Monday, 2 August 2021

Letters from Greece – by Ruth Bonetti

When did you last receive a real-live letter? In a stamped envelope? Special, non?

When a friend mailed me a postcard, I mused how rare letters are in these digital days. How much will be lost in the ether when we move upstairs? 

Letters from seven years’ exploits in Europe almost 50 years ago were diligently typed by my “surrogate mother”. (Précis: When two daughters flew their wings she opened her home and heart to a lonely waif in a proactive move against empty nest syndrome. When I also headed overseas, she was an avid correspondent and shared our lives. "MorMor" and her love still resonate after her death.) 

Letters are Treasure Troves for posterity

What a gift to read letters of our adventures after we returned home! They remind me of my day’s bus tour of Mycenae, Ephesus and Corinth. "Ten hours on a bus is no joy with a Delphi-belly. During stops, I made quick, glassy-eyed forays out, then crept back to the bus." (Remember travel?)

Of  meeting a donkey (not a goat, python or an oracle) at the Corycian Cave on Mount Parnassus, overlooking Delphi. This sanctuary was dedicated to the Greek satyr godling Pan. 

Write YOUR Life Stories

At Saturday’s Omega Writers Book Fair Anne Hamilton urged us to write memoirs for future generations. (How blessed are we, that as in 2020, Omega Writers Book Fair went ahead just before lockdown.) 


• How will our descendants piece together our lives without hardcopy written letters? 
• How will they discover about their forebears and discern generational patterns?

“What if your calling is not for this lifetime but later?” Anne challenged. “What if your calling is not for this lifetime but later?” She told of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a medieval epic that languished suppressed, unread for 500 years until popularised by Tolkein. 
“Words have a life of their own. Practise hope.” Her book Dealing with Azazel links Pan to a spirit of rejection, panicked flight and – all too topical – PANdemic. Dealing with Azazel: Spirit of Rejection: Strategies for the Threshold #7

Another Greek island; another cave 

Imagine St John the Evangelist in his Patmos Cave of the Apocalypse, writing parchment scrolls to seven churches. Could he have dreamed how many would read his letters of Revelations after Caxton invented the printing press? Or that 2000 years later livestream services beam around the world to hundreds, even thousands? (Sermon credit: Rev Canon Gary Harch at St Mary's Kangaroo Point.) 

Book Fair panel on marketing 

Speakers reminded us to embrace digital technologies of eBooks, Podcasts, Audio Books. We came away uplifted and energised after learning from each other, supporting other writers, and brimming with ideas to send our words around the world wide web. 

St John's gospel concludes: 
"It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true."

What true testimony are you called to write for posterity?


Ruth is grateful for prolific letter-writing forebears, whose treasure troves she shares in her Midnight Sun to Southern Cross Trilogy. View her recent book launch of The Art Deco Mansion St Lucia: What drove the man who built it? Ruth's Indie Publisher great-uncle Karl Johan Back enjoys some limelight at events and ghosts his own FaceBook Author page



  1. Thanks Ruth. I have fond childhood memories of the exciting days when a letter from my sister would arrive all the way from Penang, Malaya. We'd all read them several times over. And my best friend as a teenager was actually my penpal. In the early years of my married life we lived interstate from my parents and the letters my mum and I exchanged were so important.

    I'm very encouraged by the thought of written words having longevity beyond the moment. While I've not considered memoir as such, I've written several short stories in which I've captured elements of family history or scuttlebutt passed down from earlier generations as a way of capturing atmosphere, pertinent themes, momentous moments, or the goodness of God in the midst.

    Just the other day, I read 2 Corinthians 3:2 where the Apostle Paul says, "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone." That's both a challenge and an encouragement I think.

    And thanks for sharing Annie's encouraging suggestion that our calling is not as fleeting as our lives. Especially helpful when milestone birthday celebrations loom large!

  2. Thanks Mazzy for your encouragement, and for alerting us the verse that we ourselves are letters!
    So many fresh insights from Annie's talk, even though I'd already read her recent book, she went way deeper and really encouraged and heartened.