Thanks, Karen, for this prompt. Karen wrote today about how she's always liked writing. About how she writes every day. I can so relate.
I blame my Mum.
My Mum, Fay, was the first woman journalist on both the Wairarapa Times-Age and The Ashburton Guardian (when they were REAL newspapers). She was a pioneer in an age when women didn't have jobs like that. Then she chucked it all in when she had a family to be a stay-at-home Mum. As a kid I preferred hanging out with the adults at gatherings where the grownups were journalists and writers. I thought they were cool. Cooler than the kids.
Mum taught us to love words.Years of sub-editing meant Mum couldn't break the habit. As kids we weren't allowed to hand in homework with spelling mistakes. Or grammatical errors. To this day my sisters and I are exceptional spellers. We abhor spelling mistakes in restaurants and signs.
As a kid I had a huge number of penfriends. I remember some of them. Louise Mikkelsen from Auckland. A black African girl in Kenya (Katie Mugabi), a Canadian (Chris French- I stopped writing to him when he told me he was bi-sexual - my 13 year old life experience couldn't handle that) . Whatever happened to them all? I still write to Renee - next year it will be 30 years since letters first made their way between Lower Hutt and Chicago. I count her as my oldest friend. I will visit her some day. I've spoken to her once on the phone. We email. A couple of times a year we write a real letter. For the sake of it. For there is nothing better than receiving a letter in the post. From a foreign land.
When I owned a scrapbooking business my favourite class was teaching journaling. It's still my favourite part of scrapbooking. I think the reason I became a scrapper is because it gave me a legitimate reason to write. To preserve my writing.
I buy gorgeous notebooks to write lists. And plans. And goals. And I collect quotes. Because I like seeing them written down. And I read them out. I find inspiring quotes in the death notices. I read them out loud to hear what they sound like. I fear that if anyone hears me they'll think I'm mad.
I hate crap writing - chick lit, Mills and Boons. When I read a Marian Keyes book I think - what a waste of time. What a waste of words. I am a word snob. But I don't like big words. I like plain English.
I admire Karen's writing style. I like the short snappy, first person present-ness of it. I like reading blogs that are short and to the point. That don't assume. That have something to say. That don't ramble.
My friend's husband died last week. I wrote her a letter. Because we don't do that anymore. But we should. Because words are precious.