Sincerely, Fondest, All My Love, and Other Sign-Offs

At the Paris Review, Sadie Stein talks about sign-offs and how she settled on “As ever.” She writes:

“Immediately, it seemed to me that rare thing, an all-purpose valediction: versatile, graceful, elliptical. If I was writing to a loved one, the sign-off implied my affection was going strong. If I hated someone, well, it didn’t rule that out, either. It could be cool or warm, friendly or formal. Or it could be literal: I was still Sadie Stein, and there was very little arguing with that.”

I might not be as charmed as Sadie by “as ever” but I can certainly relate to the importance of a sign-off. For more professional/formal correspondence, I tend to go with either “Thanks” or “Best,” which feel very safe. They keep a distance but express good feelings. Even more formal writing gets a “Sincerely.” Recently I’ve settled on “Cheers,” which feels friendly but isn’t too cutesy.

How do you end letters or emails? Do you feel a particular kinship with any sign-offs?

(image: Smithsonian Institution)

Don’t Worry, Be Fitzgerald

I didn’t know that the Fitzgeralds even had children, so I was very interested to see F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life suggestions for his daughter, Scottie. Apparently I need to start thinking more about my horsemanship (nonexistent) and worry less about growing up (I think that’s happened?) and insects in general (but they’re so creepy!). But I do like how he ends the letter:

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

Will endeavor to get along with people and make my body a useful instrument. Or at least live like a flapper. That works too, right?

(image: PBS/Time Life Pictures/Mansell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Going Postal

These days, we tend to follow our favorite writers pretty closely. You can read Shannon Hale’s blog, follow Judy Blume on Twitter, or watch John Green’s videos on Youtube. It’s exciting to be able to get little personal glimpses into the lives and personalities of authors.

Next up: letters from authors?

The Rumpus is starting a project called Letters in the Mail. Writers like Dave Eggers, Nick Flynn, Margaret Cho, and Tao Lin send subscribers a letter almost every week. I love getting mail (I’ve asked my husband not to throw out anything that looks like junk mail before I see it, just in case I want to read it), so I think this sounds pretty cool. Although I might have to study up on my non-YA reading to fully appreciate the project.

(via Book Riot)(photo by JR_Paris)

Love Advice from a Nobel Prize-Winning Author

A few years ago I read East of Eden and loved it. It was thrilling and engaging and touched on major emotional issues. So this letter from John Steinbeck to his son Thom about the nature of love warmed my heart. The whole letter is beautiful and touching, but here’s one part in particular I liked:

“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.”

Make sure to read the whole letter. I want to print it up and post it above my desk, it’s so lovely (the letter, not my desk). It’s from Steinbeck: a Life in Letters, which I am putting on my immediate to-read list. Usually I don’t delve into the private life of authors, but in this case I think I’ll make an exception.