Saturday, February 14, 2009

Writing Love Letters

Valentine’s Day often comes and goes un-marked by some.

I had planned to cook an intimate meal for two, had worked out the menu, but then was informed that the rugby is on tonight and we have been invited to watch it with friends. My carefully planned meal has been replaced with something less romantic… ruby, beer and pizza!

I had been watching TV last night and one of the guest presenters was lamenting that people no longer write love letters. They text a message “Luv U babe” and press the send button! He read out some examples of proper letters – from Napoleon to Josephine – letters that were eloquent and something that the object of his love would put under a pillow and dream sweet dreams over!

I hadn’t forgotten to buy a card. I had it in my trolley at the supermarket. I just hadn’t picked up the envelope to go with it, and couldn’t face the search among the aisles to track the envelope down. Besides which, I had previously bought a box of cards for all occasions and I was sure that there would be one in there.

Aware that perhaps I was not putting enough thought and care into choosing a card that expressed all that I wanted it to say, I decided to take up the presenter’s challenge and write a love letter.

It’s not that I didn’t know where to begin – I am a writer, after all. I just wanted to see how others said you should begin. I googled “writing a love letter” and printed off the list of things to do.

The first item on the list was about the writing environment. The kitchen table over looking the pile of dishes from last night’s meal, with the local radio station blaring out a mixture of adverts and songs, was not ideal. I needed to be near a roaring fire, with romantic music playing in the background. We don’t have a roaring fire, although the romantic music was a possibility. I went out to the local pub. It was early enough in the morning to be selling morning coffees. There was a fire, but no music and I didn’t feel confident asking the man behind the bar if he could find some. I just settled myself down at a quiet table and got writing!

My corner of the room was pervaded by perfumed paper in a pastel shade of lilac. The card, quite a nice one I have to admit, was there, pink with hearts, with a pink envelope. And, of course, my list of what to include in the letter was close to hand.

I wonder what the bar man thought as he glanced over to my corner of the room. I would like to think that he wished that he had a wife or a girlfriend that sat in a quiet corner of a room and wrote a love letter on perfumed paper, instead of the quick text “Luv U babe.”

It is amazing that just the act of writing a letter makes you remember things, it makes you think about the person you are writing to, picture them in your head, imagine how they will react to your words. I say the words “I love you” and they are no lie, but when you write a love letter, you want to find words to explain how you love and why you love. You smile as you write.

“Luv U babe” gets translated into every aspect of life. What is convenient, what is instant, what is fuss free is how we love our lives and we forget to loiter. We do just enough, and occasionally go the extra mile, but we don’t live in excess or over the top. As I sat and wrote my letter, I invested time into something that wasn’t short and snappy, wedged into an already busy segment of the day. Some would say that I wasted a bit of time. It was an enjoyable waste, and from the look on my husband’s face after he read it, not a waste at all!

I think we all need to "waste" a little more time on most, if not all of, our relationships.

No comments: