Monday 19 February 2018

An ode to the humble text of love

Neither length nor manner of delivery is important when it comes to imparting love, says Jody Corcoran, who makes the earth move by SMS

Risque: Lawrence Olivier sent ardent letters - declaring his love and lust - to Vivien Leigh during their courtship
Risque: Lawrence Olivier sent ardent letters - declaring his love and lust - to Vivien Leigh during their courtship
Jody Corcoran

Jody Corcoran

The death of the love letter is being mourned, as rightly the moment should be marked, but all is not lost, for there is and will always be the more humble - but no less expressive - love text.

Every woman will have either a love text saved to her phone, or etched in her heart, probably both and several, which can never be deleted, certainly not from her heart, and only from her phone when she finds another lover whom she may discover to be the jealous kind.

If she does not, then it is her fault and not the fault of the man; because every man, at one stage or another, or on several occasions, has sent a love text to a woman he has truly loved at a moment in time.

The writer opposite has dismissed the value of a love text -"RU up for it?" - with her emphasis on the brevity of the genre, the crudeness of an expressed intent, but she is wrong to be so dismissive, or else she has not met the right man yet.

For the art of love in the written word can never be lost, not with the demise of the love letter, but will survive, indeed thrive, through the love text and, in due course, through whatever new medium may evolve.

They are not dissimilar, but the love text is, it could be argued, of even greater value because, although there is eroticism in the anticipation of such a letter, a text is sent and received in the distilled moment of a shared intensity.

You can be sitting in the morning sunshine, without a care in the world, and you can send a woman a text message, and as she stretches out in her own moment, a moment you expect her to be in, or close to, the immediate power of a love text can be far greater than the anticipation of a letter.

That's not to relegate the vast rupture of pen on paper, such as those love letters apparently so casually erupted by, say, Dylan Thomas or DH Lawrence, or, it must be said, by Richard Burton.

There is, of course, nothing casual about a love letter or a love text. Some of the greatest prose ever written is in love letters, and also, time will tell, the love text.

To be elevated to the art form they deserve to be, a love text should never contain wasted emotion or wanton fakery, but be true to the precise feeling of the moment. Authenticity is everything.

Sitting in the morning sun, with your coffee, you should tell the woman how you feel about her as she awakes, unfurling in her bed.

The text should be written quickly, predictively, but correcting as it goes along. The phone should be set down, and you should think for a moment, then read again, making changes, adding or more often taking away to make more integral that which may otherwise be lost.

A love text should never be sent in the shorthand parlance of the medium - I luv u - and should never be misspelt in the longhand, but delivered as a carefully crafted masterpiece in its own right.

It seems almost too obvious to say that no smiley faces or emojis of any kind should be included - nothing to detract from the intended meaning of the words.

What is notable from both the relatively unsuccessful love letters of Lawrence Oliver, and the pure artistry of Richard Burton's, is that both are drawn to smell, as every love letter should be.

Similarly, a love text should only be sent when you still have the fragrance of the woman about you, the memory of a moment still alive, or reawakened.

A love text should never be sent when you know the woman will not be in the mood to receive it, which is where most men tend to go wrong. A love text is never about the sender, always about the receiver.

Regardless, the receiver will be appreciative, of course, even if she is hassled about her day; but the purpose of a love text is not to make a woman feel appreciative, but to move her to understand that she is no ordinary woman, but a woman who has honoured you, even for a moment, with a glimpse of the gift of her erotic love.

Sunday Independent

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