Veronique Darwin

P.S.

In My Writing, Thoughts on Writing on August 11, 2012 at 12:35 am

P.S. doesn’t exist anymore. Now we can always scroll back and fit in what we wanted to say. Nothing has to come post script anymore. But I miss P.S.

I miss making mistakes and having to cross them out or leave dark marks from bad erasers. I knew the function of P.S. for only a short amount of time in my life, when I still exchanged hand-written letters with the fellow neighbourhood spies of my childhood. Even for the small amount of time I needed it, P.S. still meant a lot to me.

P.S. meant I could say more than I first thought I needed to. P.S. meant I could tell you anything. P.S. meant I could make a mistake and amend it and not be ashamed. It meant I could tell you I loved you, I could tell you a joke, I could tell you a small anecdote that didn’t fit with the tone of the rest of my letter to you.

Now computers have obliterated the function of P.S. Still, we cling to its value. We often leave post-scripts in emails; we make movies about letter exchanges with voice-overs that read obligatory “P.S.” messages after the signature. We have equivocated P.S. with a nostalgia for the medium from which it came: letters.

I have been writing a letter to my friend Natasha for two months. I place it on my bed each day so it is in a central area where I am bound to take notice of it and complete it. I can’t. I can’t write a letter anymore.

I imagine Natasha wrote to me from a park bench looking out over summer in Edmonton. I can’t write back because though I want to, I think only that I could get my message out so much faster in an email. I think only that the letter I started two months ago is now old, that it no longer says what I need it to say. If I were to join my letter again, take it by the hand and complete it, my letter would be a letter of post scripts.

P.S. This is no longer the letter I wanted.

P.S. I have so much more to tell you.

P.S. Somewhere between your last letter and this letter that never got sent, you got married! (P.S. Congratulations, Natasha!!)

I have lost the ability to write straight through, to write a letter to the fellow spies in my neighbourhood and not second guess myself. I no longer have the fail safe of the final P.S. I think writing on a computer has changed the type of writer I might have been by hand.  At least I’m certain this is the case with letters. What a letter writer I might have been. I might have written letters every day. I might have had a correspondence with someone.

What is this nostalgia I’m feeling? I feel it in me, a grasping at the written word that I can only express by typing quickly from my nails onto this computer. I’ve changed, but I want to go back – back to a place I never knew, where post script was not a Latin word but a tool I used to tell you I don’t want to be done this letter, that I have something else to say.

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