I was wondering when and if at all we'd be hitting that one million mark about almost exactly four years back when I was big-headed enough to start out thinking I might be able to manage this site. Quite frankly I was dreading the day that in theory could come sometime. But in those days I was fighting quite different practical problems and chose to pray it would come way ahead in the future.

What is there left to say? 44 moons are quite a long way to go and that frightful day is approaching fast. So no need to act as if there was any chance avoiding it or trying to find an easy way out. Also no brilliant idea to pretend all difficulties have been overcome - quite differently. It's all a matter of getting used to display one's own incapability and shortcomings publicly. More surprisingly so, there seem to be some people enjoying it all so much, they do return here and even participate. You are gold - but there's no accounting for taste.

Somewhere in between Nat's fans making you sit down with your few decent ideas you've got in your brain and you shooting off an e-mail, a news bit or even a longish review on movie "I dunno notin' about it", you completely lost touch with the concept of simple thank-you notes. Not just the concept, but also writing and sending them. Now that you're a full-blown webmistress, a sniffy online-text just won't do, and more is expected of you than producing something saying 'Thanks for all the hits, you rock!'

As part of my try to do more than that, I think that the suggested letter / card writing thing in our forum simply and positively adds to my plans that this moment in time should be celebrated in style. Also, this is the right time to say thanks to all who help, participate, send-in, write, think, suffer, feel, listen for days on end and simply be there to make this thing happening:

HUGS * LOVE * RESPECT * GREATFULNESS

To be honest: I have a crushing inability to write proper paper-based thank-you stuff, worse than that, I'm a very poor x-mas card producer as well. But I'm going to give it a humble try anyway and while I'm desperately trying to motivate myself to do just that, I think some of my basic reflections might just come in handy for those who'd like to participate in a consolidated effort to do what's right and share a bit of my feelings. So I'm rambling on here.

There will be some visitors that might not send-in anything. Believe me: They are probably at this very moment sighing over how webmistress today yet again just doesn't have any good manners nor does she write proper English and should actually simply shut up and stop making such a fuss about the million mark. Best thing would be closing down the site as a whole - it's complete rubbish anyway. Hails to 'em, you are absolutely right, no objections.

For those of you who'd like to participate and help in celebrating here's my suggestion: Please *do* send in your cards, letters, pictures, or whatever comes to your mind. I'll put them online for all of us to enjoy in all their beauty and diversity in expression. I could have done the usual blog thing that we have up for x-mas or Nat's birthday, but let's have fun and get a tad more creative.

Send what you feel like, I'll put it up here as soon as we've hit 1.000.000! I promise to have a brand new website layout with a few new things added that very day. Hope you will like it. Your contribution will be published, right on the front-page. Produce what your soul tells you: texts, collages, paintings, autographs, music, films - anything. Send in originals or scanned things, do a CD-Rom, via e-mail or letter.

As an extra motivation for you dearest reader and myself, I will also uptightly tell you the hidden secret of such messages: They simply make you feel good. Plus: spreading good vibes by doing something nice can be quite rewarding.

I assure you, writing such notes is easier than you remember. Get yourself some stationery, plain note cards or a selection of attractive postcards (yes, postcards from places you like to stay are perfectly acceptable!), and proper postage. Avoid the pre-inscribed 'Thank you!' cards in loopy script, as there are times you'll want to write notes where that aesthetic feels all wrong. Better do choose paper you like. Store all of these items somewhere easily accessible and preferably in plain sight so you won't hesitate too long or forget too easily. What I also do is collect some nice pictures or caricatures, whatever I feel has some nice quality to it and glue it to a piece of paper - makes a lovely and quite individual thing.

 

There is a six-point formula to the proper thank-you / celebration thing: Just try to visualize it once week, write & send at least one - these tips will never fail you - hopefully not me ;=)

1. Greet The Recipient

Dear xyz, Hi xyz, Hello xyz,

That's the easy part, but you'd be surprised how many people forget it. Dale Carnegie taught us people love to hear their own names and Direct Marketing is sure we also love to read them. No excuses. Also, don't mix up names or misspell 'em (one that's very hard for me - pardon).

2. Express Your Gratitude

Thank you so much for XXXX.

This first paragraph seems like it would be the easiest, but it is actually the most complicated. Also - and this is important - never directly mention what else you might want to express in that first sentence - this seems like using some bazooka to open up a door. Don't worry if it sounds too simple; the point of writing the note is to create a simple expression of a truly heartfelt sentiment.

3. Discuss Use

Say something nice about xxxxxx and how you are enjoying xxxxx. Let's say it's something you actually love and use incessantly - then say so: 'Ever since I found this site I have been sitting in front of my PC all the time. I'd even read it while at work if I could get away with it.'

But don't lie, even though you might think it's okay. After all, there's always a truth that can be extracted. Let's say you hate the reviews. How to say thanks? Find the one thing about them that's nice and discuss it - but don't get carried away. 'They are such fun' works, and is more honest than 'These texts make my heart sing like a choir of angels,' which is overkill.

If it was the fact that Nat does post on his own site, you can follow the lines of 'It's so nice to have some sort of personal connection reading them. I really appreciate you taking the time to write.' You can get arty here, but not flowery. It's a fine line. Small, realistic statements like 'I print the texts and decorate my walls with them,' or 'I don't know which is more fun, actually using the site, or simply ignoring it as a whole.' Having fun is alright, so celebrate it.

4. Mention the Past, Allude to the Future

It is great to get to know you all via this site, and I hope to meet you someday in my own home. Let us know how we all fit into the fabric of your life. Nice, right?

5. Grace

Thanks again for your work, efforts and time. It's not overkill to say thanks again. So say it. Can't get enough of that one. Really. Thanks a bunch.

6. Regards

Love,
xyz

Simply wrap it up. Use whatever works for you: Love, Yours Truly, With Love, XXX, Warmest Wishes, With Affection, Humblest Bows. Then sign your name and you're done.

0. What's Not There

Any news about your life. This isn't the time to brag about your new job, a hot boyfriend, your new website, blog or forum, you're lately being able to read someone's mind, having eerie similarities with someone else's life or number of your surgeries or your latest Oscar nomination. The note is exclusively about thanking somebody or something. While you may want more than anything to show them once and for all you amounted to something, this is not the place to do so. Save that for later...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now get it in the mail. Even if your friends and co-fans aren't of the note-writing variety, be the one who sets the precedent. Thank-you-note writing is one of the loveliest traditions to have been utterly compromised by the information age. Let's start a movement to revive a little gracious gesture.

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