An Open Letter To ALL Who Write Open Letters

photo credit: aye_shamus via photopin cc

photo credit: aye_shamus via photopin cc

 

 

This has been on my heart for some time. I am weighed down by the continual need of you, who feel the need to address me, and every single person within range of a news-feed.

I’m tired of the nonstop barrage of opinions that are focused on making a plea to shame some, sway some and generally state one’s personal opinion in hopes of gaining approval, attention and maybe redemption.

I don’t know.

I just know this.

I’m tired of seeing it.

Perhaps you are thinking, hey- don’t read these open letters.

It’s not that easy. 

Once the open letter appears, it’s then shared, discussed, hooray-ed, or parodied Ad nauseam.

Not to mention, I like to read.

But, I always feel the same exact way after I read every single one.

No matter how beautifully written, eloquently expressed, or intelligently stated. Even if I agree. 

I feel like I have been badgered.

Bullied.

Spoken down to.

Because an open letter mostly in it’s ever so subtle and carefully crafted manner delivers a sucker punch, always.

If you don’t agree with the position of the one writing.

If you aren’t even sure if you agree …YOU are somehow, ignorant.

Less.

 

I’d like to make a suggestion…just one. Small. Suggestion.

Buy a journal.

Write your open letters there.

Please and thank you.

 

Now, tell me how you feel after reading this open letter?

 

Only YOU can prevent Open Letter Writing: Think twice before writing open letters.

 

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alicia
    Nov 08, 2014 @ 22:45:54

    Well said. Thank you for taking the time to say it.

    Reply

  2. Barbie
    Nov 08, 2014 @ 23:14:08

    I don’t think I’ve every written an open letter. I’ve read some that I thought were very moving and were done in taste and with honor. I’ve read others that I felt I was just spewed upon. I’m not really sure the purpose really of the open letters. I like the idea of jotting thoughts down in a journal, keeping it private. Sometimes you just gotta get the words out and onto paper, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to go public.

    Reply

  3. Mary Clare Evans
    Nov 09, 2014 @ 11:27:34

    So much to ponder here. Maybe the biggest problem with an open letter is in writing one, the author has pretty much decided the conversation is over. This is the final word. No interest in other opinions or thoughts. No opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other. I am right. Period.

    Dawn, thank you for such a thought provoking post. I’m off to google ” An Open Letter” in your honor.

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Nov 09, 2014 @ 20:10:15

      Mary, I think that is an excellent point. Maybe you have even said exactly what bothers me most about open letters. I have no problem with people writing to address a group and inviting a dialogue, but an open letter is a pompous one way conversation. Everyone can have their opinion, and share as they see fit…but just don’t start off “An open Letter to…”. But, hey- that’s just my opinion. 😉 Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Reply

  4. Dana
    Nov 09, 2014 @ 12:01:55

    If I’m reading a blog and they post an open letter or anything that I read, I feel that its their right to write whatever they want. Its their blog! If I don’t like whats written I can leave and never read that blog again. As a reader I don’t have any rights to the blog or what is written. I feel its like TV, if you don’t like whats on – turn it off. LOL I rarely leave comments on any blog that I read because I feel that if I agree or disagree with anything its just my opinion and I have no right to say anything one way or another about it. 🙂

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Nov 10, 2014 @ 09:51:17

      I somewhat agree with your statement up until when you say you have no right to say anything one way or another about it.
      The point is the writer/or blogger as well as the reader have the write to say (or write ) as they will. That is the beauty of free speech. I did not say that at all- I was speaking of a specific form used to address large groups of people people in a sometimes underhanded way. Everyone has the right to their opinion. My argument was against a specific way of expressing that opinion. Thanks for sharing yours. 😉

      Reply

  5. Cecelia Lester
    Nov 09, 2014 @ 16:07:13

    Dawn: If I find I receive a form letter in the snail mail, I am not likely to respond to it if it asks me for something. I have always felt they are wasting their time. I have some email letters that I just hit the delete button because the have upset me or maybe tried to lead me on. I find the election cycle’s mailings really challenge my temper limit. I saw yard signs a few years ago that caused me to vote for the candidate for the other party. Just because I was offended by what the person said.

    Reply

  6. theeditorsjournal
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 09:36:11

    Shouldn’t I reply back with an open letter? But joking aside that’s how kinda arrogant it is. it’s like a form of passive aggression. Like Sinead O’connor’s letter to Miley Cyrus. Let me get the whole village onside to come and tell you how wrong you are publicly instead of just taking you to one side and telling you personally.

    The fact is if you are not able to take the person to one side and tell them personally because you don’t have access to them as you are not a family member or friend, that should tell all you need to know I think.

    And to add to what you said to Dana it IS a different thing to write an opinion piece about someone rather than an open letter to them. Of course folk can do as they please using either medium, it’s just that one of them is usually more arrogant a method.

