I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you, but I’m totally and completely infatuated with love letters. And poetry. And romance. However, all of that lovely stuff being said, I’m also a realist. (I like to think I’m half romantic and half realist) Basically all boundaries are broken with Anais Nin and Henry Miller. These two had an off and on again affair while she was in Paris (1931-1934ish) and THIS IS SORT OF WHERE HER WRITING BECOMES LEGIT TO THE WORLD.
What does this mean?
Well, I am so glad you asked! All these young, art-driven, passionate folk were broke beyond belief. I mean, writing and artists struggle to make good money today in the time of social media and a totally connected world. Imagine how hard this would all be in the 30s. Anyways, they, along with a few more friends, published erotic novels to earn money. And it works better than they thought.
“I want to do things so wild with you that I don’t know how to say them,” (Goodreads)
Or, I mean, maybe they knew this was a super great idea and were just like “yup, we rock.” Either way they were able to earn money through their writing (however, it’s a bit disputed as to whether Henry actually doing any writing) and while they were (maybe sort-of kinda) in love. Or at least having sex.
AND. They were writing super sweet and hella hot love letters to each other. There are books with the letters published now. I’ve yet to read them. I just wander around Pinterest until I find pretty words. This is how I found the love letters between these two folks.
It’s also how I found the love letters between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok. Over the thirty years of friendship and more than friendship between these two ground-breaking ladies, they exchanged more than 4,000 letters. I don’t know about you, but I think that is a whole heck of a bunch of words. Lorena was a reporter and didn’t do coverage of president’s wife, and didn’t until Eleanor. Still, that was after the world was beginning to see that she was so much more than First Lady.
“How good it was to hear your voice…. Jimmy was near & I couldn’t say “je t’aime et je t’adore” as I longed to do but always remember I am saying it & that I go to sleep thinking of you.” (NYBooks)
From there, Eleanor basically became besties with Lorena (cooking steaks, talking for hours, loads of gift-buying, the works) and from that BFF status, they became, well, something more. Like Anais and Henry’s relationship, life eventually happens and the love affair ended. However, the letters are still around.
I think written words are capable of keeping romance alive. Both of these cases lead me to think this even more true.
So, babes, you know of any good love letters from history? Please tell me there’s a box of letters written to Cleopatra SOMEWHERE. I think those would slay.