The well-written letter is a rare thing these days. Blame Outlook or the US Mail, but somewhere along the way, we lost touch with the simple pleasures of a pen rambling over paper.

For the rest of the week, our brothers-in-arms at UrbanDaddy Perks can hook you up with some handsome stationery from Terrapin—but we’re more concerned about the inspiration. To that end, we’ve put together three of our favorite letters of all time, and how you can follow in their footsteps.

The Mutual Appreciation
We’re thinking specifically of this one wherein Joe Strummer gushes on and on about how awesome Bruce Springsteen is. He’s right, of course, but even more than that it’s nice to devote a full page to talking about how much you like something. It could be anything—opera, bowling, turnips—as long as you mean it. Maybe someone you’ve worked with. Think of it as anti-snark, a recommendation strong enough to write down longhand. If it was good enough for Kubrick

The Letter of Complaint
Nearly all of Mark Twain’s letters qualify, but we’re thinking specifically of this one, which effectively squashed an interview piece in Ladies’ Home Journal just days before it went to print. A choice line: “You have nothing but a dead carcass left on your hands.” Needless to say, you get no points for subtlety here.

The Folksy Love Note
And finally, the old sentimental pick. Johnny Cash was famous for these, short, doting missives he’d leave for his wife at random times, apropos of nothing. (It could also be that, like our “just because” flowers, he had recently done something terribly, terribly wrong.) It’s gooey, to be sure, and one of the most private things you can write—but as long as it’s on paper, it’s easy to keep between the two of you.

Terrapin Stationers note cards are available now on UrbanDaddy Perks.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom