In the era of texting, facebook and email, a good love letter is hard to find. Being able to write down feelings and express undying love seems to be a dying art form and something deeper than, ‘I think you’re hot!’ is difficult to find in the language and culture of the millennial generation. But what about those great poets, those who penned some of the deepest and most heartbreaking letters of love that our world has experienced. What was their secret? How were they able to so effectively and beautifully describe their emotions to the objects of their affection? And how can we, the literary common folk, woo those we admire through the writing of a love letter? Here are a few tips from the greats!
1. Be Descriptive–Create a picture that describes how you feel. Use similes and metaphors (my heart is like a thousand stampeding elephants)
Example: Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1782: “should I draw you the picture of my heart it would be what I hope you would still love though it contained nothing new. The early possession you obtained there, and the absolute power you have obtained over it, leaves not the smallest space unoccupied.”
2. Use Nature–Draw on the person you admire’s visual senses. Consider this excerpt from Nathaniel Hawthorne: “You are a sort of sweet, simple, pathetic ballad, which Nature is singing, sometimes with tears, sometimes with smiles, and sometimes with intermingled smiles and tears.”
3. Only Use ‘Forever’ and ‘Everything’ If You Really Mean It–Nothing taste more bitter than promised eternal love when the relationship has ended. Be honest and don’t overcommit. Honesty is better than flowerly words with no meaning. Elizabeth Barrett Browning gave herself completely to her husband and poet, Rober Browning when she said, “You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me – my heart was full when you came here today. Henceforward I am yours for everything….”
4. Remember That Words Are Music To One’s Ears–Words are meant to be crafted and performed, especially poetry. Pay attention to rhythm and meter. Consider that even Mozart wrote love letters to his wife Constanze, “An astonishing number of kisses are flying about — The deuce!– I see a whole crowd of them! Ha! Ha!…I have just caught three– They are delicious!–”
So here are a few tips to get you started. Keep in mind as well, that any letter given to anyone about how they feel, is meaningful if it is written with love and with kindness.
letter excerpts taken from The Romantic.