Going Postal: What to Write? or, Simone’s Summer 2012 Attempt

The seventh edition of my series Going Postal: A Column About Postcards.

Postcards can be tricky things to write if you have a brain stuck in travel.  I know I have serious problems writing postcards of any significance if I am not thousands of miles away from my home.  Without the thrill of new sights, different cultures, and strange languages to write about a postcard seems to have a lot more space to fill.  I have been known to send 45 postcards in one week while travelling but only three in a year while at home…

My friend Simone seems to have the same problem (or so she might claim) because every time I receive a postcard from her it has some strange story or psychotic episode scrawled across the back.  Simone has returned home for the summer, living with her parents, and working in Vancouver, BC, a place she finds normal and routine I’m sure.

The Defender, Simone’s current taste in postcard art confuses me…

My most recent postcard from Simone is…unique.  A painting graces the front, one of The Defender, a rather expensive reprint of a “Chromolithograph Postal Card” circa 1900, likely printed in Italy.  This reproduction is part of the Oldtimer series by Distinctive Graphic Imaging (Calgary) for Pioneer Postcards (Kelowna), but I don’t really know the significance, and neither does Simone judging by the arrow and two question marks pointing at “KDO JAKOBUH?”  (It translates from Basque as “Buhl shall kdo” if that helps)

The message is slightly cryptic.  To the uninitiated, you might think she is serious when she says she’s giving everything up and moving to the forest to live in a complex series of hammock forts, only coming back for hay fever meds and to get several tiny rabbits tattooed on her face.  Where will she live?  What will she do?  Why would she go if she has such bad hay fever?

But you don’t know Simone.  Simone’s background as a student in UVic’s Creative Writing program shows why her brain might go on these fanciful joyrides, left so incomplete by the limited postcard area.  She’s simply encouraging me to fill in the gaps of her story!  What will the complex hammock forts look like, where will she get them, why is she leaving civilization, and why the rabbits?

I can probably answer that last bit.  Next to the admission “I never know what to write on Postcards, can you tell?” is a hand-drawn image of “the last UVic bunny.”  UVic, our university, was once famed for its population of not-so-wild feral rabbits.  Last year there was a large clean-up, thousands of rabbits being taken away to nature sanctuaries in the US.  This might explain it, Simone might be missing the furry little creatures.

Ironically, this little black bunny qualifies Simone’s postcard for my Summer 2012 postcard initiative, something Simone was disheartened to have missed before she sent it.  However, I asked for a favourite memory from my island and I’m counting this as Simone’s entry.  So, Simone, congratulations on being my second  Summer 2012 card!

This might explain the tattoos…

So the next time you’re out of words for a postcard, especially when you’re at home, do as my friend Simone does and write the first crazy story that pops into your head.  It is sure to astonish, confuse, confound, worry, entertain, and bring joy to the recipient who will remember it much longer than a “wish you were here” message.  Keep ’em coming everyone!

I’m totally making up the meaning for her postcard by the way.  The best part about a cryptic message is reading into it and filling in the blanks.  I have no clue how her thought process works!

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