In her concise and entertaining book, For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing, Samara O’Shea tells us there is no formula for love letters. She then generously offers the following suggestions (and more) that can ease this otherwise often-daunting task:
- Get right to the point.
Start with one quick sentence (e.g., “There is something I simply must tell you.”)
- Bring on the adjectives.
If you first list some things you love about the recipient of your letter, you will have plenty of descriptive words to “wrap a few sentences around.”
- Disguise your letter.
If you’re shy about expressing your love, express your gratitude which will undoubtedly be well received.
- Ask questions.
O’Shea finds clever rhetorical questions an easy way to flatter your lover – or your mother. (Example: “Could you be any sweeter?”)
- Fake ’em out.
For instance a sentence that begins “You, for some reason, find it necessary to distract me from work…” can be followed by the complimentary “Thank you for doing that!” or simply “I love that about you.”
- Counteract the cliches.
Instead of “I love your smile,” try “Your smile is my favorite distraction…”
- Have fun.
No one is in trouble here; it’s all good.
Both your salutation and sign-off can be as creative as your imagination allows. “Dear Joe” can be just as nice as “To my dearest.” Similarly, “With love” might be equally as well received as “Dying to see you again.” It merely depends on to whom you are writing and what the two of you are like.
Many of us have written loving notes to our children, friends and parents. But Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and gifting an erotic letter to a sweetheart or spouse often sows the seeds of the most pleasant rewards. In For the Love of Letters, O’Shea provides a racy example of just such a letter. (Consider yourself forewarned here; I do mean racy.) Writing an erotic letter yourself is easier than you think when you follow O’Shea’s guidelines:
- Be specific. What do you want your lover to know? How do you feel about him or her, and what do you want to do about it?
- Appeal to all the five senses. Use words that convey pleasant sounds and smells. Entice your lover’s hunger with tasteful words, and make it look appealing. Explain how it feels…
- Sign off appropriately. O’Shea likes Restlessly, and Achingly or Aching to see you sound equally erotic. However, a simple Thinking of you always works if you just can’t cross that line.
- Only use email if you are recreating the previous day/night and want to send it immediately — but NEVER to a business email account!
O’Shea admits to “lean[ing] toward mixing sweet analogies with inappropriate ones (for example, “You are stately as a palm tree….and your breasts are like its clusters…” Song of Solomon) but advises that only you know what is appropriate for your lover. Maybe that means pornography, but maybe it means Keats or Browning — and you don’t want to get that wrong!
If all else fails, for a reasonable fee O’Shea will write a love letter – or any other kind – for you via her website, LetterLover.net. But I suggest first trying the tips in her book, For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing,which is full of wonderful anecdotes that are sure to get your creative juices jumping and which, incidentally, makes a nice Valentine’s Day gift itself.