Archive for the ‘letters in an hour of need’ Category

More from DLO letter-writing workshop. Letter offering tips on living a good life. Again, a letter-writer of advanced skills writing to a person in an hour of needs. Parallels can be drawn with the DLO’s office to Sir Walter Really (see category ‘letters in an hour of need.’ )

Dear Schapelle,

I feel it might be appropriate to offer you some tips on living a good life from here on in. I know that this has been problematic for you in the past.

Firstly, I strongly recommend that you restrict yourself to speaking only the truth. It is simper this way as it’s much easier to remember than any invented version of it.

Secondly, it’s probably best to give up surfing – you never know when the temptation might arise to put something other than a board inside its cover.

Thirdly, and this may be quite difficult, consider changing your name and running away from your family. Perhaps think about Tasmania as that would also help you with my second tip of abandoning surfing.  You could become an environmentalist instead and still be in the limelight, just a touch more positive one.

Lastly, I imagine that should your request for clemency be granted, you stand to gain quite a bit in financial terms. The Australian public would undoubtably be impressed by your genuine remorse if you were to donate any profits to our drug rehabilitation program.

I wish you well in your pursuit of justice and in living a long but most importantly, a good life back home.

Yours sincerely,

Miss E___________


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One of the more poignant letters produced at the DLO’s workshop. The writer has many years of experience in the art and we think this is apparent form her sophisticated style. The letter appears to be a friend who has grown a little too fond of the bottle. Sadly, a very common thing in Australian society. The DLO believes something needs to be done. We would have made public statements to the effect if we were not worried about our funding sources being removed.  

Dear Miss _______,

I do hope this letter finds you well and that the winter hasn’t bought on your aches and pains as last year’s winter did.

Unfortunately I have heard from Mr George that you are, and may I be so blunt as to say, ‘hitting the bottle’ again. This disturbed me to the point of my nervous itch and you know how that distresses me.

Miss Abigail, it is with some regret that I was chosen to be the ‘letter-writer’, however, as I have been chosen I will not ‘mince words’ with you.

To live the good life one must give up the ‘demon drink’ and whilst I am at it, the profanities that Miss Brown heard you using have been a shock to us all, that also must be ceased immediately.

I do hope you take it upon yourself to begin immediately to mend your ways and lead a good life.

Yours sincerely,

Miss ______________

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When writing this letter, Miss Beeton turned to a classic manual on courtly love, eloquence and compliments.  She included a poem that was originally composed to an imprisoned Lady.  She intended it to cheer Sir Walter’s chilly heart, but now fears that it might be interpreted as emasculating. This, of course was not what she intended.  Learned readers, we leave it for you to judge.

To the right worshipful Sir Walter Really, our much esteemed colleague and friend,

I must confess that Miss Wagner and I were taken aback by your latest correspondence.  You painted such a pitiful picture of your circumstances, that I was momentarily at a loss for how to respond.

In my confusion, I turned to the writings of Edward Phillips, author of The Beau’s Academy, or the Modern and Genteel way of Wooing and Complementing after the most Courtly Manner, in which is drawn to Life the Deportment of most Accomplished Lovers, the Mode of their Courtly Entertainments, the charm of their Persuasive Language, in their Addresses, or more Secret Dispatches (1699).  Poor Edward does tend to waffle on a bit, but he helpfully includes the following verse, addressed to an imprisoned Lady, which seemed to be most suitable to your current predicament:

Look out bright eyes and clear the air

even in shadows you are fair

Caged beauty is like fire

that breaks out clear still and higher

Though the body be confin’d

and though Love a prisoner bound

Yet the beauty of your mind

neither check nor chain hath found

Look out nobly then and dare

Even the fetters that you wear.

Miss Wagner and I hope that these sentiments warm your prison cell and steady your exhausted hand.

Please do not despair, for whatever happens, Miss Wagner and I will remain your most faithful correspondants.

We would be happy to receive word from you, whether to reminisce on your past achievements, or to lighten the pain of your imprisonment.

We remain, as always,

Your faithful and devoted servants in correspondence

Ethel May Beeton

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My dear Miss Beeton,

I was sorry to see you distressed by your accountant’s suggestion that owning a property and earning a hefty salary are the most important things in life.

In my experience, apparent ‘commonsense’ can in fact be tyranny, that stifling oppression of the status quo.

In those sometimes interminable hours sorting mail together in the DLO, I’ve come to know you intimately. What’s right for your accountant is NOT right for Ethel May. How is it that you did not perceive this immediately, since you usually see so clearly, and judge so correctly?

A good life is about having something to love, something to do (that you enjoy) and something to look forward to. These principles are from a somewhat dubious self-help book, but they resonated with me.

You are lucky in that you have someone to love – dear old Ebenezer is just such a rock. I suspect, and think you will concur, that the real source of your discontent is that it is time for you to move on from the DLO.

Admittedly, we’ve had some good times here. Remember those wonderful, personal letters we used to pore over – love, compassion, envy, even hatred – the full gamut of human emotions right there, on the page? It was so enervating. These days, we only deal in cold, hard correspondence; bills, advertisements, requests for donations. Ultimately unsatisfying, and moreover, there’s often little to do. For women who were bought up by the rule that idle hands lead to idle work, it’s incredibly frustrating.

I think we must both find a job where our considerable talents and invaluable experience are both appreciated and amply rewarded.  Now we’ve turned our minds to it, let’s apply our efforts without delay. It is a challenge we are more than capable of meeting.

Here’s to us, Miss Beeton.

And I remain, as always, your affection friend, & c –

Miss Dolores Wagner

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