Subverting the Love Letter

If you’re not familiar with Margaret Mead or her writing, you should check her out. This article on–Maria Popova’s fascinating, thought-provoking blog, just in case you needed more on the internet to impress you to disctraction–characterizes what she “wrote in a visionary 1933 letter that framed human sexuality as a matter of fluid attraction to temperaments, not a fixed attraction to genders” to introduce some of James Baldwin’s thoughts on sexuality and coming out. The concept of fluid attraction is brilliant, so let’s use it to make some good poetry with our prompt.


Natalie Goldberg writes a chapter “Every Monday” in Writing Down the Bones about our need to exercise the ability to cultivate relationships. She suggests writing for ten minutes beginning with the phrase “I am a friend of…” and only listing inanimate objects. She suggests the enrichment of focusing on how you get to your goal, on the relationships you develop in achieving (or not) your goals.

It seems easy in our society to focus on one “true” love relationship, but if you’re familiar with meditation, you’ve probably come across the concept of “loving kindness,” a type of acceptance of the interconnection of all things and a positive, loving attitude toward the universe. So, this week’s prompt is practice for stepping out of ourselves and into a more open, loving, connecting,  attitude toward the universe and a less rigid attitude toward the concept of love.


There are lots of emotional attachments that we might characterize as love. Choose someone of the same gender as you to whom you are close, and write a poem that shows your love for them. Do not use the word “love” in the poem. For extra credit, write it as if it were a love letter still without using the word “love.”