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Letters from the Heart

February 23, 2011

I often bemoan the declining art of letter writing, but there’s one type of letter in particular that deserves to be saved from the advancement of digital communication.

Love letters.

Handwritten declarations of feeling, scribbled notes of passion, or carefully worded letters of apology; whatever their purpose, we attach an aura of romance to them.

They map tales of love affairs during wars, of long lost or forbidden love. More often than not these letters are searingly honest; laying bare the deepest of emotions with words filled with hope or despair.

A love letter gives us an outlet to say what we truly mean, to not get flustered over finding the right words when face-to-face with the person who means the most to us.  They are often kept by recipients, bundled away like priceless treasures for safekeeping, and taken out on occasion to read and be reminded of the effect we’ve had on others.

And receiving a letter makes us feel special, knowing that there is someone in the world who cares enough to take the time to sit and write down all the thoughts and air deeply buried emotions.

“To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say and to finish without knowing what you have written.”
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

That statement captures the abandonment with which love letters are often written, a love email just doesn’t have the same effect. I’m not even sure if you can get a love text. Or how deep you can be in 160 characters. There’s something endearing about rambling declarations of feelings; a flowing stream of consciousness which explains to the receiver all the different ways in which they light up your life.

And the best bit is that they can be written anytime. No need to wait for a special day, or a momentous occasion, just when the notion takes you. Although it’s always better to have someone to send one to.



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