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Nov 11, 2014 @ 09:44:19

      Yes! That was an excellent example I had forgotten…but one that left me feeling (at the time) regardless of agreeing or not, like it was a wrong way to communicate- even if it’s a “good” point. I am for free press, but I am also for responsible, compassionate communicating. Proper channels…talk to a person, write them…whatever. Creating pockets lynch mob followers is just subtly diabolical in my opinion: Open letter to a Wanna Be Psychopath comes to my mind. lol. OK< kidding aside. Just my opinion. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply

  7. Amelia
    Nov 12, 2014 @ 00:21:10

    I guess I don’t get them, because I didn’t know what you were talking about. Judging by the post, it’s probably a good thing.

    Reply

  8. Heather Mertens
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 15:58:04

    I wrote an open letter to Christians (titled that) and the feedback I received was beautiful. It was all about how we shouldn’t be cutting each other down. Hmmmm…

    It was from my heart and not “pompous” in any way. It has been shared by people all over the world… in hopes that this behavior would stop. I’m not about to remove it.

    Something inappropriate though is how people tend to lump others together when they don’t like something or don’t understand it.

    I’m sorry you feel this way and didn’t know until I read this. But you wrote it publicly, so I guess it became your open letter for us to read.

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Nov 16, 2014 @ 16:08:38

      Heather , thanks as always for reading and commenting- there are always exceptions…this was a tongue in cheek kind of approach-I wrote it right after I read one…another one, that was well written. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine, and since we both write and I trust with honorable intention, we can agree to disagree about something.I hope this makes sense. I probably could have taken more time to specify certain ones, but that would have taken away the edginess and fun of writing in the moment. It also would have completely ruined twist on addressing the subject as an open letter.

      Reply

      • Heather Mertens
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 16:12:42

        Not following you at all. Sorry. If it is tongue in cheek and you do find some good ones then I’m not sure what we disagree on.

        It just came across completely as lumping everyone together … Especially your comments that followed. I took it like it read.

        I just know that lumping everyone together misrepresents so many with those honorable intentions you mentioned.

      • Heather Mertens
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 16:13:19

        Just thought you’d appreciate knowing there are good ones out there. 🙂

      • enthusiasticallydawn
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 16:27:20

        I know there are…but part of my thought was that Open Letters do just that, they lump all people together, and address them, broadly brushing them into a specific category. That is the subtle lunacy. Again, we don’t need to agree (and we may not) and I am OK with that. I don’t need to agree with all of my friends, family or readers – do I to keep company? It is in the disagreeing, we model an imperfect grace. We grow and learn to respect that we can have different opinions and still retain relationship (as Christians ) Some of the greatest thinkers and writers disagreed and respectfully discussed (some more passionately than others) their differences. There is rarely growth without confrontation…perhaps.

      • Heather Mertens
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 16:43:57

        While I understand what you are saying, I don’t see how it has anything to do with the fact that it just isn’t true that open letters are not always lumping people together.
        When I say “lumping” I’m referring to labeling people. Like the preposterous comment.

        As one positive example, my letter didn’t lump everyone together. In fact it was the opposite. But this isn’t a personal offense to me, because I know beyond a shadow of doubt that God inspired that letter. For me this was seeing a more negative vibe coming from the otherwise positive things I’ve read here before.

        This all leads to the fact that every thing you and I and other writers share on public blogs and websites is just that…an open letter. Regardless what we label it.

        I’ll leave it at that. I learned a lot here today. It isn’t about disagreeing to me at all. Yes that happens. It is about how things written come across. Makes me want to be even more considerate of what The Lord would have me write.

      • enthusiasticallydawn
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 16:59:23

        Thank you, Heather. I agree. I am sorry if I offended you which it seems is what happened, here.

        My #1 purpose is not to be “positive”. It is to live out my authentic, real and flawed life as I learn to walk with Him. And share that journey; Process… As stated clearly on my Welcome to the Beach Page: “I share about how I’m working out this life of faith and it ain’t always pretty, quite honestly. I strive to keep it honest. For better or worse.”
        Again, I am sorry if in doing this I offended you.

      • Heather Mertens
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 17:12:01

        I said it wasn’t personally offensive. I meant that. 🙂 I was merely discussing how it came across. Maybe I misunderstood that you liked discussion. I’m not quite sure now that I’m confused.

        Yes our goal isn’t to be “positive”. I didn’t allude to that either, now would I. Not sure, but it seems you are reading more into my discussion than I actually said. So just in case… To clarify… I was just trying to discuss that not “ALL”, as you addressed this, to fall under this. I’m one. I speak only from experience in what you wrote about.

      • enthusiasticallydawn
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 17:17:33

        Discussion is good. It is good. YES! But it is true there is an awful lot of room for misunderstanding in these words we type from behind our screens. Prayerfully pondering…with thanks.

      • Heather Mertens
        Nov 16, 2014 @ 16:49:20

        Oh and I don’t believe God’s grace is ever imperfect. It’s our human undoing that is imperfect.

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