Letters, movies and life


Dear Reader,

I saw the film “Letters to Juliet” this past weekend – Verona, the Tuscan scenery and the story behind the movie are beautiful and romantic.

The film revolves around the story of Romeo and Juliet, a story which we all know, and weaves in the modern-day story of Juliet’s secretaries, which I am guessing most of us didn”t know about, at least before the movie cam out.

When I visited Veron and Juliet’s balcony, I didn’t have a clue that a cadre of women in beautiful, romantic Verona were sitting just a few cobblestone streets away answering the thousands of letters written to her each day. The story of the secretaries interested me so much that after seeing the movie I did some research.

Letters to Juliet flow into Verona from people around the globe (a large proportion of whom are American girls in their teens) asking Shakespeare’s tragic, young heroine for advice to help them unravel the mysteries of love. And, just like Santa’s little helpers the dedicated secretaries are there to answer the call, well actually 5,000 “calls”.  Each year they respond to 5,000 letters, dividing them by language and answering each with care and compassion. 

Isn’t that great? I love stories like this about people creating the lives they want in ways I could never even imagine. These women are dedicated to keeping the memory of Juliet and the belief in true love, alive and well, so they volunteer their time each day to do just that.

The movie and reading about these interesting women led me to once again ask myself the following questions:

  1. What does the story of my life look like?
  2. What do I want it to look like?
  3. And, how do I make that happen?

My thoughts then led me to the most important question: Who should play me in the movie of my life?  (Okay, maybe that’s not the most important question, but thinking about it made me very happy!)

If the life you want to create for yourself was playing on big screens everywhere, who would be playing you?

Julia Roberts? Meryl Streep? Angela Bassett? Drew Barrymore? Jennifer Lopez? Carmen Diaz? Jennifer Hudson? Reese Witherspoon? Queen Latifah? Vanessa Redgrave? (Vanessa Redgrave starred in “Letters to Juliet” as the older woman searching for her lost love.)

All casting and joking aside, can we really create the lives we want?  Yes, I believe we can.

Is it as easy as dreaming-up what we want our life to look like? No, of course not, but that is definitely an extremely valuable first step and what Wishful Thinking Works is all about – taking time to develop the “screenplay” of how we want our life to be (day-to-day and long-term), getting it down on paper (in words, drawings, collages, etc.) and then figuring out (bit-by-bit and trial-by-error) how to make it happen.  And, although creating the lives we want is not the easiest thing we will ever do, it will be one of the most rewarding, which reminds me of another movie I saw this weekend.

Front of the Class is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie about Brad Cohen, a guy with Tourette Syndrome, (TS) whose physical tics and vocal outbursts led him to be ostracized by students, teachers and his Dad throughout his early life – even after his condition was diagnosed and his inability to control his symptoms was known.  With his Mom, kid brother and a caring school principal covering his back, along with an amazing amount of personal insight and fortitude, Brad found ways to not only deal with his TS, but to thrive with it.  He fought his way through the educational system to finish high school and college with a degree in teaching.

And, then despite his TS and 24 unsuccessful interviews, Brad landed a job as a teacher. After his first year, because of his excellence in teaching – tics included – he was awarded the “First Class Teacher of the Year Award” for the state of Georgia.

Brad went on to get his Master’s degree, figure out ways to become closer to his Dad, and write a book about living with TS, which was later made into the movie I watched.  He married in 2006, began doing motivational speaking and in 2010 celebrated the birth of his first child, a little boy.   He created the life he wanted.  Was it easy, nope.  Fulfilling, yes.

So, after spending lots of time watching movies last weekend – I actually saw two more :-), I thought this weekend I might spend some time thinking about the life I want to create (it’s always evolving) and jotting down a few more thoughts for the “script”. I invite you to join me.  (I often use these to get myself started.)

Then you have to move on to the really difficult part  – selecting which actor or actress has the right look, personality, skill, brilliance, courage, dedication, insight, and talent to capture you on film.  Because honestly, if you are brave enough to create the life you want, someone really special will have to play you.

Who will it be; we’d love to know!

Warm regards,


PS If you or someone you know, would like to write to the Secretaries to Juliet and receive a reply, please include your return address and send your letter to:  CLUB DI GIULIETTA – THE JULIET CLUB via Galilei 3 – 37100 Verona, Italy