For my part, I think this was truly brilliant marketing, and to theextent that it does get people thinking and conversing about themeaning and value of small rituals in their daily life, Im very grateful.A GIFT THAT IS ALSO A RITUAL: VOICE QUILTOne of the reasons I was especially eager to write this newsletteris to share my experience with something called a VoiceQuilt. Last spring, my husband celebrated a milestone birthday and I wanted to dosomething memorable involving the whole extended family.I had heard there was something called a Voice Quilt that included good wishes and recorded messages from a bunch of peopleand decided to check it out. It sounds like a basic concept and works likevoicemail, but if you follow directions and organize it thoughtfully, youcan create something that will make the recipient feel truly celebrated.Its good to give people very specific instructions so there is somekind of a theme to the final recording, so it isnt just 15 people in a rowsinging Happy Birthday. I wanted this to sound more like an audioversion of This is Your Life rather than a random sampling of voicemail messages. Everyone on my list was asked to share a memoryor tell a story about why my husband was so important to them. Themaximum message is only about 4 minutes, which is plenty of time and Imade sure they all understood that after recording the message, theycould listen to it and if they didnt love it, delete it and start over.The folks who run the company send you an e-mail every timesomeone records a message, so you can follow up with stragglers. Then,you assemble the messages in some kind of order (like a playlist foryour iPod) and record a special framing message at the beginning andend. For my husband, the message-leavers ran the gamut from his 2-year-old granddaughter to his 92-year-old godmother. While I wasrecording the ending comment, I had my husbands favorite songplaying in the background, Someone to Watch Over Me, and I explained,These are all the people watching over
These message compilations can simply be downloaded onto aCD, but I opted to buy a handsome box, like a music box, for myhusbands VoiceQuilt. It was gorgeous. And when he opened it, duringhis party, most of the people who had recorded messages were present.