February 14, 2009

Love Letters

While browsing through a relationships forum, I stumbled upon a thread featuring an undelivered love letter written by the thread's author. One line in particular captivated me, and I quote: "You make me feel as if I were running on monster." I was impressed by the originality of the statement. Later, I began to wonder to myself, "Could it be possible to revisit the euphoric sensation of love by drinking a soda?" Then it hit me--this kid is a marketing genius! Or... am I the marketing genius? (Yes, I made the advertisement. It had to be done.) Either way, the event got me thinking about love letters.

Wouldn't it be fun if there were a website where people from around the world submitted images of their old, goofy love letters? I Googled the idea and discovered this book: Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See, a compilation by author Bill Shapiro. How does one go about collecting 150 love letters from complete strangers? Shapiro himself explains in this recent article that he just posted yesterday.

As for me, one of my best true stories involves the discovery of someone else's love letters. I once found a collection of notes that were hidden miles away from main roads beneath some bushes. How did I end up there? And why? Let's just say I was an adventurer. I made this discovery in the year of 1994. The letters revealed the lives of two lovers, barred from seeing each other by the girl's excessively strict parents. At some point, she disappears from the guy's life, as evidenced by an envelope he sent to her marked "no such person at this address".

To make the story short, I searched for these people for years, met the guy completely by coincidence in 1999 at a community college, and met the girl's sister, again by coincidence, in 2001 at a previous workplace. It's true! Her sister provided closure to the story: the girl had been shipped off to a girl's only private school. She later became a lesbian. At the time I'd met her sister in 2001, the girl was gravely ill and hospitalized. When she heard I'd found her notes, she laughed for the first time in months. As for the guy, I never told him I'd found his notes. I figured that he left them there so he could forget.

Another interesting love letter phenomenon I discovered while Googling is... you can pay for pre-written love letters. Oh! The deception! I can't help but wonder how many women are receiving these. And I get a big kick out of this, quoted from the site: "Become a charming romantic writer--with the push of a button." Well, hot damn! Did you know it was that easy? Ladies, beware!


  1. Wow! What a story! Life is interesting like that. :) I really loved this article.

    EEK! Learn from Cyrano! If the object of your desire loves you for something someone else did for you... she loves them, not you. :/

  2. What happened with Cyrano? That name sounds familiar. I'd like to hear the story!

  3. Cyrano de Bergerac is the French guy with a huge nose who helped his handsome friend, Christian, get the girl of his dreams, Roxanne, by feeding him poetry to woo her with.

    The lovely Roxanne was so enchanted with the magic words of Cyrano that she married Christian under the pretense of him being the true poet . . . Meanwhile, Cyrano himself had fallen in love with her, but out of respect for his friend (and fear that his hideous looks would prove too difficult for Roxanne to overcome) did nothing but continue the ruse. Unfortunately, Cyrano and Christian were sent to war shortly after the wedding! While on the battlefield, Christian had an epiphany, realizing that his wife actually loved Cyrano, who so caringly was sending her daily letters on his behalf so that she had hope driven from every carefully crafted word. I won't spoil the ending, though! There are many adaptations of the story of Cyrano; I've seen it on PBS done on stage, in French, and there are also variations of it available on Netflix ( http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Cyrano_de_Bergerac/60011695?trkid=222336&lnkctr=srchrd-sr&strkid=775433784_0_0 ). :)

  4. Great post! I love looking at other peoples love letters. They have such a life of their own to them. I just finished a great book of them, Dear Bob, Dear Betty , with two very sweet people during the depression. Worth the read.