Love Letters: A Giveaway

Book CoverOnce upon a time, there was a book. Well, sort of. There was a book in a movie. Sex & The City was the movie in question and the book that wasn’t a book was used as a prop by Carrie, when she read aloud from Love Letters of Great Men.

Seems moviegoers went hunting for the book in bookstores, but there was no such thing. Not because great men didn’t write love letters, but because the book wasn’t real. But it is now. From Napoleon to Darwin to Beethoven, the passionate missives of some fascinating historical figures are now available for your musing and perusing. My favorite love letter, though, “I love you… I love you like guitars,” from John Lennon to his then-wife Cynthia, isn’t in there. But this letter from the collection is pretty damn fine:

Livy Darling,

Six years have gone by since I made my first great success in life and won you, and thirty years have passed since Providence made preparation for that happy success by sending you into the world… Let us look forward to the coming anniversaries, with their age and their gray hairs without fear and without depression, trusting and believing that the love we bear each other will be sufficient to make them blessed. So, with abounding affection for you and our babies, I hail this day that brings you the matronly grace and dignity of three decades!

Always Yours

S.L.C.”

S.L.C. – aka Mark Twain, to his wife, Olivia Langdon, on her thirtieth birthday

And hello, dear readers, I have five copies to give away! Would you like one? Sure you would – I think this book is adorable. Even if Carrie hadn’t used it in a film, I’d be curious about it. So, if you’d like a collection of manly heartfelt love letters of your own, leave a comment with your favorite love letter or romantic moment from your life, and I’ll select five winners to receive a copy. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the books. And to Mark Twain for totally warming the cockles of my heart. Or vice versa.

 

Wait, you want my love letter entry? Heh.

Back in college, before Hubby and I were officially an item, I met up with him at a New Year’s party during winter break of our freshman year. Hubby and I met in high school, and most of our mutual friends were at this party. I have no clear memory of writing a letter to him after that night, but at some point, I wrote a long, rambly, probably incoherent letter about how much I liked him and was attracted to him, and then, I mailed it. Seriously, this is not like me. I have no idea when I mailed it. But I did.

Surprise, surprise, Hubby wrote back. I received a printed out letter from him in Chicago (not handwritten; I’d never have been able to read it) when I returned back to school in South Carolina the following week. And while I don’t remember the specifics of the first paragraph, he admitted he really liked me too, he had always been attracted to me, but since we were 1000 miles apart, there wasn’t anything we could do about it anyway. Then came the memorable, romantic part, when he wrote:

“In other news, I’m going to change fonts. It’s really cold here. Today it was -40F with the wind chill. I almost froze my dick off.”

Ahh. Romance with Hubby. Nothing like it under the sun, or inside the wind chill.

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Sasha says:

    Here’s something I wrote for my boyfriend of eighteen months (we meet last last summer in a writers’ workshop). It’s actually more quote-heavy than actual writing, but hey, hehehe.

    Dearest, I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of these terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer, I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer. I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.
    – Virginia Woolf’s suicide note to her husband Leonard.

    (If I ever write a suicide note, I would like to use the word shan’t because it is so fucking quaint. No, keep your pants on, I won’t kill myself. At eighteen, and with the way I’ve led my life, a suicide would be quite anti-climactic. And no, it’s not that I won’t kill myself, simply because I think suicide is for sissies. Actually, I think there’s a peculiar kind of braveness to [insert preferred way of going here], and waiting for things to happen. I’m a girl who won’t ever get a tattoo because 1, the buzzing needle will have me peeing my pants, and 2, I will most probably say, in the middle of the process, Ah, joke lang, joke lang, promise! I don’t think I can do that with [insert preferred way of going here]. That’s just me.

    If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. If I had something to drink, or were more of a zombie than I am now, I would say: Oh, it happened, and it was you. You know that, don’t you? But since I’ve got most of the parts I need to function as someone posing as sane, my reaction to this particular line, is to quote Joan Silber, from her short story, “Ashes of Love,” a quote give or take a few gender reference replacements: “In bed I would feel a terrible mellowness in my heart. Whenever her head was resting on my chest or we were lying flat under the covers, holding hands, I would drift off to sleep and hear myself think, thank you for this.” Gets? Gets? Thank you.)

    *

    Now, gimme, gimme, gimme, please! :) Hehehe.

  2. 2
    LDH says:

    I haven’t found love yet myself, so I’m going to have to take one from literature. My favorite love letter is the one that Noah gives Allie when he first leaves her in “The Notebook”. It may be cliché to be both dazzled and moved by it by now, but some things become cliché because they’re so darn good.

