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Archive for the ‘letters to women of talent’ Category

Another gem from Miss Wagner as part of the ‘lucky dip’ letter writing exercise at a DLO workshop. Miss Wagner selected a scenario about writing to someone who is about to make a bad choice. Miss Jolie seemed to fit into that category. Miss Wagner used a standard line in advice letters, which is useful for added diplomacy. See if you can pick it! Miss Jolie has not yet responded to Miss Wagner’s concerned epistle. She must be very busy indeed.

I’m not sure the marriage congratulations are quite appropriate. I think Miss Wagner is a bit behind the times, Ms Jolie and Mr Pitt wedded many years ago now.  

Dear Miss Jolie,

You do not know me – I don’t think, at least, but I am a very great fan of your work. My favourite movie of yours is Girl Interrupted.

I ask you to reconsider your decision to adopt your 7th child. You say in Womans Weekly (18/05/10) that you ‘are attracted to children who are already born.’  This may be so, and I can well understand it, but it does not follow that you will be able to give that child the care and attention it needs.

How is it that you did not perceive this immediately, since you usually see so clearly and judge so correctly?

But belated congratulations on your marriage to Mr Pitt.

Yours most respectfully,

Dolores Wagner (Miss)

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To my dear Ms Blanch

Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement.  Indeed, thank you for your attendance at our humble workshop.

I must confess, over the past few months in the Dead Letter Office, Miss Wagner and I have often been plagued by self-doubt.  We fretted that our presentation might appear ‘school-marmish’ or conceited, or even simply irrelevant.  While our research is naturally of deep interest to ourselves, we feared that our passions might only be of passing interest to others.

So, you can imagine the joy that we felt when our modest presentation met with your enthusiastic reception.  We are so thrilled that we could take your creative mind and obvious talent with words away from the gruelling task of washing the lacy tablecloths of others. 

Thank you so much for sharing your letters with us.  We will proudly present them in our upcoming edition of our letter-writing manual.

We remain, as always, your humble and faithful servants.

Sincerely Yours

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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