And there are people like you

The letter request:

I’d like a letter to my ex in-laws. I have three lovely daughters to my ex husband, divorced in 1998. My daughters don’t have contact with their father and the grandparents never wanted contact with the girls. I don’t understand why grandparents would want to miss out on their grandchildren and now great grandchildren. I have a terminal illness. I want to let the grandparents of my daughters know they have missed out on such joy with their granddaughters who are not hard to like. This is for me not my girls as they do not want contact.

The letter:

To my daughters’ grandparents,

Few things highlight how different humans can be as much as our hobbies: the way one person chooses to spend their precious spare time can be unfathomable to someone else.

For example, there are those who race modified lawn mowers. They spend their weekends hurtling over hilly tracks in a pimped-up ride-on. And then there are those who got whiplash in a dodgem car as a child and have been the indoor type ever since. Continue reading “And there are people like you”

Play tennis in the dark

The letter request:

We’d love you to craft a response to a complaint letter that a neighbour dropped around to everyone in our neighbourhood – about some new tennis court lights at the courts behind our houses. It’s really not a big deal. It’s a small tennis club run by volunteers. They’re running lessons at night and we reckon that ‘taking action’ and a petition is a little OTT. What we’d LOVE is a letter we could print and pop in everyone’s letterbox, just like he did. And the message is: Hey we’re all rich people living in one of the richest suburbs in Melbourne and we can probably take a deep breath and enjoy a bit of sports going on behind our houses. They also complain about the orange en-tout-cas dust from the courts.

 

The letter:

Dear neighbours,

We are hand delivering this to properties near the local tennis club. Like you, we received last week’s letter from our concerned neighbour and are truly excited by their initiative towards collective action. When groups of people come together amazing things can happen.

We recently heard from a friend of a friend in Toronto. Her neighbourhood has come together to sponsor a Syrian family to be resettled in Canada. A group of them chipped in what they could to reach $27K and – voila! – a Syrian family is on its way to having a positive, supported start in a new country.

Continue reading “Play tennis in the dark”

This is what I wish for you

The letter request:

I’d like a letter from myself to myself. Approaching 50 as I am, you need to accept that some aspects of your life are never as you would have imagined. The realisation; that some people live a life alone, not necessarily lonely.

The letter:

Dear Jenny

Some people live a life alone without being lonely: we all have different needs when it comes to companionship. Some people live a season of their life alone after many seasons surrounded by others. Some people have hundreds of friends but no one they’d tell their deepest worries to. Some people tell everyone their thoughts and secrets. Some people have one close friend and that is all they need. Some people have a cat. Some people connect with others with the ease of a magnet clicking onto a fridge. Some people find it harder to connect, like a lock and key that require a lot of jiggling. Some people find the jiggling gets easier after a while. Some people find it gets harder but they do it anyway. Some people use all the braveness they can muster and find connections in unexpected places.

Some people use their creativity to build sculptures out of clay or cardboard or metal or sand. Some people show their creativity in the garden or the kitchen. Some people show creativity in the way they dress or the way the speak or the way they connect with children. Some people do the important work of setting children on a path of creativity. Some people stop creating when they become adults or busy or tired or sad or even happy. Some people start creating when they become adults or busy or tired or sad or even happy.

Some people say that the deeper a wound the deeper the capacity for healing. Some people, who haven’t experienced much adversity, falter at the slightest hiccup whereas some people who’ve known deep heartbreak soar onwards seeing joy that others are missing. Some people find that life continues to get better and better with every passing year.

This is what I wish for you.

With love and care,

Jenny

I don’t do these things with people who are not my friends

The letter request:

My ex husband just sent me a request to connect on LinkedIn. We divorced nearly two decades ago when he ran off with someone else and we’ve had zero contact since then. He did attempt contact once before but I told him then that I had no interest in being pen-pals of any kind. 

 

The letter:

Dear John

The brain is a precious organ that must be treated with the utmost care. Many things can cause it harm, including car accidents, infections and too much partying.

At one end of the spectrum, this type of damage can lead to death. At the other end, it might cause hallucinations and a belief in different planes of reality. You know, like Xenu or the cabbage soup diet or President Donald Trump.

In my plane of reality, I have friends and colleagues who mean a lot to me. We email, follow each other’s lives and careers on social media and catch up in person for hijinks, hilarity and heart-to-hearts. In my plane of reality, I don’t do these things with people who are not my friends. Which brings me to you.

Continue reading “I don’t do these things with people who are not my friends”

Macramé string starts to fall from the trees

The letter request:

My boyfriend’s housemate is only nice to me if she wants something. In the 18 months I’ve known her she’s been nice twice. I’m currently working in Colombia and she sent me a lengthy message (first in four months since I’ve been away) kissing my ass and asking me to bring her macramé string because it’s cheaper in South America.

 

The letter:

Dear Maddy,

While I’m not personally one for mysticism, there are many people who claim that they can see into the future. There’s that old guy at the Sunday market who reads palms behind a curtain of red velour; that friend from school who, after a few wines, invariably pulls out a deck of Aleister Crowley tarot cards; phone lines where a mere $18.99 will score you half an hour of banter with a ‘qualified’ psychic and, if all else fails, there are horoscopes in every newspaper ever printed. You must be kicking yourself now. Why didn’t you think of this abundance of clairvoyance at your fingertips?

