Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well-Kept Secrets, Vol. VI

(Image from ThisNext)

I don't know where I heard about Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See, but I loved it. I grabbed it one afternoon last fall in New York, and sat coffee in left hand, pages turning in right, until I finished it.

These are compelling to read because: 1. they are love letters, and 2. they are not yours.

I forgot about it for a while, then remembered while I was perusing the book selection at Anthropologie (yes, they sell something other than those bowls and assorted cardigans adorned with ribbons and bows). I bought a book that day, called For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing.

(Image from Yahoo)

It is a good resource for anyone who wants to learn something about writing memorable letters and needs a place to start. Random? Perhaps, but I'm a letter junkie. They come few and far between, but I keep basically anything handwritten I have ever received and I have recently made more of a concerted effort to send penned correspondence out into the world.

My mother found a letter and passed it my way casually a few weeks ago. "This was for you..." she said. It was a nondescript card, which when I got around to reading it I found was from my Great Aunt, said "ay-unt" not "ahhnt", I'm from Texas, remember?

What surprised me was that it was dated April 23, 1985, about three months after I was born. I read it over and over; she was excited to meet me, told me how adorable I was in pictures and that she had sent me a dress to wear during the summer when I would go to visit family in Mississippi. It was simple and full of love and I had never seen it before, in all my 23 years.

My aunt did not send the letter expecting that it would be kept for long, or knowing that 23 years later it would end up cherished by me as an indication of the loving reception I received when I came into the world. She probably didn't even think I would ever see it, but I did. It is now framed in my room.

I only speak for myself, but I don't know anyone who has ever framed an e-mail.

"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter."
-James Earl Jones


Jossie Posie said...

I am also a letter junkie and have kept every handwritten letter I have ever been given.

I make it a point in my relationships to write at least one handwritten letter.

However, my ex and I relied heavily on e-mails during our relationship being that we lived so far away. For Christmas last year I made him a hand bound book of our 900+ e-mails. It was our love story in its pure form. He treasured it.

I'm sure had they been handwritten it would have been even better but you take what you can get.

erin said...

I also love handwritten letters. Since I live abroad, email is my main source of communication with friends and family, but recently I've been mailing real letters.

One of my good friends started out as a pen pal, and we've been friends for 10 years now and about 6 months ago we started writing real letters instead of emails and I love it.

I also keep all letters, I have about 4 different boxes with letters.

Anonymous said...

I love letters, cards, postcards. I have boxes of them I've saved from my great-grandmother and grandfather and every greeting card I've ever received. I'm a dork, I am sure. I would love to have something special and sacred to frame. I think it's wonderful. I will have to check out that book! Thanks for sharing.

And Happy New Years!

HBee said...

Ah, I miss the art of hand written letters.

Kristen said...

James Earl Jones - also the blind man in the Sandlot with the BEST voice. Gah, I love that man.