Writing for Love

applesIt’s that time again, that weird Valentine time when people buy chocolates in bulk and plant themselves helplessly in front of a wall of pre-written cards and heart-laden stuffed animals in search for that perfect—well, in search for a gift, at least. For many people (and often even for the most talented and veteran of writers, poets, and epistolarians), Valentine’s Day is largely a time of great stress and frustration, a time when they are uniquely made to face down that great foe: the Love Letter.

But never ye fear! There are many sources out there dedicated to inspiring and helping you to write a better, more creative (and more effective?) love letter.

Just check out these sources, and give the gift of heartfelt writing to yourself and your beloved. It’s never too late to pen something truly from the heart.

A Modern Guide to the Love Letter,” John Biguenet, The Atlantic

When it comes to the greatest love letters ever written, many like to credit those extraordinary intellects of the 12th century, Peter Abelard and his gifted pupil and lover, Heloise. The besotted pair, whose passionate trysts included making love in a corner of the refectory of the convent in which Heloise had been cloistered, were reduced to expressing their affection via written words after Abelard was castrated by Heloise’s enraged uncle…


Top 5 Rules for Writing Love Letters,” Hilary Mantel, Alain de Botton, and Jeanette Winterson, The Telegraph

Alain de Botton – writer and philosopher.

1 Don’t let desire turn into neediness. By all means suggest that life would be immeasurably enhanced by the possibility of capturing the attention of the beloved, but don’t suggest that this means one couldn’t survive without them. It’s a very fine line between…


How to Write a Love Letter,” Tom Chiarella, Esquire

A long time ago, when I was living in my favorite apartment behind a bamboo patch in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I wrote my first love letter. I can’t remember what I was feeling, but it was big and it felt real. It was a liquid hot afternoon, and I was sitting on my screened porch, enjoying my boredom, thinking that…


Johnny Cash’s Love Letter to Wife June Carter Named Most Romantic of All Time,” Stephen L. Betts, Rolling Stone

The idea of penning a love letter to one’s beloved may be outdated, thanks to e-cards, phone messages and texts, but a note from Johnny Cash to wife June Carter Cash may make the case for reviving the tradition. Proving he was not only a talented performer and songwriter, in 1994 Cash composed…


Straight from the Heart: The Beast Love Letters,” Alison Flood, The Guardian

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, life insurance company Beagle Street has polled 1,000 people to find the “greatest love letters ever written”. Their list – entirely composed, incidentally, of…


Poems for Valentines,” The Poetry Foundation


P.S. This might also be a good time to write a love letter (of sorts) to your Congressperson about keeping up the fight for marriage equality in the U.S. We’ve had some great successes, but there is still much work to be done.


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