HOLLY MIRANDA SMALE

Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.







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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Postcards

"Who the hell," my sister asked me yesterday, "are you writing to?"
"Eh?" I said, playing for time. (That`s a Japanese sound, by the way; one of the things I`ve picked up by accident. Like a desire to shower sitting down.)
"When you write your blog," my sister clarified, even though I knew exactly what she was asking the first time. "Who are you writing to? I mean, let`s assume for a minute that the only people who read it are direct family."
"Not even that," I pointed out.
"True, I`m usually too busy watching Neighbours online."
"And dad would rather roll himself in the kneck with a pizza cutter then read anything I write," I added.
"Yeah," my sister agreed. The whole family knows that.(This doesn`t upset me, incidentally. I am very much like my father, and watching anyone I love do anything creative makes me uncomfortable, even if they`re quite good at it. A boyfriend I had years ago was incredibly talented at songwriting, but I had to literally beg him not to perform in front of me because my fear for him and any potential failure made me awkward and nervous.)"So..."
"Sooo?"
"Who are you writing to? Apart from mum and grandad?"
"I don`t know," I admitted. I`ve asked myself that quite a few times over the past year; a year of writing a blog, when the very thought of it confuses me (who the hell wants to know?). "I guess it`s partly limbering up; it`s like doing stretches before I write books. And when I can`t write my blog, you can guarantee I shouldn`t be writing a book either because I`m in the wrong head place, so it`s a good gage. You only have to look at how many blog entries I write every month and you can see how happy I am. Plus it`s nice to record what I do, in case I ever want to look back on it when I`m old."
"You`re old already," my sister pointed out. I ignored her. "And you could just write a diary, like normal people."
"I could, yes."
"But then nobody else would ever be able to read it," she observed rather astutely.
"Exactly."
"And you want people to read what you write."
"Of course I do. I`m not really sure why, though. I haven`t quite worked that out yet." I thought about it a bit more. "The blog`s important to me. I guess I`ve spent so long being scared of anybody reading what I write, and being so precious about my writing, that I couldn`t let anything go: not ever. My writing was getting suffocated. I suppose the speed and quantity of a blog - of just banging it out in ten minutes and putting it out there without editing, with no real worry that the quality is inevitably going to go up and down a lot - is good practice for me. It makes what I write less pretentious, somehow, because you can`t really do much pretending when it`s every single day. It encourages me to be myself, because I know I have no other choice."
"And what if nobody reads it at all? What if you`re just writing into a big void?"
We both pondered the probablity of it, and came to a mutual conclusion that this was very, very likely.
"It doesn`t matter," I realised. "It`s like sending postcards, really. Just to myself."
"Aw, that`s kind of sad."
"You think? I think it`s kind of comforting."
"Oh. Well maybe I`ll read it before I watch Neighbours very day, then. Would that make it better?"
"Yes," I said.
"Then that`s what I`ll do."

When you go on an adventure, you send postcards because you want to make other people happy, and you want to tell them what you`re doing, and you want them to live through you and see the things you`ve seen even if they will never go there, but you also do it to mark your territory in your own mind: to lay down little rectangular cardboard flags and say to yourself I was here. And that`s what I`m doing, I guess, in the only way I know how: by writing. So whether it`s read, or whether it`s just a voice shouting into a big empty space, I`ll keep writing this blog. I`ll keep sending myself electronic postcards.

Because then I`ll know that I was here, even if nobody else does.