From Kate's Writing Crate…
As a reader, I always love finding books that appeal to me. As a writer, I am twice as pleased when the authors also provide masterclasses within their books.
Masterclasses take place when performance artists and musicians work one-on-one with students. Writers don't generally have this option, but I have found some books to be masterclasses for characters, backstories, plots, settings, voice, and/or creativity.
Since it's the time of year to celebrate with family and friends and exchange gifts, why not use your writing talent as part of your presents this year? Pick a favorite cookbook and make delicious treats for loved ones. Then write each person a note. Make them smile, laugh, or even tear up. Capture fond memories and make future plans. Add a photo. Who wouldn't love to hear how much they mean to someone else?
I've always loved to read about or see love letters tied up with a ribbon and kept in a drawer. Often looked at and occasionally reread, what a lovely remembrance of a courtship. Most of us have saved a few cards or letters, but not many people write love letters any more. It's a real loss as we can say things in letters we cannot say in person. Why not revive the tradition?
A friend of mine found her recently widowed mother burning a stack of love letters she received from her husband over fifty years ago. Surprised, she asked her mother why she wouldn't want to keep them. Her mother said she knew them all by heart. She didn't know when she would pass away and they were too private for anyone else to read. What devoted and ardent thoughts he must have written to her—and how priceless for her to know not just that she was loved, but how deeply.
How to Write a Love Letter: Putting What's in Your Heart on Paper by Barrie Dolnick and Donald Baack can help you write some of your gifts. According to the flyleaf: "Love letters are largely a lost and forgotten art…Fan the flames of a fledgling romance, or tell your husband of forty years that you still adore him as much as you did the day you first married him. Words are sexy, romantic, and wondrous. Letters are legacies. Learn the art today, and improve your life."
Love letters are the perfect gift for writers to give! On page 2, the authors note: "No one can resist a love letter. Not a cool teenager, not a grumpy old geezer…Receiving a love letter and the thrill of reading it can spark one of those moments in your life that lingers forever in your memory, a warm secret."
Love letters and friendly, caring notes are wonderful gifts all on their own, but if you're looking for cookbook suggestions for the treat part, I suggest Tate's Bake Shop Baking for Friends: Over 120 Scrumptious Recipes from Southampton's Favorite Baker by Kathleen King and Tea with Bea: Recipes from Bea's of Bloomsbury by Bea Vo.
I love these cookbooks because every recipe starts with a personal note about the delectable concoction or the mention of family members and friends who love it. This makes me feel like friends are giving me treasured recipes, not just something to take a chance on. Especially because of these personal notes, the cookbooks themselves make great gifts, too.
Do you write notes to loved ones?