09 November 2008
For the last few days I’ve been struggling to think of something to write for the Daily Boop and today I’m beginning to understand why.
Y’see, there’s a certain dishonesty that goes with the job of a copywriter and I’m not talking about hyperbole; I’m talking about the need to write ‘Truman’ copy… copy that paints the picture of a perfect world, where the brand never reflects on past mistakes and immediately, wordlessly disassociates itself with something (or someone) that just doesn’t work.
Now I’m not about to launch into a what’s-wrong-with-advertising monologue because a) it’s Sunday, b) I don’t really care that much, and c) the Daily Boop is about me me me! But I do think that I’ve lost a little of myself in the shiny, happy copy I write in my nine-to-five, and looking back over my posts at the Daily Boop, I can see ‘shiny, happy’ emerging here, too.
So it’s time for some honesty and this means balancing the funny with the profound… starting now.
As I sift through the things I've written over the years, I'm occasionally taken aback by the palpable emotion in some of my earlier work, like in this piece I wrote for my mum for Mothers Day back in 1996. What makes it even more profound is that 12 years later we are all but strangers.
I had been living in Adelaide for about ten months, having left Hobart to pursue my writing career. It was coming up to Mothers Day and I recall being desperately lonely - missing my family and friends, but mostly my Mum. I was also flat broke, so with emotions running high and probably just enough money to buy a postage stamp, I wrote this and sent it to her.
It’s eleven minutes past three on Tuesday the Seventh of May 1996 – nine thousand six hundred and forty-eight days, ten hours and fifty-nine minutes since you gave birth to me.
It’s almost Mothers Days... your twenty seventh Mothers Day, my twenty-seventh Mothers Day… our first apart.
I want to tell you so much and there is so much to tell.
I want to tell you about my first memories of you.
About how I dreaded going a day without hearing your gentle, tender voice and wrapping me in your warm hugs.
I still do.
I remember you sitting on my bed to say goodnight, and how I wouldn't let you go until I’d fallen asleep.
And you stayed.
I remember how special the days were when you’d collect me from school. It was like coming from the mouth of a dragon into the arms of an angel.
I remember the arms I wouldn’t leave after getting a beating from the neighbourhood bully. And I remember the arms that wouldn’t let me go.
I remember waiting for you to collect me from Auntie Colleen’s… just watching the window, waiting for my mum.
Then you’d come and everything would be ok.
I remember the little treasures you’d hide down my bed. Do you remember the book 'You’re a Special Kind of Friend'? Well, you’re my special friend.
I remember how you’d bring me home copies of 'Tracy' and 'Dolly'. And how you’d pull out the bits you thought I shouldn’t read.
And I remember how you’d bring us home Cadbury Snack bars to eat while we watched movies like 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' on Friday nights.
And I remember how jealous I was when you used to tie the girl next door’s hair up because her mum had hurt her hand. You tied mine up too, but you were my Mum.
I remember how you, me and Sasha argued on the way to Lewisham one day. You stopped the car and told us to get out. We wouldn’t. When we did, you drove off, turned around and came straight back. You told us to get in the car. We wouldn’t.
I remember crying because we’d hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you.
I remember the worried Mum that took me off to see Mr Seymour at school. And how she told him that I just wasn’t myself and she just didn’t know what to do.
And the same woman who, not very many years later, dragged me off to the doctor, knowing that something was seriously wrong.
I remember you standing over my hospital bed – neither of us knowing what the hell was happening – and saying, “Do you know that I love you very, very much?”
Well, I love you too. More than you’ll ever know.
When you’re sad I want to cry. When you’re hurt I feel it too. When you’re happy, I’m the happiest girl in the world.
You’re the most precious thing… I could never imagine life without you. And I’d lay down mine right now for you.
And even though we’re so far apart, we’re so close.
If I can be half as loving and nurturing and supporting with my children as you are with me, then they will be the luckiest children alive.
And right now, I’m the luckiest girl.