Words Worth Saying

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.  ~Phyllis Theroux

I am tired, Beloved,
of chafing my heart against
the want of you;
of squeezing it into little inkdrops,
And posting it.
~Amy Lowell, “The Letter”

(Chafing against the want of you… wow did I feel that one in my bones.)
Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.  ~Lord Byron

What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters.  You can’t reread a phone call.  ~Liz Carpenter

I’ve been told I write breathtaking love letters. I haven’t written love in words outside of one of my novels in a long time. To be honest, I haven’t even written it there. I write them in my mind, on my heart, sometimes I might even pen some of the words that come to mind into my morning pages, where perhaps I can release them and be free of my romantic heart for a day. Probably not, though. I’m beyond romantic… and I literally hemorrhage love.

I also love writing a good, mundane letter, here and there. Consequently, I’ve also been told that my letters were the most entertaining manner in which to read about nothing. I’d say being able to make nothing entertaining is a gift, and I believe it is a gift that can only truly be honed to its sharpest degree through writing letters.

Do you write letters? Or have emails truly taken the place of the pen and paper, of the sword and shield. Something about the notion of penning one’s most intimate confessions, most deeply felt expressions of love in a format that can be forgotten, obliterated, made obsolete by the simple hasty pressing of a delete button seems like a crime liken to the burning of Alexandria. Words should be precious, far more precious than a text, or an email. Words worth saying are worth saying whispered in the ear of the recipient in quiet moments stolen in a crowded room, or in the fade of evening when sleep is quickly descending, or in ink – black stain on the pulp of trees whose roots once tasted soil.

My ancestor, Thomas Valentine Sullivan, was a Catholic priest in Scotland. He fell in love with a woman. He sat down and wrote his resignation from the priesthood to the Pope – in his own blood.

I suppose I come by it honestly, wouldn’t you?


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