    Here it is:
        “The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls
    are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be. Maybe we’ve lived a
    thousand lives before this one and in each of them we’ve found each other.
    And maybe each time,we’ve been forced apart for the same reasons. That means
    that this good-bye is both a good-bye for the past ten thousand years and a
    prelude to what will come.
          When I look at you, I see your beauty and grace and know they have grown
    stronger with every life you have lived. And I know I have spent every life
    before this one searching for you. Not someone like you, but you, for your
    soul and mine must always come together. And then, for a reason neither of
    us understands, we’ve been forced to say good-bye.
          I would love to tell you that everything will work out for us, and I
    promise to do all that I can to make sure it does. But if we never meet
    again and this is truly good-bye, I know we will see each other again in
    another life. We will find each other again, and maybe the stars will have
    changed, and we will not only love each other in that time, but for all the
    times we’ve had before.”

    I think that I was especially affected by this letter and the book as a whole because I read it the first summer that I volunteered in a nursing home. The book celebrates the fact that love isn’t just at first sight and that passion isn’t exclusively for the young. The most romantic story that I have also isn’t mine- it’s the story that I saw told by the residents where I was volunteering. Each day I would sit outside with them, and each day their husbands and wives would come and visit and sit beside them. Sometimes they’d talk, but more often they would simply sit together, holding hands, and spend the afternoon in the quiet joy of each other’s presence.

    (That’s what I want. I want someone who I can sit with when I’m 80 and have the whole world be right just because I’m holding his hand.)

  3. 3
    Helen says:

    My one and only handwritten love letter* came when I was fourteen. A guy at school I’d been friends with for awhile wrote me a letter and put it in my locker, professing his love and asking me out. At first I thought it was just notes from class or something, seeing it was written on your typical A4 lined refill paper, but then I realised. Could’ve knocked me over with a feather.

    We did date for a little while, but we split up. Amicably, and we’re still great mates. And I still have the letter.

    *I’ve had a few pretty sweet e-mails and texts, but this is the only one I ever got that was handwritten.

  4. 4
    Cyn says:

    This is kind of sad, and is making me remember my ill-spent youth wearing too much black and too much eyeliner, but the sweetest note that was ever given to me was from my boyfriend in my last year of high school/first year of college.  I was going away, and being your typical angsty teens, this was the end of the world for us.  So, my boyfriend made me a mix tape to take with me, and wrote something about each song and why it was on there.

    My favorite?  Six different ways, by the Cure.  His comment?  Our six different ways left him shaking.

    I need to see if I sill have that tape.  It’s nice to be able to remember that so much love and devotion was once aimed at me.

  5. 5
    Ijinx says:

    The most romantic deed of my life so far:

    BF’s mother got carted off to psychiatrist ward b/c of something serious, and I said:

    “We still can have kids, if you like.”

    I thought that was pretty romantic.

  6. 6
    Ros says:

    My life has been sadly lacking in love letters which is why I need to win this prize!  The nearest I’ve had was a note in the cover of a very beautiful edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins poems.  I can’t remember exactly what it said, but I do remember there was an apology for not having written it in sprung rhythm!

  7. 7

    My hubby wrote a poem for me which he read to me during our wedding ceremony – it brought me to tears (him too) it was so lovely and sweet. Alas, I don’t have the copy handy to share.

    My all time favorite love letter from literature though is from Persuasion by Jane Austen from Captain Wentworth to Anne:

    I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

    F. W.

    I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.

  8. 8
    Ros says:

    Also, I’m curious to know why Sasha thinks that “shan’t” is quaint?  It’s perfectly standard English and I don’t know what else you could say instead?

  9. 9
    Sasha says:

    Ros: Where I’m from, people throw tomatoes at you when you say things like, “I shan’t come with you, because you stink like a three-day-old carton of milk.” Come to think of it, I’ve never actually heard anyone use this in a conversation. Hm.

    Ah, to be or not to be…

  10. 10
    Nora Roberts says:

    After my mother died it was my job to go through all her stuff—including paperwork. A job, believe me, as my mother threw away nothing. NOTHING. But I found some treasures. My parents were married for 63 years before he died after a long illness. In her masses of papers I found notes and letters to her from my father, who traveled a lot with work—and was religious about writing her. The best, however, was a letter he’d written when they were courting. He wrote it while riding the street car in DC—he’d have been about 20. It’s full of his excitement about seeing her, and very sweet. The best part is the last line. “Sending you all the love I can with a three-penny stamp.”

    It’s my favorite thing I have of theirs.

