History of love letters and valentines

John Walsh at the Independent in the U.K. asks “Have we lost the art of writing love letters?”  He provides a nice history of love letters and St. Valentine.  He closes with this paragraph:

Do people send each other love letters any more? Or is the exchange of amorous declarations between partners now forever delegated to the insulting greetings card, the fluffy-bunny message in newspaper classifieds, the wholly unpassionate email, the economical salutation of the text message (“yr hairs so lng yr tits so gr8 theres nuthin bout you I don’t r8. fanC a shg?”)? Probably. But as recipients of real love letters will tell you, they don’t have to be the work of Elizabeth Barrett or Lord Byron, or to insist on the beloved’s spiritual qualities, to have an effect. Just a recital of her (or his) most shining virtues can do the trick. 

So go ahead and make the list of all your love’s virtues, share it with him or her, and see if it does the trick.

More than kisses…

I was reading a history book once–Sovereign Amity–about friendship in early modern England and I came across a quote I captured in my art journal:

John Donne captured perfectly how I feel.  I’ve never seen any other statement so beautifully succinct and true about the gift of letters.  I found the quote so inspiring, I thought about opening a stationery shop called “More than Kisses.” But then I worried it might send the wrong message about what’s for sale inside!

Writing from the heart

With Valentine’s day just around the corner, many are pondering how to put their love into words.  There are lots of opportunities to express yourself in written words during this holiday, whether in a card, a letter, or those little notes on flower bouquets. 

Normally I’d say, “Write from your heart” to someone struggling to put pen to paper.  But as this Superbowl commercial demonstrates, that may not always be the best course of action:

If you’re looking for some guidance, why not peruse great love letters from the past?  I have a few books I’ve enjoyed.  Love Letters, collected by Everyman’s Library is a good place to start for examples.  Or How to Write Love Letters by Michelle Lovric is a beautifully designed book with both examples and also guidance on doing it yourself.  Remember, writing from the heart is good most of the time.  If you think you might be missing the mark, don’t be afraid to call in the professionals!