Saturday, December 04, 2004One good turn
... as they say, deserves another. So - putting the difference in time zones between Australia and the US to its best advantage, I want to be the first to wish our gracious host, Sister Novena, a very happy birthday, for today, Sunday December 5.
I first met her online in January 1997 (on Bill Clinton's second inauguration day, to be precise.) I had just a couple of weeks previously bought myself a computer. I was all set up, connected to the internet, and was thinking "Well, now what?" One evening I stumbled across some online bulletin board thingy, and saw a posting there from a student at a liberal arts college in New England, who stated that she was interested in film and New Zealand. Intrigued, I sent her a three-line email (I think she had even stated her real email address ... wouldn't modern spammers just love that!), and said "Hello - I am from New Zealand ... what do you want to know?"
In return I got a three-paragraph email, which included the following:
"New Zealand seems to be developing a very lively film industry right now, ...
... I particularly admire the films of Jane Campion (both as a filmmaker-wannabe and as a woman trying make some progress in the ranks of the film education system) and Peter... what's his name again? I don't think he's actually a New Zealander, but he did Heavenly Creatures and Meet the Feebles, which was incredible."
And thus began a lively email conversation which has continued to this day. I've always looked forward to receiving a new message from her, and I hope she feels the same about messages from me. (To be fair, Sr Novena has always been the one to reply promptly - I am considerably more slack.)
Since January 97, by my rough estimation, Sr Novena and I have exchanged a couple of thousand emails, plus numerous phone calls, postcards, cds, dvds and other assorted items. Even though I've never met her, and actually only have a vague idea of what she looks like, she is one of my very best friends. Over the seven years, ten months and fifteen days since we encountered each other, we have confided our joys, hopes and fears, shared secrets, bitched and laughed about the world, our families, friends and lovers. It's been great - I really am lucky to have such a dear friend.
So, Sister, you have yourself a great birthday. I'm thinking of you, and I hope the day brings you happiness and fun. Much love