on not writing


Regular readers of my blog might have noticed that I haven’t solicited signups for my newsletter (see sidebar) in many many months. I write a piece of analogue email (a postcard !) to each sign up. Indeed I often felt like the only thing between me and the Royal Mail’s profits as I wrote prolifically every week. Often up to 10 or or so postcards a week. Sometimes to a friend having a bad time, sometimes just some friendly mail to welcome someone home from a trip or piece of mail for someone living through grief. Marathon postcard writing is my thing. I once wrote a postcard a day for 6 months to a friend diagnosed with a brian tumour many thousands of miles away. I used to write 2 or 3 times a week to my grandmother Sylvia in Sydney Australia. She was not a silver surfing grannie though out childhood was punctuated by blue air letters she wrote from Johannesburg and her writing so familiar. My mother wrote back of course. in those days phone calls were a once a year event at that.

My grannie was cool – really cool. Stylish and an artist though unacknowledged. She produced, weaving, ceramics, knitting all to a very high standard while being married to a very social Highlands North doctor. Having her kids hide their friends on the run from the authorities in her house. She was elegant and well dressed. There possibly were good outcomes for me the slovenly and unsylish granddaughter living many many thousands of miles from her.

Earlier this year my dad phoned and said that my grannie had died. That very afternoon I’d taken a card of a drawing and written to my grandmother.

And from that moment on I became an ex writer. I would look at postcards in a gallery and NOT buy them – for in my head what was the point without my grandmother to write to? My postal communication to friends dwindled to nothing. I’m not sure in this digital age they even noticed. For 5 months I’ve hardly put pen to paper. And strangely writing like planning, or thinking on paper has stopped as well – as if the act of writing these small pieces of communication tapped something else at the same time. Other things have taken the place of writing instead i’m thinking in yarn, the results of which burst out of plastic bags all over my living room but its a different form of thinking and one which has a concrete outcome which I like for a change.

However there are stirrings. I’m thinking of offering Postal Joy again as I recon we all need something to connect us and keep us going through winter. Do sign up for the newsletter if you would like to be kept informed and get special newsletter discounts.

  1. i’m sorry that you lost your grandmother. i lost mine on st. patrick’s day this year. i realised that my world suddenly stood still and i’d have to force myself to put one foot in front of the other in order to carry on. knowing that my sweet gramma would have wanted me to continue doing the things i enjoy rather than being swallowed up by sorrow has definitely helped. warm thoughts are being sent your way!

    • aww thanks! I’ve been really struck how the things i’ve taken for granted have stopped. I have been doing lots of crafting in a way part of her legacy too.

  2. Val Bijl said:

    Thank you Mary I have all your cards. Been meaning to find a special box for just the ones you sent!. Not sure about following blogs though this one was very interesting to read. I am almost tempted to come off Fb. because it take up too much time these days. But then I would loose so much that I do value. this has been one of them Love Val

    • Hi Val

      I know what you mean about facebuik! I was tempted to leave a few weeks ago but held off as I’d loose contact/ news about lots of people I know if I did! I hope that more snail mail will make its way down to Dumfries now.

  3. mango lassie said:

    I’m so sorry Mary. Your granny sounds like a legend, and it’s very very hard when someone like that is suddenly gone. I only sent her one card, but I’m glad I could help your postcard project in some way. She will have appreciated all that you did from across the miles. I know I’ve enjoyed receiving your cards. Keep up the Postal Joy, the knitting and your brillant blog. These are the things that keep us all going. -mango lassie (aka jcstewartphoto)

  4. I’m sorry for your loss Mary. Your grandmother sounds like a remarkable woman, as, indeed was mine. Just this afternoon I had a pang of nostalgia for the time when there two postal deliveries a day and frequent letters or postcards from family and friends.

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