06 August 2011

Letters of Admiration--A Tutorial

 Note: This is a piece I wrote some time ago, but I came across it today, and thought I ought to share it with my readers. As a disclaimer, however, though you might assume from the wisdom which pervades this tutorial that I have had a lot of experience in sending fraudulent love letters, let me assure you that I have only sent a letter from a "secret admirer" once. That was to my sister. Or maybe I've done it twice. I seem to remember a second occasion, but that may have been a dream.

Everyone has days when they are feeling wonderfully benevolent, and look upon all of their fellow human beings with a kindly eye. On one of these days you feel like giving of yourself to others; doing all those small things that bring smiles to the faces of your loved ones. I don’t mean simply washing the dinner dishes or brushing your teeth. I mean doing those extra things, those generous actions that no one expects.
Today, I would like to suggest to you a practical and efficient outlet for your benevolent feelings. Because, after all, though we may all feel that we want to bless others and bring joy into their lives, we may not know how to go about it. I now have the perfect suggestion: send your friends, family, or even strangers letters from a secret admirer! Such a letter would not fail to bring a smile to the face of even the crabbiest old man. For weeks after receiving a letter from a secret admirer, a staid, middle-aged woman would spontaneously giggle to herself, for no apparent reason. A letter from a secret admirer will be treasured for years….kept under the pillow…folded and refolded till it finally falls apart.
“Wait a minute!” you say, “Where am I supposed to find secret admirers for all these people?” Don’t be silly. There is no need for you to find an actual secret admirer for the people you want to cheer up. It is much easier, and infinitely more efficient, to compose and send the letter yourself. You see? Now you are getting the gist of my brilliant plan.
There are some technical aspects of sending secret admirer letters which cannot be overlooked. It is of utmost importance that the letters not be traced back to you, or else your benevolent plan may prove to be fatal to your relationship with the very one you wanted to bless. First of all, you must decide whether to mail the letter, or to deliver it in a less conventional manner, such as by tying it to a rock and hurling it through an open kitchen window. The postal system tends to be the most practical way to send anonymous love letters. However, the postmarks that are stamped on all letters could be a problem, because anyone who receives a letter from a secret admirer will immediately scrutinize the postmark to see if it provides any clues as to the identity of the sender. There is a possibility that you might be suspected of sending the letter if the one who received the letter associates you with the city stamped on the postmark. This problem can be overcome if you drive to a distant city and mail the letter from a post office there, but sometimes, this option is not very practical. Delivering the letter in other methods, such as by sticking the letter inside the front screen door, or dropping it into a woman’s purse can also be dangerous if you are not extremely careful to make sure that no one can observe you performing the action. If you opt to deliver your letter in this manner, perhaps because you do not have the forty-four cents for postage, I highly recommend wearing an impenetrable disguise, such as a Wookie suit.
Just as the method of delivering the letter requires much reflection and careful decision, you must also put much time and thought into the contents of your secret admirer letter. In such a letter, you should make sure that the wording of the letter is specific enough so that the intended recipient knows that it is truly meant for them, but not so specific that it reveals information which might point to you as the perpetrator. For example, it is a good idea to use their name in the letter, but, if you have a certain peculiar nickname that you always call them, it would not be wise to call them that in the letter. I need hardly say how important it is to disguise your handwriting well. If you are normally write neatly, now is your time to forget everything your second grade teacher ever taught you about penmanship. If your normal hand is barely readable, pick up your old primer and study the actual formation of letters till your handwriting resembles newsprint.
And what should you say in this love letter of yours? That, I will leave up to you. I have already noted that it is important to make it clear that the letter is for your intended recipient and none other. For the rest, I recommend using whatever creative skills you may possess, and everything you learned about composition from English 101. Phrases such as “I have long admired you from afar,” and “Let this expression of love be a secret between you and me forever,” and “because I know that my love for you was not meant to be, I leave now to bury myself in a monastery in the Alps” tend to go over well. If you struggle with being creative yourself, instead, you can simply copy a poem into the letter.  Shakespeare tends to work well, however, the poem needn’t even be about love, because the one reading the letter will themselves be able to read love and admiration into each line. In fact, I have even found Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” just as effect a passage for a letter from a secret admirer as any poetry of Shakespeare’s.
I hope that these hints will guide you as you try to turn your feelings of benevolence into practical expressions of care and concern for others.
Anonymous said...

It's every girls dream. To be admired. -Angel

Barefoot Hippie Girl said...

Great post. And kind of sneaky...
Thanks for linking up to flashback Friday.

No(dot dot)el said...

Wow, I'm not sure I could get away with something like this. I'm pretty sure that everyone I know would totally know it was me. I love this idea though. One February I decided to write a love letter to a different person every day of the month. It was really fun, but also quite challenging sometimes to find sincere, heartfelt words. This is a very fun idea though Rachel. I'm going to have to think about if I could actually pull it off. As always, thanks for linking up with FBF.