Open letter to myself: Becoming part of the “Open letter” community


A few years ago I became aware of the so-called “Open letter”.
I first encountered it on Daily Maverick’s Opinionista pages, in the form of letters by Onkgopotse JJ Tabane, which was called “Let’s Talk Frankly”.

Since then, I noticed open letters from politicians, musicians, artists, and many others. I saw that these letters are written for many different reasons and to different people (sometimes individuals, and sometimes groups).

People like FW de Klerk en Thabo Mbeki and Mmusi Maimane has recently written open letters. I remember Steve Hofmeyr once writing an open letter. Recently, I read about an open letter by a company (Skywise) to a government (South African President, to be precise). Even journalists has written a few open letters.

In my search, I came across “An Open Letter to Writers of Open Letters”, by Teddy Wayne, which appeared in “The Morning News”. And when I Googled “an open letter to writers of open letters”, I came across a few of these letters. Two mention two: Open letters by Charlotte Alter and Jennifer Fliss.

I decided that I also want to start writing open letters.

In his open letter, Teddy Wayne writes in his first paragraph: “To those who feel compelled to address the world from Facebook, Twitter, and email chains, here is a message: No one is listening, least of all Luther Vandross.”

So, as I join the community of Open Letter Writers, I already wonder: Will my letters be read?

To be truthful, I don’t really care. I will be writing my open letters to organizations and people who “influence” me in some way. I will write these letters more of a way to get my frustrations and joys aired. I will never shame someone, because that is not my style. I might complain about service by companies or share my thoughts on certain events.

I realize, as I write this, that many blog postings can seem like open letters anyway. I would venture a guess that most people who write a blog, want people to read it – the more, the merrier. These letters I will be writing, will be called “open letters”, to make a little differentiation on my other postings.

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