Wednesday, November 5, 2008

looking for the "awww..." factor

From an article Ambeth Ocampo wrote in February 1992, titled 'Leap year and Love Letters':

"As we move out of this month associated with love, I was able to dig up the text of a typical adolescent love letter written at the turn of the century by students of Mary H. Fee, an American schoolteacher sent to Capiz to teach English and introduce the little brown brothers to apples, Washington, stars and stripes, and the American way. She often confiscated such letters from classroom Romeos. One such letter read:

I am do me the honor to write you these few unworthy lines to tell you why you are breaking the heart and destroying the good health of my friend Pedro. Always I am going to his house every night, and I am find him weeping for you. He is not eating for love of you. He cannot sleep because he is think about your eyes which are like the stars, and your hairs which are the most beautiful of all the girls in this town. Alas! my friend must die if you do not give him a hope. Everyday he is walking in front of your house, but you do not give to him one little word of love. Even you do not love him, you can stop his weep if you like to send him one letter, telling to him that you are not angry to him or to me, his friend."

I miss writing letters like that (the emotion involved, not the grammar). Enough of the business/ secretarial letters I've been writing the past months (and years, if we include my org work since high school); enough of the terse messages one gives and receives through SMS and e-mail. Reading about 'the past' makes me nostalgic for longhand writing and postage stamps, for something that can be kept folded underneath a jacket or between the pages of a book, that can be tucked underneath the pillow before going to sleep. Something that can be seen and read without the need for electricity. Something tangible that can dramatically be thrown away or burned, and not just clicked.

Who am I kidding? Nowadays it could be better to talk to someone through a small window on the screen than attempting to speak to a person an arm's length away. Could be easier to rip the plug off the wall than to write, with shaking hands, a short note. More practical, less time-consuming, less embarrassing, more face saved.

At the end of the day though, you wonder how he writes his name.

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