  11. 11
    Keri Kaeding says:

    I have had my fill of bad, bad love letters (from boys who compared my eyes to emeralds and my hair to cornsilk.  And that was the good part). One even wrote out the entire Rime of the Ancient Mariner in longhand.  It took several missives to get the whole thing.

    So when my husband sent me a note using (and spelling) “chagrin” properly, I was lost.  17 years and 3 babies later, I find myself telling my 9 yo son, “Spell it correctly!  It’s important!”

    Captcha is “soon36.”  I wish.

  12. 12
    Joanne says:

    Well hell.
    Following Nora with a romance story?
    This day is gonna’ suck.

    Anyway, thirty-plus years ago I walked into a club with some girlfriends and saw this guy who later became the man I’m still married to.
    He had his back to me and he was wearing a black leather jacket and shades, his shoulders were wide and his waist was small… (okay, I was young and thought that was all that mattered)

    Later in the evening a note came to me written on a bar coaster:
    I saw you staring at me. You can’t have my new coat. You can have a drink with me. Will you?

  13. 13
    Sarah Frantz says:

    Jenyfer got mine, dammit.  “You pierce my soul; I am half-agony, half-hope.”  Sigh.

  14. 14
    krsylu says:

    My DH wrote a beautiful poem to me called “Someday” in which he described all the things we were then and would be, someday. I’m too lazy to go hunting for it now, but I will tell you that his spoken proposal touched the deepest, most selfish part of my soul.

    “I want to spend the rest of my life making you happy.”

    December 8 marks 18 years of our marriage. Ah. Life is good.

  15. 15
    S. W. Vaughn says:

    Ooh, love stories! I’m really gonna dig this comment thread.

    I can’t share my bestest love note evah, which I received from my husband while we were in high school. It’s because he drew it – he’s an artist, and he drew me a poem. Manga-style, even. :-)

    Quite a stretch from there to when he proposed a few years after we graduated. I was three months pregnant, we were already living together, and we’d just gotten back to our place after work and picking up a few groceries (we both worked at McDonalds at the time – hey, we were young and unskilled). It was raining, and we were sitting in the car re-tying the rope we’d rigged to the wipers because they didn’t work and had to be operated manually from inside. He turned to me and said:

    “So, we should probably get married or something.”

    Yeah, that’s my DH. One big softie. :-)

  16. 16
    Kathsan says:

    My most romantic moment?  A guy kissing the life out of me on my eighteenth birthday.  I only spoke English and he only spoke Spanish, but he still muttered “sorry” in between kisses for not getting around to it sooner.

    Not a love letter, but still pretty damn good for me.

  17. 17
    Lorelie says:

    Back in March, I was having a series of really bad days, mostly work related.  My husband, who’s in Iraq, sent me an email with the subject line “smile.”  It worked. It also made me sniffle a little at this part:

    10. You’re married to a man who is more in love with you then you are with yourself.

    And then, because he’s my goofball, we were back to smiling (and a little giggle, to be honest):

    And the number one, most important, above all others:
                My balls are cut so we can do the you know with out
    fear of getting knocked up ever ever ever again.

  18. 18
    tracykitn says:

    All my love letters from my hubby are in storage. *bleh* but we sign on the house today, and everything gets delivered on the 1st! I have to say, though, that all our letters date to the fourteen months he was in Iraq, and they definitely made our marriage stronger. A lot of marriages I know of disintegrated during deployment, but being confined to letters and brief phone calls (usually at 3 a.m. for me on the west coast) forced us to communicate in a meaningful way that we don’t really do when we’re interacting in person. When you’re not going to see someone’s response, you feel more free to say what’s really in your heart, and to open up about things you might be too embarrassed to say in person.

    So, while no one is happy about what’s going on in the Middle East, least of all the soldiers, I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know my husband better, and that I learned the depth and breadth of our love for each other, and I am deeply thankful that he came home safe and whole.

  19. 19
    thetechdiva says:

    My all time favorite love letter is one written by John Keats to Fanny Brawne.  The beginning of his letter just melts me..

    You fear, sometimes, I do not love you so much as you wish? My dear Girl I love you ever and ever and without reserve. The more I have known you the more have I lov’d. In every way – even my jealousies have been agonies of Love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you. I have vex’d you too much. But for Love! Can I help it? You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.

    In real life, my most romantic moment was on my 30th b’day, this year actually, I had a lousy day at work, no one had called and I was getting the feeling that I didn’t really exist.  It was one of those days where you just want to run home, crawl under covers and hide until forever.

    Well I got home and my boyfriend was waiting for me with flowers, and an enormous piece of chocolate mousse cake with one candle in it.  He kissed me and told me that it was still my day.  He totally made my day.

