By Valerie Dunn
Texting, Twitter, email, and Facebook have driven the art of letter writing toward its death. However, even as the price of postage rises and society demands efficiency, I encourage you to take the extra moment and 46¢ needed to write a love letter. Love letters provide tangible evidence of affection and your romance will flourish from the sentiment.
Indeed, the art of love letters is a long-standing tradition honored by such greats as Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, Johnny Cash to June Carter, and Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald. These names intertwined harken romances of both infamy and grandeur. Writing letters takes a risk, as recording our deepest thoughts on paper imbeds our feelings into history. Few love letters evoke this risk as mesmerizingly as Virginia Woolf’s letter to her lover Vita Sackville-West, written in 1927:
“Look here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads — They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.”
Suddenly Vita’s world erupts in visions of dizzying nights at Hampton Court. Really, how could one say no to such eloquence?
But we shouldn’t be intimidated by the quality of Woolf’s writing. What makes this letter astounding is not its skill so much as its honest outpour of emotions. A letter provides an outlet for our most intimate thoughts toward another person. Love letters resonate with sincerity too vulnerable to post on the Internet. Letters give voice to our thoughts in a way that will dwell with the reader longer than an instant message.
Maybe you forgot the roses on Valentine’s Day. Now is your chance to dazzle your lovey with words from the heart. Compose a letter full of sweet nothings, fond memories, and maybe even a dab of your perfume or cologne. Yes, writing letters takes time and a teeny bit of effort, but isn’t your love worth it?
A letter is a small but precious gift. Unlike a text, you can sleep with a love letter under your pillow, or feel the ink beneath your fingers. The length of a love letter can span much farther than the 140 characters of a Tweet. Unless you’re the next Virginia Woolf, chances are your love letters will remain private. Though the Internet undermines the importance of privacy, the intimate correspondence between two people will allow a quiet tenderness a Facebook status cannot. A simple piece of paper, maybe even elegant stationary, will not distract from your affectionate words as would the flashing ads which clutter the internet.
A love letter affords an extended physical connection as one person must caress the paper with words while writing so that the receiver may hold that same paper. In the onslaught of technology, a love letter speaks of a simpler time, one where romance might exist without interruption. Any sort of mail will surprise your sweetheart, but a love letter will bring warmth to even the most cynical of hearts. So grab a pen, some stationary, and prepare to woo.