Tyler Junior College class bringing back the lost art of the love letter

Published on Thursday, 13 February 2014 22:14 - Written by Faith Harper fharper@tylerpaper.com

In the digital age, the simplicity of a simple letter to a loved one has become a lost art.

Kathleen Tadasa, creative writing instructor of The labor of Love Letter course at Tyler Junior College’s west campus, said there is a place for all forms of social interaction including emails, texts, tweets and Facebook posts, but there is something special about the written word.

In the early 1990s, Mrs. Tadasa and her family lived in Indonesia for three years. She and her father made a point of write letters back and forth in addition to phone calls.

When the letters arrived were big days, and decades later they serve as a living reminder of her father.

“I think the one thing about the hand-written letter is seeing that handwriting …” she said. “It’s another aspect of the personality of the person who is writing.”

They also chronicle a place and time.

“Once people are gone from the Earth, they are gone but if you have letters you can look over it and you can remember what’s important and the happy times,” she said.

In homage of Valentine’s Day, Mrs. Tadasa gave a list of advice for those wishing to write their loved one a letter this holiday. The same advice can be found in the book “The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide for Connecting Through the Written Word,” published by Broadway Books:

Focus on the person’s strengths and good qualities, and pay attention to what is on the inside versus just physical beauty.

Write first about the two of you, next about your loved one and last about yourself.

It’s good to say “I feel this way toward you” rather than “you are.” Your loved one would like to know your feelings for them rather than a general statement on how wonderful that person is.

Be specific and be sincere.

Feel free to include personal jokes and references from the world that you share.

Get comfortable. The best letters come from the heart and can take time to fully express the desired message.

Beyond the words: Think about the stationary, weight of paper, pen type to make the letter perfect. Also consider things to put into the letter, such as mementos or dried flowers.