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“L” is for the letters you wrote to me…

With Kneehigh’s Tristan and Yseult right around the corner we thought we’d take a look at what loves ACTUALLY GOT TO DO WIT’ IT! Love takes many forms; over the next few blogs we’ll talk about a few and hope you will chime in with your own insights into that crazy little thing we call love.


Love letters? Sure, I’ve had a few.


My first “real” boyfriend came into my life when I was a freshman in high school and he was a senior. I felt like my life had finally begun. He was magic to me. Our short-lived relationship went from infatuation to love to smoking embers. We were teenagers, and so, this timeline falls in line with what I’ve heard most friends experienced at this age. When our love went cold and he kept me dangling I nearly went insane wondering what had happened. This was in 1995 when we didn’t have cellphones or Facebook to keep tabs on each other. If memory serves ” *69 ” wasn’t even a thing yet.


He explained why he was being distant in a note which he’d snuck into my coat pocket while I was onstage with my high school choir. He explained that he was better at expressing his feelings on paper, and that he just couldn’t commit to a serious relationship right now. He was questioning conventional “Boyfriend/girlfriend” setups, and whether he’d ever be able to assimilate to society’s constructs of romance. God, he was dreamy.


The following summer my friend’s little brother approached me with a folded up piece of paper, and asked me to wait to read it till I got home. It was a typed out declaration of love with a clip art frog in the corner because he knew I loved frogs. A funky font and every word painstakingly chosen; I imagined Andrew sitting at the family desktop typing this out, praying his sister wouldn’t find him out. It was one of the cutest and sweetest gifts I’ve ever gotten. It meant even more to me that he pushed himself to hand it to me, look me in the eye, and ask me to wait to read it. It must have taken every ounce of courage to do that. I’m sure he grew up to be a remarkable man.

clip art frog

My sophomore year of undergrad my boyfriend at the time threw me a big birthday/Halloween party, as my birthday falls just two days before. We dressed as a couple of power-walkers. His intended present to me was to read a declaration of love in front of all our friends. Two of my friends from home were up visiting and one of them wanted to leave the party early because someone had embarrassed her about her costume. I went with my friends back to my dorm room and left my party. My boyfriend called me and told me to turn on our college radio station. He read me the love letter over the radio.


A few years ago, only a few months after we started dating, my now fiancé went to Somaliland for four months to teach at a school there. We knew when he left that he’d only be gone for four months, but we also knew that we wouldn’t see each other during that time, except to Skype when the school’s Wi-Fi was working. I had the idea that we should keep journals for each other and exchange them when he got back so we wouldn’t miss out on all the little day-to-day things. It was the sweetest gift to sit next to him and read his words. The insights I got into his life at the school and how much he missed me and thought of me through his writing are immeasurable.
Why is it easier to say something on paper, on our Facebook status, on this blog than it is to say it out loud? The written word lasts so much longer, forever maybe, so why then it easier to commit our words to paper? Perhaps because it means more, maybe it proves something to commit feelings to writing.


Here are just a few links we found examining the power of lasting love, and the love letter.

Click here to read love letters from everyone from Henry VIII to Michael Jordan 

Click here to read ‘Lasting Love by the Letters” a New York Times article about how found love letters inspired the work of photographer Lauren Fleishman. 


Stay tuned for the next installment in our love examination series!

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