  20. 20
    Rae says:

    my husband isn’t the card or notes type of guy. Occasionally though, he’ll spring a doozy on me. The best one though had to be one night when I was coming home late from rehearsal and found a note on the counter. Most of it was filled with trivial things about the day – mostly cleaning which thrilled me a little, but it ended with “I made your favorite dinner, there’s some in the fridge waiting for you for a late dinner or lunch. I love you, miss you and can’t wait to snugggle with you.” He was already asleep in bed, but when I got there he woke up enough to hug me and sighed in his sleep.

  21. 21
    Patty H. says:

    After WWII, my father wanted to propose to my mother.  He found a small wooden box and his mother (a wonderful seamstress) lined it with blue satin then he filled it with 100 silver dollars.
    When my mother said ‘yes’ he gave her the box filled with money to buy a wedding dress.  She bought a wonderful dress that 58 years later has been worn my myself, another sister and a granddaughter.  All the marriages have lasted.

    Not a letter but the gesture meant a lot since neither of them had much money.

  22. 22
    Eunice says:

    Ahhh, I don’t have any love letters of my own… So I need a copy to temporarily fill the gap in my life until I do!

    My mother has this scrap book of letters and things from my parents’ first year together (met on April Fools’ Day, married in October the same year). And the thing that always struck me as sweet was she has the twig glued in the book with the note “The twig Johnny gave me for our first New Year’s Day together.” It seems like such a cute weird ‘I’m totally goofily in love with you. Here’s a twig.’ kinda thing to do. And I love the fact Mom used to call him Johnny.

  23. 23
    Tina C. says:

    I met my husband in high school.  He was 17, on the wrestling team, smart, sweet, and oh-so-pretty.  I was 14, going on 15, and absolutely determined that he was going to be mine.  I had quite limited success, since it mostly just scared the bejesus out of him to have me in such hot pursuit.  I did managed to get quite a few frantic, hot, longing kisses out of him in the magazine room of the library in the far too short moments between first and second bell before he put his foot down about us being “just friends”.  For the uninitiated, the first bell indicated that all of the classrooms and the library was now open & the second was about 10 minutes later and indicated that you had about 2 or so minutes to get in class and in your seat before you were officially “tardy”.  Frantic kisses was pretty much all we had time for.  Anyway, I was pretty upset about his stubborn refusal to see that I was perfect for him and didn’t speak to him for at least two weeks before I missed his company.  So I reopened communication and we really were the best of friends for about 25 or so years and there for each other through a couple of divorces and 6 kids. 

    Over the years, he’d dropped a few hints that he wished that things had turned out different between the two of us, but hey, who the hell takes the chance of screwing up a life-long friendship, right?  But we did end up single at the time and I agreed to see if we could work out as something more and it turned out to be the very best relationship I’ve ever had!  We began living together on August 8, 2004.  On our one year anniversary, he told me that he had a surprise for me.  I was blindfolded in the car as he drove across town.  We parked and he still made me wear that stupid blindfold as he guided me up stairs and into a building of some kind.  Some twists and turns later, he let me take it off.  We were in a tiny little room in our old high school, and yes, it was the magazine room where we shared our first kisses.  My first thought, Oh, that’s so sweet!  He wanted to bring me back here on our first anniversary to tell me that he loves me!  That’s so cool!.  Then he dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring…

    He said, “I wanted to bring you back here where we kissed for the very first time because I feel we’ve come full-circle.  I would be the happiest man in the world if you’d do me the honor of being my wife.”

    I cried.  It makes me teary now, just thinking about it.  Turned out that he’d called and arranged everything with the school so that we could go in.  (In fact, the Vice Principal that he spoke to was my English teach my senior year and she remembered us both.) 

    We celebrated our 2nd anniversary on August 1, 2008.  Oh, and after a total of 4.5 years, it’s still the absolute best relationship that I’ve ever had with anyone in my life.  God, I love that man.  *sigh*

  24. 24
    KCfla says:

    My favorite alas, was not to me. It’s not *technically* a love letter as such but…….

    My FIL died last month, and as is the case we had to go through all of his papers and such. (Nora- I understand completely!)

    Among them were some old Army forms (all the way back from WWII- he was stationed in London, UK.) that we at first thought were nothing important. Heck, he was a “Lifer”, there were a metric ton of them! Until one of them caught our eyes. It was a form that my late MIL ( she was Welsh) had to file in order to marry him.  The last part reads:

    Q. Why is this action deemed necessary?
    A. Because I love him to the depths of my soul.

    ***SIGH***

  25. 25
    Kelly says:

    Sadly, I have no real romantic moments from my life as yet to share, so I’ll share a couple family ones.  My parents are unromantic wretches, the both of them (not sure how they spawned me); fortunately my grandparents were better.

