Friday, 18 November 2011


Write, you say to yourself.
Just do it. Just put some words on paper, one after the other, no one is looking.
You've got so much to say.

But none of these things are actually true (anymore).

No words are ever put 'on paper' as such, if you ignore the occasional postcard and thank you note. (I have been told by some friends that my habit of sending physical Xmas cards is a quirky and endearing trait. That's how old age creeps up on you: the telltale sign is retention of good manners rather hearing loss).

No one was looking or could have cared less when you filled diary after diary, and wasted small forests on difficult first, challenging second and hopeless third unpublished novels plus a slim 'memoir'. But to blog is to write in public.

And since we're at it, do you really have that much to say?

For starters, I am so confused by the different personas one needs to face the different requirements of one's social (media) life - the newsy, homely Facebook updates, the cynical, super compressed Twitter chirps, the humble yet Machiavellian office email, that I genuinely don't know what "writing" means anymore.

What writing means depends on who you are, what you write as and for.

At 20 I didn't know myself particularly well, but sure as hell could produce, you know, text.

Now I'm paralyzed by anxiety: am I writing as an Italian abroad? As a feminist? As a woman of 42 who lives in London and reads the Guardian and likes films? As a professional in a given industry? As the friend or acquaintance of the only people who, initially at least, will read this?

My long-hand efforts on paper were also of course bound to only be read by a few select people but somehow I was able to forget that and write for the anonymous many. Whereas as I begin to blog I can't shake of the feeling that my annoying colleague next door and a couple of nasty ex boyfriends in other countries are looking over my shoulder, laughing at my choice of adverbs and taking instant offence at my every observation.

Old-fashioned writing took a certain heroic suspension of disbelief: yes this thought, this idea, this image matters, it is important that you write it down even if no one will read it. Thoughts and ideas and images like beautiful, secret unpolished gems, waiting to be brought into the light.

This writing can only ever be small and utilitarian, each post a solid little pebble to throw in a not too deep puddle of every day life's worries, rumours and fads. Belief or otherwise doesn't even come into it anymore. At most one hopes to develop a habit, a knack for it.
We shall see.
For now, write.


  1. Oscar miglior esordio. E ovviamente scrivi anche per gli ex-boyfriend. Who doesn't?

  2. I, for one, hope your habit sticks and look forward to reading all you have to write. XO

  3. May I have a pass into the inner sanctum of this exclusive club, please?

  4. Lovely stuff. I already look forward to you illuminating your next little gem.

  5. Thanks you guys! You might live to regret the early, reckless encouragement...