Whenever I watch’ French Kiss’, a favourite feel good movie, I think of emoticons. It’s not Meg Ryan, just something her character Kate said. Kate is incapable of dissembling. Her face is an open book, she says, that fits the corresponding expressions with the corresponding emotions: smile =- happy, frown = sad. I can totally relate because that’s how I often get myself into trouble. Sometimes I will also get myself into trouble in print. I’ll write something that sounds just dandy in my head, then when I get a response I hadn’t anticipated I revisit what I’d said and realise that how differently my thought has come off the electronic page . I suspect that I am not alone because WordPress has a Preview option before you publish. Even then I sometimes get things wrong or miss things.
The electronic highway is littered with smiley faces. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, they are here, there and everywhere and although I resisted for the longest time, I have finally succumbed and joined the happy throng. 🙂 I used to think that being a writer meant I should be able to convey my meaning through my words rather than a tiny pixelated pic, I found I was wrong. Smiley has been an occasional life saver but recently I’m finding myself using it indiscriminately.
I’m sure I didn’t have the same sort of problem when I hand wrote. There’s something so immediate about posting on the internet and even if you can take it back and revise your words it’s just not the same. In the good old days (that I wouldn’t revisit for (excuse me) words) when I was handwriting letters to friends, I’d make a start with a draft (yes even letters got drafted). The pages lay on my desk for a couple of days till I could get back to them and pick up on what I hadn’t noticed in the white hot heat of that first draft. All my writing used to be like that; write, re-write, cross out and then find a clean sheet to start the process all over again. Computers have cut and paste and all sorts of handy, helpful contrivances that make a writer’s life easy. Lots of gains (including the smileys) but I do think we’ve lost something along the way as we always do when it comes to progress.
Have you noticed that out of the thousands of possible emoticons available to us today, the smiley is the most popular? It’s said that the internet has brought us closer together, and in some ways it has,. We used to let our features do the talking: Angry = frown, happy = smile. People knew immediately how I was feeling on any given issue. Now smiley is the avatar that represents me and softens the unemotional nature of the electronic media I use. 🙂