Last weekend I organized a drawer in my bureau that I’ve been using as a memory dump for many years now. Special finds include identification cards from 6 years of schooling, ticket stubs from every high school dance, and a sealed, unused condom, expired in 2002, which I think must have been from the first package I ever bought.
But the artifacts I was most excited to uncover were bundles of love letters. The first I ever received was written by my kindergarten-sweetheart after I moved from Mississippi to Massachusetts. The envelope is bordered in tiny hand drawn red hearts and they replace the dots on each “i”. The last batch was written to me at a writing residency where in order to encourage artistic isolation, the proprietors did not provide internet or phone access.
Every few years for the last 20 years some philosopher, writer, or technophile feels the need to proclaim that print media is dead and will soon be supplanted by digital media. Print media endures because people enjoy books not just as ideas, but as objects. Someday convenience and price may put an end to the print era; however, I hope we never reach the same point with love letters. Love and writing
love letters should never be matters of convenience. The extra effort helps makes love letters special.
But even if a lover were also a digital designer and took the time to craft a compelling digital billet-doux, it still wouldn’t compare. You can’t touch an e-mail knowing that your lover touched it. An e-mail will never be S.W.A.K. (sealed with a kiss). An e-mail cannot carry the scent of your lover. And on the darker side, if a lover spurns or betrays you, you can delete the e-mail, but that’s a cold and empty gesture, whereas burning a stack of love letters can be
extremely satisfying and at least pays suitable tribute to the passion the relationship inspired.
Check out more opinions and discussion of love letters in today's Phreelance Writers Forum.