When you have something truly personal to express to someone close, why not send a form letter? Love Letters Ink, in Beverly Hills, Calif., offers a catalog of 95 letters covering everything from thanking bridesmaids ($14.95) to "changing relationships" ($20.95. "For both of us, I feel I must ask for some time apart. We have moved so quickly, so passionately, that I want to step back"). President Martine Greber estimates that two-thirds of her sales are form letters written in calligraphy, but she does higher-priced custom letters for people with something really special to say. How special? Most custom letters, she says, take her two to seven minutes to compose.

-- Martha E. Mangelsdorf