|One of the old photos I came across. My mother and I drinking wine on the deck at the Pataua bach (holiday home) of my sister . I love the place so much I set a book there - Bring Him Home.|
I’ve been spring-cleaning my inbox which means sifting through all the sub-folders I've made to move mail and feel efficient. Clicking through the ‘personal’ folder was like opening a box of old letters and trinkets.
Here’s what I found:
* A seven year old email from my son’s then teacher which I kept because it was so illustrative of his character.
“I just wanted to let you know some exciting news –
And yes, he forgot to mention it when he got home from school.
* My one and only Valentine from his non demonstrative father that WASN’T the result of hinting, nagging or emotional blackmail. An email card with a frog on it. What can I say? I’m desperate.
* A satirical letter I wrote to the Christchurch Press after a male journalist came to the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference and published one of those predictable and ignorant denigrations of romance.
My compliments to Martin Van Beynen for his excellent article on the recent conference of Romance Writers of NZ. His courage in such frank personal description of these women (obviously he doesn’t fear meeting those ladies again!) is to be lauded in this day and age of political correctness. Though I’m a leg man myself, I enjoyed his preoccupation with breasts very much.
I read a book myself once and didn’t enjoy it - so I can only admire Mr Van Beynen who went to the trouble of reading two before dismissing romance as ‘schlock’ – a great word and its overuse in no way impinged on my enjoyment of his story.
My wife reads romance – astonishing, I know, when she had the real thing in front of the telly with her every night – and suggests Mr Van Beynen got a lot of his facts wrong. Bollocks! After all, Mr Van B is a journalist. The man spent two days at conference keeping an open mind and no doubt having to eat quiche and the like. Surely this makes his opinion worth more than my wife’s and the 51 million other women who read this rubbish?
When I repeated Mr Van B’s assertion that romance was ‘schlock,’ my wife replied that Mr Van B was a big ‘schlong.’ I can only assume this is romance speak for the ‘alpha male’ to which Mr Van B compares himself and must surely confirm his estimation as correct.
* A poem from my twelve year old nephew, Luther called Rat Begun.
He took the quietness of the rocks and stole the swiftness of the wind to make his walk.
To make his coat he took the grey of storm clouds and the dirtiness of the sewer.
He also snatched the twinkle of the stars and the blackness of the night sky for his eyes.
And that's how rat began.
* My favorite funny email. These humorous similes and metaphors are usually attributed to high school essayists, but they actually originate from a Washington Post contest launched in 1993 called the Style Invitational. Here are a few stand-outs.
Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides
gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances
like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog
makes just before it throws up.
Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a
bowling ball wouldn't.
He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck,
either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping
on a land mine or something.
The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender
leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard
bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up
What else did I find? An email from a foodie recommending menu choices at a Chinese restaurant (order Peking duck and don't forget to ask for the carcass to be made into a broth/soup which should be presented at the end of the meal).
Emails with diet tips cancelled out by emails with recipes, an email from a butcher with a homekill cutting list attached (we have steers on some land up north and one is unmanageable. Fret not, he still lives). I found a receipt for a meditation tape that promises to increase my creativity and correspondence with the manufacturer over a rusty washing machine.
And while I was sifting and smiling, I was thinking about character and what the emails I’ve saved say about mine. And how the toughest job of a writer is to create people who have the rich, quirky layers of real human beings.
So how about you? Is there an email filed away in your in-box folders that makes you smile? Are we humans hardwired to accumulate, even if it’s electronically?
May sees the release of A Prior Engagement about a guy who comes back from the dead to discover he's accumulated a fiancee, the same woman who turned him down on the eve of deployment. Go to www.karinabliss.com for more details.