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

5 comments:

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,
Mimi

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!
Suzanne

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