During a FaceTime chat with my sister on Friday I asked her to read my recent blog post. She squinted at her screen when the page loaded. She haltingly read out the post title and as her eyes flickered to the end of the two short preview lines, she seemed – startled.
Sister: It’s really long. I make mine really short.
Me: Yeh I’ve noticed the average is about 500 words –
Sister: You could cut it up into a few – that’s what I do with mine.
Me: Will you read it though?
Sister: Um. Yes – but it’s really long.
I have a sneaking suspicion my sister never got round to reading the 1000+ word post.
But why would my sister just decide not to read it? As though there was something off putting about the post? It’s not as though reading upwards of one thousand, unedited, unstructured thoughts that relate to a situation she has no genuine interest in would be something she just wouldn’t do! No – I thought, waking in a clammy sweat sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning – there had to be a reason.
I decided to investigate.
After a weekend of papers, pins, red string and coffee I have boiled it down to this solid theory:
My sister can’t read.
So how did I come up with this? It really goes back to that look of horror as she surveyed the post, as she comprehended the numerical value of the words she was confronted with. Call it intuition – the seed was planted. Saturday, I trawled her social media profiles – posts about teaching children and her English degree I decided to put to one side. I mean – everyone lies on their Facebook page don’t they? Holiday photos irked me when I tried to fall asleep sometime round 4am on Sunday morning – what was missing? Sun, check, bikini, check, alcohol, check. But there was something – not right. It hunted me through a patchy, nightmarish sleep and the answer woke me around half-six on Sunday morning:
The book was missing.
Everyone reads on holiday, don’t they? And why wouldn’t they – AS LONG AS THEY COULD? The last piece of the puzzle came from my brother and his words sealed it. He too had asked Becky to read things he’d written in the past. And he said she never did.
This is in essence an act of reaching out. If my sister comes back to me with a reaction, perhaps I’ll rescind my theory and look a little closer to home. She alluded to this concept known as ‘concision’ in writing. Perhaps, if it turns out that I’m actually wrong, and that my sister can read, I might look into that.