dating + love

The Lost Art of Love Letter Writing

June 8, 2011

To sir, with love…

Doesn’t anyone write love letters anymore?

This is a question posed by my darling friend in her Facebook status the yesterday. I immediately thought, “Nope.”

In middle school and high school, writing letters was the preferred method of communication. Of course, back when I was growing up, smartphones weren’t around, so texting/ emailing/ tweeting/ facebooking weren’t at the tips of our fingers. We did what we could with what we had–a pen and paper. I’ve received numerous letters in my day, from both friends and admirers. In fact, I still have a shoe box full of them, tucked away in the closet of my old room at my parents’ house. I wish I had them in front of me know to go through and give you excerpts of what the school boys were professing to Young Gemmie.

I don’t remember many details about the “love” letters I received. Some simply contained the classic “Do you like me? Check yes, no or maybe” shtick. Some contained poems. And I remember how adored I felt receiving and reading them. I remember feeling appreciated by the writer. These guys had taken time to write out their thoughts about me/us. And that was special to me.

Now, I realize in this new age of advanced technology that physically writing with an ink-dispensing utensil on a thin piece of dead tree is considered a bit old fashioned, time consuming, and inefficient. We have so many fast, digital modes of communication and writing a letter via the postal service (or even hand delivered) just seems like too much. But dammit if I don’t want an Aaliyah style 4 page letter as a woman in her late 20s!! #andibettergetitontime

Perhaps it’s the romantic in me that wants to read a hand-written letter by a lover or admirer. Ok, let’s be real, it is the romantic in me. And judging from many of the responses on my post about movie romances, as well as my brief convo about love letters on twitter yesterday, I am not the only one with this sentiment.

I find love letters  such a sweet and extremely thoughtful way of expressing your feelings for some one. It’s not always easy for people to verbally say how they feel, and sometimes writing things out is easier (hello, look at me!). Even if the words you write aren’t original (but instead taken from a book, movie, poem) or well crafted, it’s the thought that counts. A simple hand-written note that says, “I love you. You mean a lot to me. I’m happy to have you in my life,” means soooo much!!! Sure, you could say this via text or email, but there’s something about seeing such words in a person’s handwriting seems to make it all the more special. Or maybe it’s just me. *shrug*

In all fairness, I don’t think it’s just men who don’t do this. Hell, I myself haven’t written a love letter since high school. I’ve sent lovey dovey emails/texts, and occasionally a mushy card, but no letters. But now that this discussion has been sparked, I’m itching to have a love interest, one whom I can write notes for and stick them in his coat pocket, or laptop case, or the packed lunch I made him.

But if I were to write a love letter RIGHT NOW, to my future “sun and my stars,” it wouldn’t be composed of original words from my head (I’m out of practice). I’d probably pen the words of poet Janette…IZK in her piece “I Will Wait For You.” Because I can’t think of anything more appropriate to say at this time that she hasn’t already said…

I will wait for you… I am bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, Adam.  And once we meet, like electrons I will be bound to your nucleus, completely indivisible, atom. We even speak the same math: One plus one plus one equals three, which really equals One if you add ’em. We were all created in His image, but you have the ability to reflect, project, and even detect the sun. If I were to explain what you look like, you would have to look like a star. A son of the Son. I would gain energy simply from the light that you shine on me. I would need you to complete my photosynthesis. I will await your revelation and once again from the genesis, I will wait for you.

What do you think about love letters? Are they overrated romantic gestures? When was the last time you wrote or had a a love interest or admirer  write you a love letter (if ever)? If you don’t write or receive love letters anymore, why not?

Waiting on my future love’s letter,
Gemmie

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33 Comments

  • Reply Euphoric Ears June 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I think love letters are dope! I haven’t received one since high school. Can’t remember if I’ve ever written one, but like you…I have tons of letters from friends and boyfriends from 1996-2000 (high school years).

    *whips out book journal*

    Here are some of my favorite quotes/lines from this book City Of Glass. I believe one them was actually included in a love letter to the main character, Clary.

    “There is no pretending. I love you, an I will love you until I dide, and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then”

    “…Since I’ve met you, everything I’ve done has been in part because of you. I can’t untie myself from you, Clary-not my heart, my blod or my mind or any other part of me. And I don’t want to.”

    “…Since the first time I saw you, I have belonged to you completely.”

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      i knew you and me would be >>>here<< on love letters, La-di-da.

      do you really have a book journal??? if so, i LOVE IT!!! i should start one. i read so many things that make me *goon swoon* and i never think to write it down and save it.

      my fave of the ones you listed: “There is no pretending. I love you, an I will love you until I die, and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then”

  • Reply BP June 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Ok, so can I say this post is the bomb.com? And the fact that you quoted Janette? My little brother sent me that link and I promise you I cried like a baby the first time I watched it. I digress.

