Monday, 1 November 2010

Pen and Paper

I, like many others, have let my handwriting go to the dogs.
I even have trouble with my signature, so rare is the occasion that I am required to produce it. Almost 99.9% of my communication with family, friends, businesses, bureaucracy etc happens online via a keyboard or touch pad.

Even my old writers bump on the inside, left, top of my middle finger has almost disappeared.

I used to joke about one day opening up a shop called Ye Olde Pen and Paper Store so that people could ponder and marvel over the weird tools humans used to use to communicate...I think I'd better get cracking.

Thank (insert-higher-deity here), for Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire and their brilliant concept of gathering together some top-notch lovely women to write letters to a topic and to come together to read them out to who-ever was interested in popping along to listen.
Women of Letters event was born.

I attended two of these events over Winter 2010 in the beautiful, shabby, atmospheric Trades Hall in Melbourne, and marvelled at the relaxed, joyous, cheery atmosphere and the braveness of the women reading their correspondence to us, loosened up audience members, relaxed by the provision of alcohol! This letter writing caper had the women revealing themselves through open, frank, hilarious, raw, sad, emotional stuff and had the the audiences mesmerised.

At each "of Letters" event we are provided with aerograms to pen correspondence to whom-ever we choose and Marieke and Co. provide stamps AND a posting box. I have taken these opportunities to pen actual letters, glass of wine in hand, to recipients who shall remain nameless here. Somehow, pen and paper create an entirely different type of correspondence from me full of carefully crafted and chosen words (no delete button here) sincerity, and reflection. In signing off these letters a wave of emotion washed over me - why, I wonder?

What a brilliant way to waste a Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday October 31st I was fortunate to experience the inaugural Men of Letters and what a joy and a privilege it was. 10 top-shelf blokes reading us their correspondence to the topic "the woman who changed my life".

This time the event was held at the little-bit-swanky Thornbury Theatre and we sat at tables with candles, cupcakes and tablecloths! All very awards presentation night-ey.

I got to sit amongst strangers who all felt like friends and met someone I'd been very much looking forward to meeting - my new chum and cyber-sister from another-mother. Here's her blog Gourmet Girlfriend and her post on Men of Letters is there too! X

What we all witnessed was simply astounding and amazing and beautiful and emotional and raw and hilarious and soul-stirring and stand-up-applaudingly BRILLIANT.

It should have been filmed, there simply MUST be transcripts put up somewhere, so that those who missed it can get a minor grasp on why so many of us are FROTHING on about this momentous occasion.

The ones who reached inside and squeezed my gut were:

Bob Ellis - To his partner. I knew he would be erudite, ambivalent, verbose, pithy, witty and maudlin - and he was - as well as gut-wrenchingly poignant and raw and I wept as well as guffawed at his unexpected slights-of-humour.

Tim Rogers - admitted all his failings, scorned the buffoonery of his behaviour whilst inebriated and oozed his pain, sorrow and regret at having driven away the woman of his heart then showed us his musical genius by finishing with a song that rattled hearts and minds "Please Forgive Me"

Eddie Perfect - clever, pithy, funny observations to his partner and Mother of his young daughter. True observations on the often batty, nonsensical conversations between life partners and the acknowledgement that families, as they expand, just get weirder.

Ben Salter (The Gin Club) - a loving, entertaining, adoring, forthright and respectful letter of praise and comradery written in awe and admiration to his only sibling, his older sister who trailblazed 6-years ahead of him and rang so true for me (the eldest of 5). I teared up on this one too.

Paul Kelly *sigh* In my final year at high school we had, what I deemed to be, the misfortune of studying Shakespeare's Othello. Sooooooo boring....SO who "why didn't we get one of the funny ones or Romeo and Juliet?" I found out why, yesterday. Paul Kelly read his letter written as Othello. Writhing in pain and anguish, having murdered his Desdemona, lashing himself for having been consumed by jealousy and rage, after listening to and believing the poisonous and evil whisperings and mind games of the venomous Iago. So incredibly powerful - it was mind-blowing and to top it all off he broke into unaccompanied song full of the pain and anguish of Othello and his voice rang sharp and clear as a bell throughout the auditorium and over a hushed and astonished audience.

Thank-you Marieke and Michaela and all involved.

Yesterday took my breath away and I'm only just breathing out.

Now to lighten things up a little...


  1. I stand here asking myself "Is it possible I am still wiping the tears from yesterday?" They aren't sad tears- just tears from a soul filled to overflowing.
    It was a momentous day- those men poured their hearts into ours. Although the audience was several hundred it felt as if we were being spoken/sung to alone.
    It was so FABTASTICAL to finally meet you- and I have to say- it could not have been a more f***ing fantastic event to do so!
    Already looking forward to catching up with you again at Novembers session!

  2. Wow, I have been intrigued about these events, but now based on this post I want to attend one even more! Thanks for sharing!


Comments are much appreciated.
Feel free to share this with others who may find it of interest.