Letters to Grandma

Letter to Grandma

I don’t claim to be a writer. That would be an insult to those who’ve practised and studied the craft and dedicated years to building a portfolio and successful career. What I am is someone who loves writing.

 

Careers testing in high school showed that I had strong verbal reasoning skills (certainly stronger than my mathematical reasoning) and a personality type suited to creative pursuits such as writing. On more recent reading, the profile appears somewhat questionable (it also claims my ‘type’ can have psychic abilities – if you too have been identified as an INFJ in a Myer Briggs test, you’ll enjoy reading this profile). Nonetheless, the ‘prediction’ came true and I have ended up writing for a living.

As a bureaucrat my primary skill set is ‘writing for a range of audiences’ and my every day consists of crafting emails, letters, briefs, plans and policies. The more generous (or perhaps cynical) among us would say that this is a kind of creative writing in itself. It is not difficult to recognise the creative license used in most ministers’ speeches.

I can only assume that my love of writing was borne out of the encouragement by family to read from an early age. Everyone around me read books: parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. Loving books as I did, as a child I also fancied that I could become a writer, something I was reminded of by my Uncle on my 21st birthday when he produced a ‘book’ I had made for him as a present that he had kept carefully tucked away.

Also kept tucked away were letters I wrote to my Grandmother, returned to me over 20 years later. I have long lamented the demise of the letter (I think I must be of the last generation to have written them) as email, then sms and finally fb messenger has become the norm. I was a prolific letter writer, sending letters to family, friends and, as time went on, boyfriends. I learnt eventually to moderate my flow for fear of overwhelming the recipients, adopting the difficult discipline of waiting my turn to reply.

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I can only hope that others’ pleasure at receiving one of my letters was a fraction of mine on receiving theirs. Like a dog, my ears were tuned to the frequency of the postman’s motorbike as he turned into our street and it was all I could do not to run to the end of the driveway to snatch the mail from his hand. The pleasure came from reading the words that were so carefully crafted just for me. It also occurs to me now that some of the pleasure must also have been in knowing that I had been finally granted permission to write back in reply.

This blog will be something like my letters and, in truth, something of an indulgence. The aim is to satisfy my urge to write in a way that academia and bureaucracy (where I have until now been trying to contain it) never has. In sending these posts out into the world I can only hope that my audience today is as generous as my audience in the past, and that my writing is enjoyed.

If you’d like me to write again, please post a reply below or leave a comment using the link above.

8 thoughts on “Letters to Grandma

  1. Well, I really enjoyed reading your post on letter writing. You do have a skill with words and I think this blog is going make for many hours of enjoyable reading over the years.
    I also wrote and received many letters in my youth and early adulthood, the delay between sending and receiving was considerable as I was in the Navy at the time. The anguish I felt 6 months out from home, hearing of the loss of mail bags from Australia is something I would never wish to go through again.
    Thank you for starting this blog. I shall await further developments with lively interest.

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  2. Thanks for your kind words Phil. Even though communications these days are practically instantaneous, I think that as a result we’ve lost the care that was once taken in crafting a letter with the knowledge that it might be read multiple times and quite possibly kept for years to come.

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  3. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Lovely to discover another Canberra blogger. Having travelled in Jaoan three times now, I love the origin of your blog name. Nicely done.

    As for letter writing, I have one friend to whom I have been writing – well, word-processed but snail mail sent – weekly since the end of 1993. She returns the favour, weekly too. Hubby asks why don’t we just email – and we do that occasionally, we are also Facebook friends, but don’t SMS as she’s overseas – but we both seem to enjoy crafting the letter. It’s different, it’s considered, in a way those other communications tend not to be. We have noticed though that the postal system is becoming highly erratic, and letters that used to regularly take a week, give or take a day, are now taking anywhere from 10 days to 21 days. She lives in the LA area – you can fly from here to there in 24 hours! Harumph … It’s worrying for we letter writers and senders of real cards and thankyou letters!

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    • Thanks for reading my blog and your thoughtful comments. I was thinking the other day that it seems the only reason I go to the post box now is to put bills for people who used to live at our address with ‘Return to Sender’ scrawled over them. I did wonder how much longer the box would be there.

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