Columnist: “Love Me Tender, Love Me Dear, Text Me U R Mine”
BY JAMIE MILES
“Luv U,” that’s how text messages to my husband end. Then, I sign-off with a lowercase “j,” horrifying any English teacher reading this. Between texting, e-mailing and cell phones, we live in an age of palm-sized keypads and immediate connection. But in our frenetic, instant communication have we forgotten a permanent marker, a tangible record of the sappiest, most gut-wrenching, passionate, and silliest self-spilling of the heart onto a piece of paper. Have we lost the art of...the love letter?
In 1912, author Franz Kafka wrote to his would-be lover begging, “Write to me only once a week, so that your letter arrives on Sunday – for I cannot endure your daily letters, I am incapable of enduring them.” Incapable of enduring daily letters? What sensory overload would Kafka have experienced in the 21st century receiving constant Twitters from his gal in reply to the Twitter prompt, “What are you doing?”
Her Tweets (always 140 characters or less) could be, “Standing in line at Ingles deciding between US, In Touch, People or a King Size M&Ms.” Or “Straightening my closet shelves, as that won over pulling out my eyelashes one by one.”
But long ago, with nary a text or Tweet, her notes so affected Kafka that he wrote, “I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you.”
Instant messaging might be a convenient communication mode, and even a fun day-brightener, but for confessing undying love – with thought, emotion and permanence – consider another option.
Schedule a moment of quiet and peace far from the reaches of the Internet, iPhone, BlackBerry and cell. Turn off your thoughts and tune into memories of a time when a passionate visceral reaction to your mate made sleep impossible, rather than mortgage worries, pay cuts and parental demands.
Follow your thoughts, straining for a place beyond the everyday realities of frozen pizzas and frozen bank accounts. Once in the Land of Love, begin to write. The words, recollections and laughter will leap onto the paper. Don’t worry about perfection, concentrate on authenticity. Now for this document that hopes to stand the test of time, or at least not deleted 10 seconds after read, try to follow all proper capitalization, punctuation and grammar rules. (This mite b hrd.)
Resist the urge to spend $1.50 on a Valentine’s card or $69.50 on a hideous bandit-masked Teddy Bear-gram. Give your Valentine something to touch and hold forever. A paper scented by your very hand. A letter that can be read and felt over and over again.
Be brave in heart, bold with pen and be in love.
PUBLISHED IN THE FEBBRUARY 12, 2009 EDITION