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Heart Beat

Dear Reader, 

Oh, how tragically far apart we all are. 

May I suggest something that both celebrates and dampens the pain of the distance between us? Perhaps now is the time to revive the art of writing love letters.

In my opinion, you can write a love letter to anyone you care deeply about. Friends, family, significant others. If you miss someone, write them a love letter.  

Some tips and tricks for letter writing:

Write about the mundane, the everyday. For example: I’ll write to you about the cookies I baked yesterday that my little brother loved, how my kitten Theo loves to play in paper grocery bags and how I drank so many cups of tea yesterday that I couldn’t sleep last night for too much caffeine. 

Share your true feelings while you write. Say, “I’m feeling sad today.” We’re all grieving, in different ways, so feel free to share your emotions, even if they’re not positive. Honest thoughts will make your letter more sincere. Stream of consciousness writing about your thoughts at the moment can be interesting for your reader and cathartic for you. 

But along with your sorrows, share your hope. Tell your reader about what you hope for the future and what little brightness you can see at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps your sliver of optimism can offer a droplet of hope to your correspondent. 

Tell your friend or partner what you appreciate about them. Writing about what you love about a person reminds you of all of the good that is still in our world, and that there are people you care for that you will see again. And, your handwritten words will brighten your friend’s day as well, more profoundly than a text message could. 

Choose a quote to inspire your reader, such as this lovely inspiration by Jane Austen, which I take to heart when I write my letters: “I have now attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth.” 

Consider adding small material objects. A tea sachet, a small drawing or painting, a list of songs you love, doodles on the edges of the letter, friendship bracelets or washi tape and sticker covered envelopes. You may even wish to include a stamp or two so that your friend may respond, if they don’t have stamps. 

Walk to the post office. I find myself walking to the post office three days a week, at least. Wandering to the blue boxes in front of the post office to drop off letters gives me more satisfaction than simply placing them in the mail slot in my front door. Of course, if you live too far away from the post office or mailing from your house is easier or safer, that’s ok. The mail will get there anyhow. 

Let’s bring letter writing back in style. 

Sincerely, 

Madeline

 

everet2@stolaf.edu