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Writing Passionate Love Letters

Writing love letters is one way to keep the fires of love burning.

Dear Self:

Passionate love letters are born out of separation. For the first five years of our relationship, my husband and I wrote passionate letters back and forth during our long distance love affair between the United States and Canada. As a writer, this arrangement truly turned me on. With any luck, someday our children will discover the cases and cases of letters stored away in our attic for the past four decades.

Letter writing is one of the many ways a couple can be romantic with one another. Sometimes it is simply easier to jot down our feelings without being distracted by looking at the person you are addressing. Receiving a passionate love letter, on the other hand, allows the reader to enter into the drama and emotions of the person who wrote it. Each love letter is different and expresses the emotions unique to the relationship between the lovers.

The idea of passionate love letters has been around for centuries, but as a literary form, it probably began during the Renaissance period, and can be seen as a way to keep the embers hot even when the two lovers are within close proximity to one another. Women of Victorian times wrote love letters as a way of intimately expressing themselves.

Sometimes lovers do not even have the opportunity to become intimate, and find their relationship revolves around letter writing. Such was the case with writer and Prophet, Kahlil Gibran, who had a 27-year long love letter affair with a schoolteacher. As well, Mark Twain, like me and my husband, wrote love letters to his soon-to-be-wife.

The purpose of the letter is to inform, instruct, entertain, amuse, explore psychological problems, keep in touch, and most important, a way to express love. With the birth of E-mail correspondence, there seems to be a resurgence of the age-old art of letter writing, but to me personally, there is nothing better than sitting down with a pen and paper and writing a letter.

The best way to start writing is to make believe the person is seated across from you. Sometimes having a photo in lieu of the person can also help. The challenge is how to begin and end a passionate love letter. The best way to start is to say exactly what you want and when you are finished, then stop. Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of letter writing is the opportunity to communicate exactly what’s on your mind to an audience of your choosing.

The most important goal of writing a passionate love letter is to be honest and sincere. What you write does not have to be fancy, literary, or poetic. You just need to write from your heart. Start by making a list of all the person’s qualities that you love. Share those qualities with your loved one. Like a good book or article, you want to get your lover’s attention right away, so your first sentence or paragraph should be captivating.

Some of my favorite love letters are those shared between Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller. There is an entire collection of their letters called, A Literate Passion. In one letter, Nin reminiscences about falling for Miller the very first time. “It seems to me that from the very first, when you opened the door and held out your hand, smiling, I was taken in, I was yours.

Here is a sampling of some famous first sentences from love letters written throughout history:

• “I will cover you with love when I next see you, with caresses, with ecstasy.” (Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet)

• “You have me completely in your power. I know and feel that if I am to write anything fine and noble in the future I shall do so only by listening to the doors of your heart.” (James Joyce to his wife)

• “Even when I am in bed my thoughts rush to you, my eternally beloved, now and then joyfully, then again sadly, waiting to know whether Fate will hear our prayer—To face life I must live altogether with you or never see you.” (Beethoven to the Immortal Beloved)

• “You have been wonderful, my Juliette, all through these dark and violet days. If I needed love, you brought it to me, bless you!” (Victor Hugo to Juliette Drouet)

• “Please, please don’t be so depressed—we’ll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever—and until we are, I am loving, loving every tiny minute of the day and night.” (Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald)

For more ideas, you might want to read love letters written by famous people to their lovers. There’s a great book called, Famous Love Letters by Ronald Tamplin (Ed.) and while it’s a coffee table book, it’s fun to flip through it for inspiration.

With gratitude, love and lust,


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