Wednesday, July 19, 2006


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.


Janine said...

I agree Mel. I like Karen's style of writing as well. Sorry to hear about your friends husband. I struggle with grammar at times.

karen said...

Thanks Mel.
And I like that you wrote a letter to your friend: more permanent than an email or even a phone call. I like to think of my books (scrapbooks or art books) as pages of letters.

Penny said...

Hmmm... now I feel embarrassed about my blog writing ;-) I loved English at school, did really well at it. One of my teachers predicted I would write one day. I suppose that I am in a sense! I love words. I have a problem with being verbose.

I used to write a lot of letters to friends and pen pals. While email has made the communication instantaneous, there is something satisfying about getting something in the snail mail. Maybe that's why I like ordering online! It means I get parcels ;-)

~Zeetra~ said...

I agree with you Mel about not likeing big words, they frustrate me.
I love the fact you wrote your dear friend a letter and not some card that may get shoved in the draw later on.
Words are precious and I think all us scrapers should be wrtign on our pages not using the rpinter all the time, no one really going to care how many fonts we have in our computer are they?
Love your photo on Sharees CJ. hubby thinks you look familiar and stunning...

Delys said...

I had several penpals myself...they would send me all these little notepads and books and I had no money to reciprocate in kind. I loved it as any kid does getting mail...and us too..if its not bills aye? I had one in Tennessee and one in Finland. The finland girl had a totally different way of life. Very interesting!

Lynda said...

Now you have me thinking about why I keep my blog. I always tried to keep a diary but got frustrated and gave up when I couldn't keep up with daily entries. Blogging is so much easier and I print out copies which then form the base for my journalling when I get to scrapping.

Loved reading your thoughts on writing.