Thursday, December 10, 2009

the truth or not the truth or maybe just part of the truth

Someone responded in a private email to my post of yesterday about what one should write on annual newsy letters accompanying Christmas cards. They said that people want to hear cheerful news at Christmas.

I am very exercised by this issue.

I want to hear how my friends and family are feeling about things, not just WHAT they are doing. A list of exploits and events is all very well, but surely it is not just a list of facts one wants, but how people respond to those events and how they feel about their exploits. That is what is interesting.

And what about the people receiving your news who are feeling low? Won't a superficial skimming over the events of the year, emphasising successes, all very sunny-side-up, won't that make them feel lonely in their unhappiness, and much, much worse? Does one really contact another person, if one censors out everything negative? Don't people want real, honest contact?


diane s said...

One could argue that if you wanted to make a real human connection, you wouldn't write or read an Xmas newsletter... (Sorry to be cyncial, but I find them almost uniformly shallow, and when one arrives, I know I've ceased to be good friends with that person, because a real friend would have had a real conversation with me instead.) xx

Sue Hepworth said...

Ah - I don't mean Xmas newsletters where everyone who receives them gets the same version. I meant the small letter you write on the back of the card, or the short handwritten one you slip inside. I completely agree - I abhor the copied newsletter that is sent to all and sundry.

diane s said...

Oh, I see... I have a general rule (have thought about this far too much) that it's OK to share sad news, but better to do so on a note slipped inside the card - my mum once got a card with a death announced on one side and 'Happy Christmas!' on the other, and it seemed incongruous (plus sometimes people come round and read your cards, so it can be a bit too personal). As I say, have thought about this far too much. The real point I guess is that it's hard to to find the right balance xx

Sue Hepworth said...

Maybe it's because we're both writers that we spend a lot of time cogitating about stuff like this - if writing is a big part of one's life, one is bound to think about the implications and "rules" of all types of writing, published or not, big or trivial. N'est-ce pas? (as Sally Howe would say.)