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The Write Stuff for Love

Sandra Prior
Aug 26, 2008
For most of us, love letters are something we passed to each other at school, using our giggling friends as proxies. But chances are you have better memories of those notes, scrawled on paper torn from exercise books, than of your last email exchange with your current lover.

There's something magical about unfolding a carefully written message and seeing the handwriting of your beloved speak sweet nothings to you. You read and reread it a hundred times, trying to find hidden meanings and subtle hints of what he really felt when he wrote it. You keep these letters for years, long after you break up with the guy, treasuring the memory of him.

Conventional letters simply aren't the same as email. Email conveniently allows you to edit and rewrite what you've just penned, so you can tweak and perhaps censor thoughts before sending. This makes for clean copy but can cut out spontaneity and fire. With letters, editing is much more than a matter of hitting the delete key. You must either start the page afresh, or use Tipp-Ex or an eraser - or push on regardless, allowing yourself to shine through, occasional imperfections and all.

Perhaps most importantly, email doesn't have your unique and clearly identifiable handwriting. No matter what font you use, it's not from your own hand. And handwriting speaks volumes about your character and your state of mind when writing - hurried or contemplative, passionate or romantic. Electronic text can't compete.

Small wonder letters have long been seen as a special way of recording human memory. They often reveal things about the writer that he or she would never show in any other way. Fading letters from the hands of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or the emperor Napoleon are sold for fortunes today not only because of their historic or intellectual value but also because of the insight they provide into the personalities of these celebrated figures.

It's entirely understandable that emails and instant messages, with their ease, speed and sheer convenience, have overtaken the handwritten letter. Yet nothing can truly express the way you feel about someone better than a passionate love letter, written on scented paper and perhaps sealed with a lipstick kiss, and sent by snail mail to the love of your life.

In case you've forgotten how to do it, here are some pointers.

The Opening: Hook Him In

The fact that your lover is receiving a handwritten letter as opposed to an electronic missive should already make him sit up and take note. But to be extra sure that he does, the first few lines should hook his interest and draw him into reading the rest.

Always date the letter at the top. A reader automatically looks at when it was written, and it can tell him volumes - that you sat and penned it after a big fight, on the first night of a business trip to a foreign country, or the day the two of you met. Also include the return address to help him reply. Do not include a phone number or email address, however tempted - it will spoil everything.

The salutation you use is hugely important, because it establishes at once how you feel about him. It sets the tone and puts him in a particular frame of mind. 'My dearest...' shows that the reader is extremely important to you. If you have an established relationship you can also consider pet names unique to the two of you. Nothing makes your letter more personal or more private.

The first paragraph carries special weight. Chances are your man is already surprised and intrigued simply to be receiving a letter, but you really want to bowl him over. Whatever you do, don't start with 'How are you?' That hackneyed phrase has no place in self respecting adult communication. Your first paragraph should make him smile, not grunt, exciting him for what follows. Paint him a picture of when and where you are writing the letter, complete with cheeky details of what you're wearing.
About the Author
Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.
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