February 1, 2011

Vintage: Bringing Back the Love Letter

Remember mail? Not the bills cramming your mailbox, but a good, old-fashioned letter with a hand-written address scrawled across the envelope. I try to write notes and letters as often as I can, but like many of you, I’m more inclined to send off a quick email to save time – another thing on my to-do list complete. The pony express was lucky if they returned a letter within months (sometimes years) never mind weeks, yet it seems unimaginable that we would have to wait for a response to anything longer than a matter of minutes in our world of instant messaging and texts.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my computer, but I would be lost without paper, in any form. When I begin a writing project, I write my idea or outline long-hand first. Even after I type an article or essay on my computer, I print out the first draft and edit it by hand, and I continue with this process until I’m done. An arduous task perhaps, but I love putting pen to paper. I make notes and record appointments in a datebook that requires me to take out my pencil and find the page I’m looking for. Yet when it comes to sending a note of praise, love, or thanks, it takes a great amount of effort.

When my children were younger, we crafted hand-made cards from scraps of red construction paper and gobs of glitter. By the time they were in school, store-bought Valentine’s replaced the scissors and glue so I could save time, my sanity, and money. (You really couldn’t beat 1.99 for a box of 20 cards.) But I did have one hold-out; they had to write notes to each other, and of course, to me and their Dad. We fashioned heart-shaped pockets from red felt and gold ribbon and hung them on our bedroom doors. The rule was you had to fill each person’s heart with a note or token of your affection every day of the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Sometimes the notes were funny. Sometimes you scored a candy heart. Sometimes the notes were sweet and full of lipstick kisses. I miss those days.

Husbands are another matter. When we were dating, every day seemed like Valentine’s Day, but fast-forward twenty odd years and life tends to get in the way of romance. As much as I adore him, he is not the type of man who can easily express himself on paper. That’s my job. I’m the one who writes the sappy love letters – to him and my children. But if the words don’t come easily, does that mean that we’re doomed to a life without love letters? Perhaps we all need a little help.

Love Letters of Great Men is a book that didn’t actually exist until recently. In it, you will find love letters written during a time when letter writing was the only means of communicating; when lovers would spend most of their time apart instead of together.

“I wake consumed with thoughts of you.” Napoleon to Josephine

“I cannot exist without you - I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again - my life seems to stop there - I see no further. You have absorb'd me.” John Keats to Fanny

“My thoughts go out to you my Immortal Beloved. I can live wholly with you or not at all.” Ludwig van Beethoven

Books of poetry and music lyrics can also be a great source of inspiration. A verse or two from a favorite song is music to the ears. A quick note in a lunchbox or left on the kitchen counter is greatly appreciated. A love letter does not need to be long; it only needs to come from the heart.

Carrie asked Big if he ever sent her a love letter. “A love fax perhaps.” It all counts.

Photo: hubpages.com


BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour Kimberly,
I am a big fun of letter writing. Nothing better than receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. ANd if it is a love letter, well that is even better!
Ggreat post as always.
Have a good week,

Dawn-Hydrangea Home said...

I'm with you. Still love to write with a pen and paper!!

Jane Says said...

love this post! i'm such a fan of writing letters. in fact, one of my new year goals is to write a love letter every week and mail it to someone i love. it has quickly become one of my favorite sunday morning activities.

Suzanne said...

Nothing beats a hand written letter for me either...unless it's a hug:) I just bought a mailbox i'm going to beat up and then paint "love letters" on it, so i REALLY loved your post!

Spot Cash on Credit Card said...

Yes, you are absolutely correct.your blog is giving very useful knowledge for all, i'm sharing your information to all friends.
Am providing
Cash On Credit Card In Chennai
at low interest.