Hello Folks, after a month of avoiding my computer, internet and any other modern device, I’ve been a tad reluctant to return to the modern world. But, for better or worse, I’ve decided it’s time I gritted my teeth and started scribbling electronically again. During September, the following posts were published in the Gladstone Observer, starting with this column published on 1.9.11, I’ll post the others soon:
During week one of my Simple September programme, I decided to handwrite some letters to distant family and friends, just like I used to back in the 1970’s. And while I searched the house for my good pen and some paper, I imagined an elderly clerk down at Oz Post calling over the juniors and showing them my letters, then explaining that this was how people used to communicate back in the ‘olden days’.
Sitting down, I made a list of people to write to, then started merrily scribbling away. Now, it’s been a very long time since I’ve handwritten a letter, and gazing in horror at the illegible scrawl on the page before me, I decided the best course of action would be to scrunch up the sheet and start again.
Ten minutes, and thirty carefully written words later, the result was legible in a ransom note sort of fashion, but not something I’d be happy to put my name to. Not unless I was trying to claim some sort of special allowance from the Government.
I eventually finished one letter, and as I was squeezing the blood back into my right hand, I stared glumly at the long list of people I had intended to write to. At this point, my thoughts turned to carbon paper, photocopying, or buying several blank cassette tapes and doing a spoken word letter, but of course that would be cheating. Besides, I couldn’t find a working cassette recorder, or a single sheet of carbon paper, in our house.
I would have to persist. So, gripping the pen between my numbed fingers, I immediately got to work; starting with crossing two thirds of the names off my list.
My children, who regard e-mail as ‘snail mail’, couldn’t understand why anyone would put themselves through this ordeal. They’ve obviously forgotten the sheer joy of receiving a hand-written letter, particularly if it includes photos, drawings, or money. And I’m yet to open an email that has the nostalgic aroma of my Auntie’s favourite perfume.
You may be happy to know that I finally managed to write to all the people on my list. Only because I bought a fistful of postcards, then scratched on the back of them:
“Wish you were here.”
I have never been more brutally honest in my life; because if they were here, I wouldn’t have had to write to them.