    I think that people don’t write love letters anymore not only because of modern technology but also because of our microwave society. We want things now.now.now. It takes ample amounts of time and conscientious effort to sit and actually express loving sentiments on paper. I too want a love letter Gem. I can remember the last time I wrote one. It was about 3 years ago and I poured my heart and soul out. Good times.

    Awesome Post!

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      1st–i LOVE the avi. get it girl!!

      Ok, so can I say this post is the bomb.com?
      LMBO!!! girrrrrrrl you know i love me some “dot com, dot org dot dot dot” a la Tamar 🙂

      i shed a few thug tears the first time i heard Janette recite that poem too. omg it was so beautiful and so real and so…. what i needed to hear. that it was ok to WAIT on God and the love of my life.

      you’re right about our instant gratification. we want things NOW and we want the easiest road to now. and hand writing just aint one of those things. which makes it even all the more special now.

      • Reply BP June 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm

        Thanks love! It was a vacation pic..

        I think I am going to go home and watch Janette on Youtube. Have I said how great of a post this is? I did…sorry. 😀

      • Reply gemmieboo June 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

        LOL you are too kind. im glad you liked it 🙂

  • Reply NY2VA June 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I still have the love letters my husband wrote me when we were dating. It was 1996, pre-cellphone days and we were really trying to keep the long distance phone bills down (it didn’t work, we talked every night anyway) so we tried to write each other as often as possible. Some of them were very sweet. Some of them were steamy and some of them were downright blue, but they were are special and wonderful. I keep those letters in a box in my nightstand and every once in a while I break one out and smile. He has a birthday coming up. Maybe I’ll write him one for old time sake. #doesmotivationdance

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      once again, you give me more reason to have a crush on you and your hubby’s love affair.

      i LOVE that you still have the letters he wrote you over a decade ago. that is so precious!! and i esp like the fact that there was a range of emotion and thought/feeling. it really speaks to the wholeness of the relationship.

      He has a birthday coming up. Maybe I’ll write him one for old time sake.
      GREAT idea!!!!

  • Reply The Heavy Weight Lover June 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Good Post! I use to write “like” letter to females telling them that I liked them but that usually ended up being my one-way ticket to the Friend Zone lol. I do remember once printing off the lyrics to a song and handing them to a females (now that I think about it that was somewhat awkard to do).

    To be honest, if I had someone to write a love letter to I would or even write a song about (only if she was my fiance or wife). There is something intimate about professing one’s desire and love on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil. It shows that the person took the time out of their day to actually do something that is seen as time consuming and old fashion.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      I use to write “like” letter to females telling them that I liked them but that usually ended up being my one-way ticket to the Friend Zone lol.
      lol this can be tricky. esp in the adolescent stage. because we (girls) can be very petty. and if we had no real interest in you from jump, a letter of unrequited “like” makes it easier for us to stash you in the friend zone.

      It shows that the person took the time out of their day to actually do something that is seen as time consuming and old fashion.
      agreed.

  • Reply tdlove June 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I’ve had letters written to me as an adult and unfortunately I didn’t pay as much attention to them as I should. One in particular I took for granted. ” could’ve been so beautiful…” But I messed it up!!!

    I wrote a letter to explain myself and make up for it, but it’s not the same.

    Lesson learned, if I ever am blessed to receive another one. I am laminating it and posting it on a wall forever!!

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      may i ask why you didnt pay much attention to the love letters when they were written to you?

      i think there is a time and place for everything. and that goes for love letters too. we arent always in the emotional place to receive expressions of love on any level–be they verbal or written. so i can understand that you may not have reciprocated the feelings that may have been expressed in those letters.

      thanks for sharing!

      • Reply tdlove June 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

        The first one (the one I regret not paying attention to) was from a NSBE friend. We were in our early twenties and would hang out at conferences. Well one particular conference he wanted to tell me something, but I was having such a good time with other people, that we never got a chance to spend time alone. So, he wrote me a letter and gave it to me and told me not to read it until I got back.

        Well I read it..and he basically declared that he had feelings and even thought I could be his future wife. Needless to say, I was incredulous. He was my buddy! I had no idea..he was also a very popular buddy amongst other girls and a jokester so I didn’t know if I could take him seriously.I was also in the middle of being courted by my boyfriend at the time. So, it was just bad timing.

        The second letter was by the boyfriend. He had given me an ultimatum thinking I would back down, but I didn’t. He wrote me a letter professing his love and wanting me back. Which I thought was sweet. I ended up carrying it around in my purse for a long time..but then one day I needed scratch paper and I wrote on the back of it. When he found out he was sooo mad! He got over it.. but I learned not to treat his writings so lightly in the future.

        5 years later we broke up. He ended our relationship by treating my feelings as lightly as I treated that letter. He wrote a devastating Dear John letter. I tore it up and through it in the trash.

        Letters DO mean a lot..even when you write hurtful things in them.

      • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

        wow. thanks for sharing. i can understand your hesitation in both circumstances.

        i had an instance once where i used a card given to me by an ex as scratch paper. it was on accident. but he was pissed. *shrug* i didnt mean it and i can see why he’d be upset. hell, if he did that to something i gave him, itd have been ww3.

  • Reply Amber June 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Agreed! Love letters are a lost art. There’s something about the written word that touches the heart (and the soul), which is why we write, isn’t it? LOL

    • Reply NY2VA June 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Your avi is what true love is really all about. BEAUTIFUL!

      • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

        yes!!!! its a precious picture 🙂

      • Reply Amber June 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

        Aww, thank you, both! I love my little Chocolate Chip!

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      absolutely!!!

  • Reply MadScientist7 June 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    hey just going to reiterate the twitter conversation we had. i think that love letters are cool. last one i wrote was in 2009. you’re right tho. i think that technology has slowly (or quickly) phased out [love] letters.

    also, let’s be honest if a guy were to write most women a hand written letter nowadays she would look at him like a gump. either that or women say they would love gestures such as this but when it happens they really don’t appreciate it. *shrug*

    *thinking about breaking out my good pens and stationary*

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      also, let’s be honest if a guy were to write most women a hand written letter nowadays she would look at him like a gump. either that or women say they would love gestures such as this but when it happens they really don’t appreciate it.

      i have to disagree. i think you can easily tell a person who is genuine about what they want and say they want. i dont know ANY of my girl friends (but i also realize i have a group of friends who are a cut above the rest, apparently) who would receive a love letter–from some one they knew or were dating–that wouldn’t appreciate it. in fact, i have a few girl friends who’s boo’s have written them letters or notes before and they loved it.

      are there women who are just unappreciative in general? yes. but i think the average women would at the very least appreciate a love letter. would she be head over heels gaga over it? maybe, maybe not. i think you have to really know the person you’re dealing with to make that assertion.

      • Reply tdlove June 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

        There is something to be said for a good love letter, but what about your actions. So you ‘say’ all these things but what are you actually doing?

        The thing about that first letter (re comment above) for me that kind of put me off was that it was just a letter. He didn’t act like a man who was ‘in love’ with me. He didn’t call me all the time, or write to me or make a special effort to visit.

        So yeah, it can mean a lot to take the time to write a letter, but you can’t just leave it at that and hope for the best. You have to follow – thru.

      • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm

        So yeah, it can mean a lot to take the time to write a letter, but you can’t just leave it at that and hope for the best. You have to follow – thru.

        tdlove, i completely agree!!! i wouldnt trade words for actions. id just like to have written words to complement the actions 🙂

  • Reply Racqs June 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Let me tell you that Janette is the TRUTH! She performed live at a Christian event at CMU this past winter, and “I will wait for you” was one of the poems/spoken word piece that she performed. I was holding my breath with each word because each one was so deep. To find a love like that, and the clutch, even if you NEVER find a love like that…. it’s just…. wow.

    I think I lost all belief in romance over the past several years of single-dom. My exboyfriend in college and I would exchange hand written letters and cards. It was nice not to just read the words he had to say (as you could in an email or text), but the fact that it was hand-written seemed to speak beyond the words with the simple way he stroke the pen with certain phrases. Like his fingers even loved to write that he loved me.

    I didn’t get too many love letters in middle and high school. I was the socially awkward, late bloomer who wrote millions of letters to her few and closest besties. I do miss writing and receiving them though. I might start snail mailing some of my close friends out of the blue.

    well done Gemmie!

    • Reply gemmieboo June 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      ah man i cant believe i missed her when she was here!!!!!!!! curses!!!!!! she’s got amazing talent.

      Like his fingers even loved to write that he loved me.
      awwww this made my heart flutter at the thought. a brotha who can write whats on his heart and his mind is truly something to behold…

      thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply pattycakes June 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I LOVE love letters. As a writer I treasure them more than words spoken and anything technology can deliver. I think it’s because I can read it over and over again, smile and blush.The last time I received a love letter was in college. I still write letters now, but they aren’t always received with the tenderness that they once were. I didn’t have to travel to the ends of the earth to get the ink, and yet it’s perceived that way.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

      As a writer I treasure them more than words spoken and anything technology can deliver.

      i think its the writer in me, also, that has given me such an appreciation for hand written letters.

  • Reply Sagey June 9, 2011 at 3:24 am

    I wish I was him…so adorable you are. Good luck on waiting for him. Wish you the best.

    • Reply gemmieboo June 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

      awww Sage you’re so sweet. thank you! 🙂

  • Reply fashionablytardy June 24, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Very well done…sure you got some love emails/facebook messages after this one. Hey, we gotta start somewhere!

    • Reply gemmieboo June 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

      thanks pookie. you were, afterall, the inspiration for this post. thanks for always posting FB statuses that make me go hmmmm.

      but did i really receive love emails/fb messages as a result? nope, not a one.

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