Yule love these writing tips
Fie on all that fake news. Yes, once again, ‘tis the season for genuine news. I refer to those family newsletters that often tumble out of our Christmas/holiday cards.
Forget all of those tweets, Twitters, hand-held electronic devices, Facebooks, Gmails and anything at all that ends in dotcom. The annual newsletters — usually multi-paged and singlespaced in pica type — prove that print journalism lives stronger than ever.
Mistletoe-inspired missives such as the Barrington Bugle, Tillerman Tribune and the Augman Annual Argus are reports direct from the grass roots. The info comes direct from Edith and Horace’s mouths.
“Oldest son Bertram is still living in Cañon City. But he has another parole hearing in February and we are keeping our fingers crossed.”
If you haven’t published a newsletter before, it’s time to start gearing up for 2017. Preserving a full year’s worth of details is important, starting with New Year’s resolutions.
Inexperience is absolutely no problem. But if you think you need guidance, you can find it online from numerous publishing veterans, including Paula in Brooklyn, who has a website called Beauty in Imperfection.
“Daughter Bertha is eagerly awaiting the increase in the minimum wage as she is still working at Burger Barn. With the additional money, she hopes to start making payments on her student loan and possibly even going back to school. She wants to get a master’s degree in Mayan studies.”
My own advice to would-be family scribes would be to ignore the experts and just plunge ahead. For instance, one of them suggests that you “resist the urge to embellish.” No. When it comes to family newsletters, readers will relish embellishment. The terser the worser.
“Earl says that if the Broncos don’t make the playoffs this year we are going to repaint the house. That might make the fuddy-duddies at the HOA happy, but I was kind of getting used to the orange and blue.”
Here’s a suggestion for the Pulitzer Prize committee: Why not start a special category for the amateurs who churn out Christmas newsletters? In fact, you might call it Beauty in Imperfection.
“We are planning to take a cruise to the Caribbean this spring. But Bertram says he first must find a tramp steamer that needs a couple of more crew members. (Ha! Ha! Bertram is such a kidder).”
I don’t recommend it, but some people actually post their family newsletters online. For instance, you can find annual updates from the Cole clan each year since 1983. If you don’t know the Coles, their life history is available in 35 annual installments.
“Wendell, ever the entrepreneur, is again seeking a new venture capitalist. His plan for a chain of home carpet rental stores didn’t work out as he expected.”
It is mandatory, of course, for the family newsletter to have a powerful windup that will blow everyone’s Christmas stocking off the mantel. Something like:
“All of the Pennington’s — Sherwood, Shirleen, Shirley Sue, Samantha, Steven, Stewart, Cato the Cat, Dougie the Dog, George the Gerbil and Parkery the Parakeet — are wishing you the most far-out holiday season imaginable and the greatest 2017 ever.”
Well, right back at you, Penningtons.
And the same to all of you out there, too. Dick Hilker (dhilker529@ aol.com) is a retired Denver suburban newspaper editor and columnist.