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Monday, February 14, 2005

Love letters

Had to share this piece from yesterday’s Washington Post because it speaks to a romantic part of me that longs for the days of beautifully composed letters

Writer Kristin Henderson, who has written about how military spouses are coping with the war in Iraq, unlocks the secret of love letters from some of the most famous literary correspondents (such as Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton and Morton Fullerton), but she also writes of love letters to Civil War soldiers and modern-day e-mail romances that span the globe.

The love letter, whether it’s handwritten or electronic, represents the tangible. Lovingly written letters can cause a pheromonal reaction in its recipient and can be the closest thing to having your loved one near. It's why people throughout time have cherished them, dressing them in ribbons or tucking them safely into secret boxes.

She writes: “Walking hand in hand. Eating together. Lying together in each other's arms. Romantic love is so closely linked with physical contact that when we can't see or touch the ones we love, they can start to seem like figments of the imagination. Then we long to feel the reality of their skin beneath our hands, their breath against our cheek. Maybe that longing is what impels us to write, the longing to make the other person real again, because, unlike phone calls, which exist only in memory once we hang up, the written word lasts. It's real.”


Greta Garbo said...

Interesting bit--I wish they'd talked more about the hand written aspect of notes. My father passed away almost 8 years ago. This past October, when my brother put together a slide show for my mom's 60th birthday, I was emotionally prepared to see photos of my father, but not to see a brief, handwritten note inside a Valentine's card. It was seeing handwriting--which still looks so individual, so alive--that brought me to tears.

Wendy Hoke said...

I agree. My father is very much alive, despite a heart attack in September and another scare two weeks ago. He has the most elegant handwriting of any man I know. I have notes he's written to me over the years tucked away in books and will occasionally stumble over one while searching for something else. They always make me smile.