Fan mail

oday I thought I'd write a post about being thankful. Three or five things that I am thankful for that emerged from the last week. Inventing Liz does this, as does Laura at A(n) (un)Common Family.  I am truly, truly thankful for a few things right now, but on the surface they are rather naff and in the ocean they are...the ocean. I worry that I won't have the words I need without running over the deepest cracks and that's what I'd need to do in order to lay out the lines, the maps, the joiners, the trip to the thank you and thankfulness. I will say that I am incredibly blessed to be right where I am right now, soaked in love and love and love and love.

So what I thought I'd do instead is share a letter I wrote to an actress when I was 11. The actress was Melissa George, an Australian woman who has appeared in a few Amercian TV shows and the odd sci-fi or spooky American Hollywood number. She is currently appearing in the screen adaptation of the very popular Australian novel, The Slap. When I was 11, she had her breakthrough role on the Australian nightly soap, Home and Away, of which I was an avid viewer. She is still arguably best known for that role.She was 16 at the time.

I was besotted and wanted to write her a fan letter. Except I didn't want it to be like any other fan letter. I wanted to write something meaningul. Something that cut through. I still remember sitting in my room at the time, a room I shared with a friend because I wasn't living with my mother, and penning this letter. I must have typed it up later, or what I remembered of it later on, because I have a typed copy. I submitted it, and Melissa's response, as part of a collection of writing that we had to complete in our last year of primary school. I found this scrapbook of stories the other day when I found my children's books. Looking at the other stories that I wrote at the time, I can say with confidence that I was reading A LOT of V.C. Andrews at the time. Under the covers with a torch, because my mother was not a fan of me reading such trashy writing, let alone the very explicit themes dealt in even the tamest of her novels. One of the short stories involves the lead character being raped at knifepoint, strung up to a tree in the snow and dying of hypothermia. Cheery.

So here's the letter. I'm going to write it as it was written, with poor grammar and the odd spelling error.

Dear Melissa

Hi my name is Jessie. I am just writing a short note to compliment you on your great work in Home and Away.

I watch Home and Away all the time and I really like your character Angel. I reckon your acting is fantastic considering that you have a stable background and that you play the part of a streetkid.

I have been reading some articles on you lately and I watched your interview on Real Life. I just want to let you know that I am hoping to run a place like Oasis for street kids when I am older. I dont know how I am going to go about it though because I find the whole prospect of the thing incredibly sad because if parents were just more kind to their children there wouldnt have to places like Oasis. If you see them again can you please tell them that all my wishes are with them?

I hope you don't find this letter too boring. I am a rather boring person.

My best friend is sitting here pestering me to read this letter out to her but I flat refuse. She wouldn't understand it. She thinks writing to t.v. personalities is like gushing over them and saying how pretty or handsome they are. I mean, I reckon your pretty but thats not the reason I wrote for. I dont like people to think I am a idiot. I mean if I was an actress or singer I wouldnt mind getting fan mail like that but I would like normal letters and to be treated like a normal person. I am not sure if you sympathise with me on that matter.

Well I'm sorry this letter was soooo boring but I really cant help it.


From Jessie

P.S. Please write back!

She did write back. A handwritten, personal letter. Opening line? "Your letter blew me away". I was extremely chuffed. I carried the letter around in my bag for a long time.

There's part of me that wants to sob for my 11 year old self when I look back at the letter. I was already suffering from the awkwardness of not wanting to do what everyone else did and trying to push through anyway. I was being brave in the simple act of writing that letter in the way I wanted to write it. I had also already started what would be an enduring habit of self-deprecation. Apologising for nothing; for being boring. Putting myself down. Covering off on everything I did in case it was thought of as awful, but desperately wanting it to be applauded. What I wouln't learn for many, many years, and can still struggle with, is that if you tell people something is shit, as part of the merry-go-round of seeking approval and fearing perceptions, they'll think it's shit. End of story. You cannot apologise for exisiting as a default position. Just this year I bought a print - "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong". I spoke about this in my first blog post. I am being challenged right now with NaBloPoMo, because I don't like my writing when I churn. I am churning, but I'm pushing through.

I love my attempt at using big, proper words, and I love when it falls flat. My favourite part of a line: " I find the whole prospect of the thing". Rising up with 'prospect' and falling flat with 'thing'. I still write too many things.

My commitment to social justice intrigues me. I knew it started early, but not neccessarily this early. Wanting to help the street kids. Wanting their parents to be 'more kind', so the world would turn correctly. Wanting her to pass on all my wishes to the street kids. And now all these years later, I am jumping in feet first to hopefully become the kinder parent. A parent that can parent in a way that will hopefully stop places like Oasis being neccessary. For my kid/s, at least.

Finally, I laugh at what a little Aussie I was. I reckon!


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