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A ‘Lovely’ campaign, even amid country’s tragedies

Amy Krouse Rosenthal creator The Beckoning Lovely. The last missithis project is becklovely save world. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, creator of The Beckoning of Lovely. The last mission of this project is to beckon lovely and save the world. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 22, 2013 6:22AM

The numbers always seem to add up for author Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

The West Lake View resident began the spiritual outreach from her short YouTube film “17 Things I Made” on 8-8-2008, inviting people to make an 18th item as a group at Millennium Park.

A larger beckoning of 10 shared moments followed on 10-10-2010. On 11-11-2011, she released “The Beckoning of Lovely,” a feature film on YouTube featuring more than 1,000 people who gathered at the Bean. Her current “Beckon Lovely” began on 12-12-2012 and will end with the 12-21-2012 transition of the Mayan calendar ­— and the alleged end of the world.

Rosenthal encourages people to affix yellow Post-It notes with “Please Beckon Lovely” everywhere: in Millennium Park, in a cab, on your office desk. While sitting at her kitchen table this week, Rosenthal scrawled out a “Beckon Lovely” note with her trademark umbrella.

It is challenging to beckon lovely with yellow notes in a blue America.

The elementary school massacre last week has stung the world. Chicago is on track to record more than 500 homicides by the time 12-31-2012 rolls around. Even on Monday’s “Late Show,” host David Letterman reflected, “It’s a sad, sad holiday season.”

“Beckon Lovely” beckons the question of the strength of a grass-roots movement, from the bottom up.

“That’s a good question,” Rosenthal said. She took a long pause and answered, “There wasn’t a grand vision with this. It became what it became on its own. I don’t feel I was steering the ship. I wanted to connect with people.

“Initially I thought I was making a movie by collecting these things people made [for the 8-8-2008 event]. In the very end I realized it’s not a movie, it’s a movement. But it’s not right of me to infringe on what happened last week.”

Still, the Mayan calendar has had a profound effect on her. “There aren’t that many people that are taking it that seriously. Discovering the anagram [‘An Amy’]) was thrilling for me. I like that kind of stuff. It felt tidy, simple and a nice way to go out. Beckon lovely and save the world in 10 days. That was more like a blanket statement that whatever you’re doing in your life, you can add more lovely, create more lovely.”

Chicago singer-songwriter Nick Gage (also with the performance group the Sprinkler System) has participated in all of Rosenthal’s events. “These are spontaneous and uplifting,” said Gage, 33. “With zero expectations. A sense of community comes out of this from nothing. You go into any event not knowing what will happen, but it will probably be very simple and sweet. It strikes a chord with a collective community.”

Rosenthal, 47, and her husband Jason have three children between the ages of 15 and 19. The author, who grew up in Northbrook and Lake Forest, has written more than 20 children’s books and adult works such as “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.” Still, she maintains that “anybody can do” a campaign like “Please Beckon Lovely.”

“It feels good and fun,” she said. “I tack them up in Starbucks. I’ve done all kinds of projects like this. It’s exciting to see what happens.”

For more on Amy Krouse Rosenthal and an uplifting message, please visit

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