Some of you may know that I have a regular column in the Australian Jewish News. (And for those of you who will inevitably ask, yes I am Jewish, no I don't speak Hebrew, no I do not go to synagogue every week, no I do not celebrate Christmas. For any further questions about the Chosen People, please email me.)
So here’s the thing. In my entire eight years or so at the Jews News, I have received very little positive feedback. Only about 50% of all letters to the editor about me have been positive. In fact, exactly 50% of all letters to the editor about me have been positive. The other one was not.
The positive letter arrived by email, written by a suspiciously single monikered correspondant called ‘Cloudman’ or ‘Threeprong’ or something like that. It stated that I was a very good writer, and that ‘what Kerri does is a lot harder than it looks’. Now, this isn’t quite true, as what I do is exactly as hard as it looks, but hey, I’ll take a compliment however it comes.
The other letter, written by someone called Luby Loo or Liberty Bell or whatever was rather less flattering. ‘Kerri is pathetic, useless and crap’ it said, or words to this effect. To be honest, I couldn’t quite understand the letter, as it was very cerebral, and included the words ‘trivial’, ‘disenfranchised’ and ‘mondongo’ (okay, so not really that last one, but I’ve been dying to use ‘mondongo’ in a sentence).
So my point is, aside from Cloudman Threeprong and Luby Bell, I have no idea if anyone actually reads my columns. So in my latest column, I extended an invitation to all my readers to email me with their feedback.
Well, the Jews News only came out on Thursday, and it's early days yet, but so far there have been dozens of emails. Using 'dozens' in its minimalist sense of 'five'.
The first four emails were lovely, complimentary notes about how much the correspondant enjoys my columns. Then the fifth was a very helpful email from a man named 'Gruff Crumpet' (not his real name, though it possibly should be).
Gruff decided to provide me with some constructive feedback on my work. My latest column, he wrote, was the best, "for the simple reason that you:
a. didn't mention your children
b. didn't mention your husband and
c. didn't mention your domestic or personal travails."
So in a column about family life and the myriad of minor crises that befall me every day, the only bad bits are those about my kids, spouse and problems. Which is fine. I can totally understand. And, happily, there's still a lot in my writing left over to love. There's the font, for example. There is the impressive array of prepositions and conjunctions. And there are the occasional references to non familial nouns ('banana' comes to mind), and to topics that do not involve any personal travail on my part ('banana' also comes to mind).
So from now on, I shall try to do as Gruff Crumpet advises: Life And Other Crises, with no problems, kids or spouses.
Stay tuned, people. It's going to be great. Banana split, anyone?