The Love letter
She’ll tell you it was third grade and I’ll tell you it was fourth grade when I met her on the playground. She was wearing a cape and telling people she “Vonted to sock their blod” (you have to use the accent or the story isn’t as good). We started this game called “terror in the wax museum” and since she was already Dracula, I became Lucrecia Borgia and our mutual friend picked up a stick and was instantly transformed into Lizzie Borden. She was the first person to inspire me in so many areas, but specifically she was my impetus for writing. When I moved away in eighth grade, we were best friends and I was devastated. The only thing that kept me dreaming was letters between us. For several years I kept every one she wrote me. They were love letters and I would pull them out and read them. Then came the lyrics we traded. I still have every set of lyrics, every poem she sent me and for many years I sent her each thing I wrote. She inspired me to write my first novel and my protagonist is named after one of her daughters. She is still my heart.
We have Facebook and texting now, but honestly, it’s not the same. You see, there is something special about holding a piece or two of special paper, with someone’s own handwriting (yes, handwriting) maybe doodles in the margin even, and words that are meant for your eyes only. It doesn’t have to be a romantic interest to be a love letter. I encourage you to widen your scope of love. A family member. A friend. Even a coworker who needs encouragement. It doesn’t have to be someone far away, either. He or she could be in the next cubicle. As you read this, you may already have someone in mind. Whoever it is though, make sure you do the following.
Use paper and pen. Unless your handwriting is illegible, even when you print, use paper and pen. Don’t cheat and buy a card, even a blank card. Go get some stationery if you don’t have it or some notebook paper and actually write with your own hand the sentiments you wish to convey.
Be genuine and transparent. Tell the person exactly what you want to tell him or her. Remember this isn’t a romantic thing. No stalking a coworker crush. No home wrecking. And no left handed despite the fact I carried you for nine months in my belly and you never even call I still want you home for thanksgiving snarkiness. If opening a vein on paper and squeezing out love is too ooey gooey for you, write a thank you to someone and I’ll give you a star, but the love letter will be a better benefit to you as a human and a writer during this season of giving.
Be wordy. You’re a writer and he or she probably knows it because seriously, who doesn’t know you’re a writer? Right? So fill the page with lovely words about your chosen recipient. Make it count. Cause him or her to have to stop for a moment in his or her personal chaos and actually ponder your gift.
Be prolific. Write more than one. Especially if you had to go buy a box of stationery for this exercise. Don’t stop with that old grade school bestie. Write to a teacher. Write to your parent. Write to your child. Love does not harm. And the more you put to paper the beautiful things you’ve found in others for which you are grateful, the more that beauty will continue to flow and fill up your life with color and light.