    Both my grandfathers passed away when I was too young to have heard their side of these stories, but I’d always encourage my grandmother’s to tell them.  On one side, my Nanny had just moved to Memphis from a small town in Mississippi and was working as a telephone switchboard operator.  One of the other girls there was dating a fireman, and he had a single friend he wanted to set up, so the girl asked my grandmother to come on a double date.  She agreed, and the story always ended with “And I never went on a date with anyone else after that.”

    When my other grandmother was about 14, her older sister was throwing a party in their parents house.  Grandma and one of her other sisters were hiding at the top of the stairs, watching the guests as they walked in the front door.  My grandfather walked in with his best friend, and happened to look up.  He saw my grandmother, then turned to his friend and said, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.”  He was right :o)

    I hope I have such romance in my life someday!

  26. 26
    Vicki says:

    True romantic moment: I memorized one of EBB’s Sonnets to the Portuguese, the one that starts “Go from me, yet I feel that I shall stand….” and said it to my lover as we parted forever, still loving but separated by circumstance. Still know the poem thirty years later. Still remember him.

    Untrue romantic moment, well, it really happened but…. (and this is why I truly need the book):  I was at a party in Marin when I was an intern, went with a couple guys from my medical school. I met this guy, he was so hot, dreamy brown eyes, curly hair falling over his forehead, tight butt in great jeans. We talked and flirted. Finally he said, let’s get out of here, I know this great bar around the corner.

    We went to the bar, he ordered white wine for both of us (it was that long ago), we sat at a barrel table topped by a candle that flickered romantically. He leaned across the table, took my hand, looked deep into my eyes. I was about ready to die, it was that romantic and he was that hot.

    He said: “So, you’re an intern at Mt. Zion?”

    I nodded as he ran his thumb across my knuckles.

    He said, “So, can you get me some Percocet?”

    Thank God we’d driven over in my car. I took my car keys out of my little purse and left.

    That’s why I need that book.

  27. 27

    I have some delightful letters from my husband when we were dating and hundreds of miles apart, but this time of year I remember a romantic gesture the most. 

    One Thanksgiving we were cash poor.  My husband worked on commission, and being an ant to my grasshopper, kept doing things like putting money into savings, investments and insurance first and then spending whatever was left.  So we weren’t poor poor that year, just cash poor.  So much so that I couldn’t afford to get shelled pecans from the store for Thanksgiving pies. 

    Knowing how much I liked pecan pie, my husband stopped at a roadside stand on the way back from a business trip to Tallahassee, bought a big ol’ bag of pecans, and shelled them all for me.

    Over the years I’ve gotten lovely gifts, and thanks to my prudent grasshopper we have a comfortable life even in these tough times.  But I’ve always treasured those pecans as the most romantic gift ever.

  28. 28
    theo says:

    My husband’s not a letter writing kind of guy. He’s a physical kind instead. He’s done so many sweet things over the years but one that really stands out for me is;

    We’d been dating for some time when my knee, beaten and abused in a bad accident with a bicycle and a rock, (don’t ask) finally quit working. In those days, knee replacements weren’t available so with extensive surgery, the surgeon rebuilt my knee and I was forced to wear a cast from hip to ankle for six weeks.

    My not-then-husband came every morning and helped me shower, get dressed and drove me to work. I worked in the offices above a warehouse with a long flight of stairs up and no elevator so every morning he carried me up those stairs, got me situated at my desk, filled my thermos from the coffee pot (thank the gods!) and went to work himself. We both worked 10 hour minimum days and he was usually exhausted at the end of his, but he still came back every night, carried me down the stairs, got me home, made me dinner and helped me ready for bed.

    We’ve been together 30 years now, and that still stands out to me. For me, it’s not always what you say, but what you do that is really romantic.

  29. 29
    Christina says:

    I think the most romantic thing I ever did was send my girlfriend flowers for our anniversary. No, no, it’s better than that! See, we have two real anniversary dates, the date that we randomly hooked up and then when we actually started dating, a month after that. We’ve agreed that when it comes to celebrating these things, we’d use the later date. So, on the earlier date, I had flowers delivered to her parents’ house (where she was at the time) with a note letting her know that I loved her more than monkeypants.

    Oh sure, that doesn’t sound romantic, but you don’t know how much I love the word monkeypants.

  30. 30
    LoriSusan says:

    My best and most favorite love letter came out of the blue when the dry erase board on the fridge one evening carried the note “Mollie Jo has the best mommy in the world.” She’s 7 and she’s my love story.

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