It's Valentine's Day, and gushy hearts and flowers are all up in our biz today. While I generally am a proponent of this holiday (because I looove me some Conversation Hearts!), I know I am not alone in rolling my eyes at the lack of sentiment behind this sort of forced holiday. Don't get me wrong - I think it's nice to set aside a day for boxes of chocolates and roses, I just think the prepackaged sentiment... lacks something.
So let's talk about love letters...
As I mentioned in my first Prompt, handwriting is such a beautifully unique aspect of a person - it shows off a part of you that may not be seen too often in a technology age. It takes more effort to write a letter than to send "Hey bb ILY." Effort is romantic, and a love letter is the perfect combination of deep, personal thought and true, honest effort.
This time-honored tradition has been around for centuries, from Ancient Egypt to Imperial China to that little love letter emoji on your phone. People have feelings, and they've expressed their heart eyes to their beloved pretty much since writing utensils were invented.
Daily Mail: Anguished love letter buried with 445-year-old mummy and written by the pregnant wife he left behind
Mental Floss: Dear Valentine: A Brief History of Great Love Letters
Fastco Design: 12 Hand-Written Love Letters from Famous People, from Henry VIII to Michael Jordan
BBC: A History of Britain Through Heartbreak and Lust
While well-known love letters between Scott and Zelda, Beethoven and his Immortal Beloved, Johhny and June, and the like may make it seem as such, you certainly don't need a significant other to send a love letter. Your siblings, your parents, your bestie... Anyone deserving of love deserves to know your feelings, don't you think? Heck, there's even a group organizing love letters to America (although I didn't seem to find a place to hand write one as part of this organization, I'm sure you could mail one to your senator!).
One of my very favorite examples of a non-romantic love letter is John Steinbeck's beautiful letter to his teenage son, who has fallen in love for the first time.
The Atlantic: John Steinbeck on Falling in Love: A 1958 Letter
Supportive, full of celebration of love, and useful advice. Simple as that.
Of course, you don't even have to address your letter to another person. A dear friend of the shop is a huge proponent of writing - and mailing! - letters to yourself.
So how exactly does one write a love letter? I'll not claim to be an expert, but I find the best way is to just keep it simple. Getting a letter in the mail is exciting in and of itself, so half the effort is appreciated just in sending it. After that, simple and honest expression of "I love you" or "I'm thinking about you" is all you need. Did you know they even make cards for that? ;)
Bonus: USPS releases Love stamps each year, so you can beef up the sentiment with your postage too!
If you need inspiration for creating lovely mail, check out a few of our favorite Instagram accounts, each experts in the art of letters.
Mail More Love
House Lars Built
#PencilPrompt of the month: Write a love letter. To yourself, to your beloved, to your mom, heck, even to your favorite inanimate object. In short, connect yourself more deeply to your love of someone or something by writing it down and sharing it.
These are the tools I'm currently using for my love letters:
Jabara Letter Writing Set (we even have a set in pink!)
Valgblyant Red Jumbo Pencil
Mini Heart Pencils
Heart Shaped Pencil