Why is it that I have such difficulty with thank you letters? It should be the easiest thing in the world. You go to a something, organised by somebody, and the next day you sit down with your crisp notepaper and inkpen and dash of a charming and sincere note to express your appreciation. Or so it goes in Georgette Heyer country, and in my optimistic pea like mind.
Unfortunately, in my real world it works rather differently. Before I go to a party / dinner / whatever, I start planning miraculous thank you letters. Letters that will be framed and oohed and aahed over by future generations for their wit and turn of phrase. Then I go to said event. Wake up next morning with hangover and good intentions to get said letter written that week. As at this stage I have plenty of time and will still appear efficient and well brought up if I get something in the post in the next five days or so, I linger over actually starting. I plan some opening phrases, I wonder if I need a new pen. I go off and do something else entirely........
Three weeks later, I realise to my horror that I have done nothing about it. Not one letter of the alphabet has made it onto my non existent note paper. I've even forgotten all the things I had planned before the party to say in my letter. This is a critical mass point. If I don't write this very second, then the letter really is going to have to be fantastic to make up for its revolting lateness. It is imperative that the moment I become aware of my failure to write I go out and shoot a goose if necessary in order to get myself a quill so that I can write the wretched letter. I go off and do something else entirely.......
Usually around SIX WEEKS after the actual event I wake up sweating in the middle of the night aware that people are talking about that horrible girl who never writes thank you letters. My name is being bandied across supermarket aisles as 'the one who can't be bothered to write'. I shall never be asked to anything again, never looked in the eye again, possibly never even spoken to again. I must write.
At this point, usually something happens. I will find writing paper, and inappropriately coloured pens. I'll start several letters but will feel all of them are inadequate to the task of making a letter that is six weeks late (seven or eight weeks by the time Royal Mail has lost it) look good. In the end I write a paltry letter which I backdate by a couple of weeks and then add a postscript saying that 'to my horror I just found it in a pile of paperwork and had obviously failed to send it blah blah blah'. I once famously wrote that I had been abducted by aliens hence my inability to write. I have officially become desperate.
It's ridiculous. It shouldn't be this hard to just sit down the very next day and write the letter, take it to the postbox and send it. In reality, it would be better to write a postcard than to fail to write a letter which, when it finally makes it in the post, is going to be so late that the host doesn't remember throwing the party, or having you to stay, or possibly who you are.
I know, lots of people don't write. They will think this post is insane and that possibly I am a fictional character living a strange life of thank you letters and 'at home' mornings. But everybody knows how nice it is to get a letter, that somebody has taken the trouble to tell you that they appreciated what you did for them. How nice is it when you deal the post out on the kitchen table and in amongst the junk and the bills, is a handwritten envelope. You always open that first.
I guess it would be even nicer if the event they were thanking you for actually happened this millenium. I must go; I have thank you letters to write.
The price of health
12 hours ago