Valentine’s Day is this coming Sunday. You know, it’s that overly-commercialized time of year to give and receive chocolates and flowers and cards and jewelry and other cheesy, materialistic gifts that no one ever really needs or knows what to do with, but still kinda wants. If we’re all being truly honest with ourselves, we all want a Valentine, or to at least be seen and acknowledged by a loved one or a love interest, on this overly commercialized holiday. Yes—even as we roll our eyes and mock the drugstore shelves filled with fake cherry red candy and hot pink faux velvet boxes and plastic commodities.
Why? Because whether we like it or not, the very idea of love and affection is still “in the air” on this thrilling day for lovers and annoying day for coveters, every year. There is no way to avoid it. So, I say, why not use it to our creative writing advantage anyway, eh?
For Valentine’s Day this year, let’s write a letter of love, admiration, or solace to someone who needs to receive such a letter. Even if that “someone” is ourselves. Even if that “someone” is fictional.
There’s no right or wrong way to write this type of letter really. The only “rule,” I suppose, is that writers remain authentically honest and express their feelings and thoughts truthfully, just as they are. Otherwise, what’s the point? If it helps, there’s no need to send the finished letter to its intended recipient, immediately or ever, and the recipient can even be given a different name or be simply addressed by their initials.
Writing a letter like this isn’t as easy or kitschy as it seems at first glance, and will go far beyond “Roses are red. Violets are blue…” (although one could argue that that particular love poem or mantra is as well known as it is for a reason…). But only if writers aim to express their most authentic thoughts and emotions while writing, just as they experience them. After all, isn’t this ability what separates the kitsch from the profound and lasting. Doesn’t honesty and vulnerability in writing, especially that writing which often provokes discomfort or contemplation, resonate much deeper with all our senses? It’s not always about romance or romantic language either. We don’t have to be a hopeless romantic, in other words, to write letters like these.
To get started with this writing prompt, here are a few lists of notable letters I came across:
- brainpickings.org: The Letters of Greats: From Ernest Hemingway to Georgia O’Keeffe, a Glimpse of Famous Correspondence
- brainpickings.org: Maya Angelou’s Beautiful Letter to Her Younger Self
- Oprah.com: Celebrities’ Letters to Younger Selves
- Abrahamlincolnonline.org: Letter to Fanny McCullough
- theculturetrip.com The Most Beautiful Love Letters Of All Time
- Glamour: The Best Romantic Love Letters Ever Written
- electricliterature.com: 11 of the Best Love Letters in Literature, Both Fictional and Not
Write your own letter of love, admiration, or solace and share a link to it in the comments on this Friday’s post, when and where I’ll share my own completed writing prompt. Scroll down to subscribe to Daily Drafts & Dialogues posts to get more inspiration as you complete this writing prompt this week, or follow along on Facebook or Instagram.
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