A love letter with Jon Monnard

Love can be whispered, proclaimed and shouted over the rooftops. But it can also be written.

Sadly, our digital world has brought love letters to the verge of extinction. However, the effort you need to put in to write it makes a love letter the most sincere way of expressing how much your loved one means to you. It also represents a unique opportunity to reflect on the ties that bind you together, reminisce on the moments you've shared, and reflect on what it is about your special someone that moves you, comforts you or brings you to life.

Put simply, a love letter is exciting to receive, enjoyable to read, and touching to look back on again and again. There’s no gift quite like it.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we asked Swiss writer and Caran d’Ache ambassador Jon Monnard to give us his advice on writing love letters.

We hope his words will inspire you to put your own feelings to paper.

Questions for Jon Monnard
  1. 1. Have you written a love letter yourself?

Yes, even though it’s much more rare to write “I love you” than to say it. A letter is a very strong symbol. For me it demonstrates the depth of your thoughts and your love for someone else.

  1. 2. What advice would you give people looking to write one?

Keep it simple and sincere, and don't be scared to express exactly what you feel. Don't worry about your style – you don't have to be a poet. I feel like these days people are always looking to be more and more original, to the extent that writing a love letter has become a unique act.

  1. 3. What do you think are the key ingredients for a good love letter?

It depends on your personality – everyone’s love is different. I think that the main thing is to be true to yourself and write what you believe in.

For example, I'm usually a stickler for spelling, but a few mistakes here and there are fine. It's a sign of spontaneity, it shows that you're thinking with your heart rather than your head. The same goes for the care put into writing. Crossings out, ink blots and so on speak to the indecisiveness, fastidiousness or endearing clumsiness that makes you who you are. I should say again, you aren't writing an essay, don’t try to make it absolutely pristine. If your love is sincere and true, your letter will make that very clear.

  1. 4. What's the best way to put your feelings into writing?
Don't force it. Speak with your own words, your feelings are enough. If you find it difficult to express how you feel, use metaphors, comparisons or pictures.

  1. 5. Which author(s) have inspired you the most in writing love letters or poems?

There are so many love letters written by so many artists. Personally, I’m most touched by Paul Eluard’s. Poets have this innate ability to express love and feelings with real clarity. I’d also mention René Char and Marguerite Duras. I really like the play Cyrano de Bergerac, as it’s a great example of expressing love in your own words. If you want a more recent poet, how about the rapper Nekfeu? I think he’s brilliant.

  1. 6. What do you use when writing love letters?

My handwriting is an absolute mess, so I'm always careful to choose the best writing tools I can. I have two ECRIDOR – a pen and a pencil. I always prefer to write in ink. It feels more candid, and more alive, making the letters stand out more. For me, ballpoint pens make me think of dry official forms and so I avoid them as much as possible, but if a ballpoint is the only thing to hand then it’ll do. After all, the words are always the most important thing.

  1. 7. What inspires you to write?

I think it's a need within us, one that comes unbidden. We need to share our words, express our feelings. You might suddenly feel the need in a café, in a library, in the train, during an evening out, or on the way back from work. It doesn't matter when or where – just write!

Don't force it. Speak with your own words, your feelings are enough.

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