we’d love for you to do.

  1. Take a photo of something that brings you joy.

  2. For now, email it to me here. Starting Friday, we will have a special form at the Website. Include a few words about why the photo means something to you.

  3. That’s it. For every person who sends in a photo, we will donate ten dollars. So please send in your photo and maybe ask a friend or two or ten to do the same.