Continue reading “Macramé string starts to fall from the trees”

How did you decide who got to keep me?

The  letter request:

Good friends of mine, Matt and Elena, split up last year and while I thought I was equally friends with both of them, only Matt has stayed in contact with me.  I’ve tried to reach out to Elena but she seems to be avoiding me. I feel like they’ve decided amongst themselves who gets to keep me as a friend but the thing is, if I only get to be friends with one of them, I’d actually prefer Elena.

 

The letter: 

Dear Matt and Elena,

Let’s start by saying that I know you are no longer ‘Matt and Elena.’ It’s for simplicity (and transparency) that I address you both in the same letter. You know that biblical passage that people read at weddings: Love is patient and kind…Love never fails…? It’s a wish that gets stated as a truism. The reality is that sometimes love is an arsehole and fairly often it fails us dismally. I don’t need to tell you guys that.

It’s absolutely none of my business how the divorce proceedings panned out. I will never enquire about how you guys decided who kept the house, or who got the kids when or, perhaps most poignantly, who got to keep that super comfy couch.

What I am interested in is how your friends were divvied up. Specifically, how did you decide who got to keep me? I’ll tell you how things look from the outside: it appears that, like the dog, I’m staying with Matt. It appears that the decision has been made that Elena and I are no longer friends.

Continue reading “How did you decide who got to keep me?”

Too busy reading medical journals to care about fashion

The letter request:

I had a perplexing visit to an emergency department that was clearly ill equipped to deal with anything slightly resembling an emergency. 

 

The letter:

Dear Department of Health,

When I was growing up, our family GP wore brown slacks and a buttoned-up checkered shirt. My current GP favours lady slacks and pastel jumpers with floral embroidery. When I recently told a friend that my doctor was in her 70s, my boyfriend interrupted to say that she was actually around 50. Imagine that! Her clothes are so serious that I misjudged her age by two decades. Whether consciously or not, these professionals are projecting to the world: ‘I’m WAY TOO BUSY reading medical journals and boning up on rare conditions to care about fashion.’ As a result, I feel safe in their care.

Continue reading “Too busy reading medical journals to care about fashion”

Yo, Goldilocks

The letter request:

It’s been a month since I asked my whacky housemate to move out yet he seems to still be here. We are carrying on as though the conversation never happened. I need a letter to give to him as a gentle reminder that our house sharing relationship is over. 

 

The letter:

Dear Brad,

Something funny has been happening around my house lately. I go into the bathroom and the shower is all wet. I say to myself, ‘Someone’s been showering in my bathroom.’ I go into the spare room and find the spare bed disheveled and unmade. I say to myself, ‘Someone’s been sleeping in my spare room.’ I go into the kitchen and I see someone cooking dinner. I say to myself, ‘Someone is making Pasta Arrabiata in my kitchen… after I asked him to move out.’

Continue reading “Yo, Goldilocks”

Situation: Anarchy

The letter request:

I need your assistance. I bought a lovely watch from David Jones for my gorgeous sister. She has small wrists so needed to get it adjusted. She went back to DJs but was told they don’t provide this free service anymore… It seems that they’ve taken a leaf out of the budget airlines school of Customer Service offerings with optional extras like a watch that fits your wrist fitting this category…

 

The letter:

Dear David Jones,

Thank heavens you’re not in law enforcement. Here’s what might happen if you were: you’d arrest a perp, slap a pair of cuffs on them, the perp’s wrists would be slightly on the dainty side, the cuffs would slip off, the perp would escape, you’d shrug your shoulders and walk away. Situation: Anarchy.

Continue reading “Situation: Anarchy”

Sex is a game for two. Sometimes three or more.

The letter request:

I’m looking for work and saw my dream job advertised but I noted applications had closed a few days earlier. I phoned the company and asked if they would accept a late application, explained my qualifications and gave a bit of history. They said they would like me to apply so I pulled an all-nighter and submitted the next day. Two hours later I received an email advising I had not been successful.

 

The letter:

Dear HR Manager,

Sex is a game for two. Sometimes three or more, sometimes one, but often two. When someone fakes an orgasm, it is generally for the benefit of the other person involved. There is no great enjoyment to be had from faking extreme pleasure; it’s just something one might occasionally do to make someone else feel better about their performance. Altruism, you might call it, for want of a better word.

Last week I applied for a job with your company. We spoke on the phone prior to my applying and you seemed enthused by my experience and credentials. You said, ‘Yes! Please Apply! Just make sure your application is in by 5pm tomorrow.’ I spent many hours writing, gave considered thought to each of your selection criteria, sought consult from friends, checked in with potential referees and finessed my resume. I spent a few hours daydreaming the logistics which in this case involved imagining myself resigning from my current role, imagining myself moving across the country to take up the position, imagining the impact on my relationship – you get the drift. I was quite excited.

Continue reading “Sex is a game for two. Sometimes three or more.”