Saturday, May 23, 2015

Quoting Jane Austen



"Pray write to her if it be only a line." (Henry Crawford, Mansfield Park)

7.  Confucius says,  "When you are joyful, do not make promises; when you are angry, do not mail a letter." You are allowed to write that angry letter, but you should always cool down overnight and then destroy it. If you have already mailed the kind of words that can destroy a relationship, call the person and apologize ahead of time for flaming them; ask them to destroy the note or return it unread. (from The Art of the Handwritten Note.) 

Confucius is still wise. Have you ever written a letter in anger? I have. It took courage to write it, but I did; I mailed it the next day. The sun just showed itself! A reward for me telling on myself? Not likely, but it sure makes me feel good. Better. It makes me feel much better. I also feel better when I can freely express myself over issues I'm uncertain about. Like misunderstanding or misinterpreting something written in a letter. It happened frequently in Jane Austen novels. The issue was always resolved before The End. Not so in real life. Art often imitates life, but the reverse seldom applies just as often. A single angry letter begets an angry response, and then it's The End.    

How should I have handled things? No. How would you handle a misunderstanding if you'd been hurt by a sentence in a letter? Would you write the "angry letter," sleep on it, then destroy it? Should I have written to say I'd been hurt? Is writing an angry response ever the honest thing to do? Is "I'm sorry" or "You misunderstood what I wrote" ever enough? I am on the brink. Relationships within a family and friends are difficult enough, but I never imagined penships could be just as difficult, fragile, or painful. When in doubt, write it out, or be dishonest? Please don't say "ignore the slight/hurt" or "grow thicker skin." I think one should ask if they don't know or aren't sure. And who better to ask questions about condolences and hurt feelings than my letter-writing peers?

Thanks in advance. 

A single letter goes out on Monday. Three were returned. (sigh)

6 comments:

  1. Oh no returned letters are not good so sorry that has happened to you . a single letter cannot go out on Monday . it is memorial day no mail service my dear . Will have to wait till wed . Okay so you were asking what would I do ? I would just say Im sorry and it is that persons choice if they want to forgive or not . again my opinion .

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    1. I know. :( But that's life. :) Maybe I will publish a book titled, "Returned to Sender.

      I forgot! Thanks for the reminder but why must I wait till Wednesday?

      You make it sound so easy but aren't most of life's answers easy. We just make them hard? Thanks. :)

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    2. I meant to write Tuesday sorry

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    3. Oh, okay. I was worried. :) I tend to live by calendars.

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  2. If I was hurt by a sentence in a letter, I would definitely let the person know. I would want the person to clarify if I wasn't exactly sure. After all, we letter writers are all about communication so I believe it's our responsibility to communicate something that we are bothered by.

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    1. Lesson learned, I hope. Yes! We are all about communication so yes, it is our responsibility to communicate our true feelings. I had the courage to tell someone once that I did not think I was the pen pal for them. It's one of the bravest things I've done in in a letter. I was bothered for months because I kept imagining how I'd feel if someone felt that way about me, yet I now realize it was better to be honest than pretend (lie) and feel resentful.

      Thanks for your honesty.

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