The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

A Lil’ Bit Personal

Bear with me on this one, I’m emotional at the moment.

I’ve kept a diary since I was 15. Well, to be precise, I had a diary when I was 15 and started it again when I was 20, continuing through til today. Last night, my boyfriend and I were talking about the beginning of our relationship and how we decided it was “official”. There’s only one way to find out- my diary from 4 years ago.

This morning I was unpacking some boxes and found two diaries spanning 1999-2001. 1999 was an interesting year- it was the year we moved out of my childhood home, my sister moved to New Zealand, I met my now ex-partner, I turned 21, I was studying Massage Therapy at TAFE and my mum was really sick. It was one of those years that TV shows and books are written about; in hindsight, you can look back and see how that year changed everything you knew. Move over Bryan Adams, here comes the Summer of ’99.


March 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weaving the Truth

A few years ago now, I was at a seminar listening to a woman speak about the profession of copywriting. What she spoke about rang true to me and I realised that I had been copywriting for years without realising it. It was an exciting moment, knowing this was an actual profession and one that paid well and was in high demand! And I already knew the basics!

Fast forward a couple of years and I was stalking websites about university courses. Spurred on by my own bored brain and friends’ suggestions, I was looking for something engaging which would fast track my career. Eventually, I settled on a Communications degree, majoring in Media Communications. It was just the challenge I hoped it would be; expanding my tired brain into new territory, forcing me to think outside the square, teaching me about a world previously hidden.

Most people doing this degree are working towards a qualification in journalism, so there are a lot of journalism-related units to be studied even if you want to stay far, far away from it in your professional life. Recently, the degree structure was changed and I was forced to choose new majors, settling on the twin majors of Public Relations and Screen Studies.

PR is something I knew nothing about. When PR is mentioned, this exchange from Mad About You plays through my brain:

Jamie: You don’t even know what I do!
Paul: You’re in Public Relations.
Jamie: And what does that mean?
Paul: It means that you relate. Publicly.

Now, as I trawl through the unit, I see the web expanding. Journalism, copywriting and PR are tightly intertwined. In the beginning, newspapers wanted to sell advertising space, so they created bigger papers. Copywriters wrote the advertising and journalists couldn’t get enough news to fill these larger publications, so publicists started sending in “puff pieces” promoting entertainment. Around WWI, major organisations, such as the Army, realised public opinion was important so they started hiring promoters to write pieces for papers. Public Relations in Australia was born.

As my textbook attempts to explain that PR is more than spin-doctoring, I’m seeing the web tighten even more. Truth is woven into the messages we see, hear and read every day even though the full truth is rarely presented. In the 1950s, smoking advertising told women that cigarettes formed part of their weight loss regime- smoke more, eat less. You can’t argue with logic like that.


March 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Everyone makes mistakes… right?

Several months ago, I criticised someone for a #spellingfail. Turns out, I was the one who was wrong, a fact the other person did not let me forget. I was criticised for it, then re-tweeted around the Twitterverse. Ouch. Suddenly the joke was on me, but I wasn’t laughing. I was actually quite hurt about it, that I could be so brain dead as to mix up one letter and change the meaning of a word (I got ‘complimentary’ and ‘complementary’ mixed up- it’s an easy mistake). It bothered me for a long time and I deleted my Twitter account for this and a few other reasons (such as, I still don’t quite get Twitter…)

Today, I read a quote from Joyce Carol Oates, from her memoir A Widow’s Story. She talks about the lonely life of a writer and the criticism they face; such is the nature of writing. I stepped back for a moment to think about that. She’s right, of course, we’re all criticised in myriad ways over the course of our lives. But when something is so close to us, so raw, so inherent plus we make a living from it, it hurts. Although writers pride themselves on having a good grasp of language, we’re only human. That’s why white-out and erasers were invented. And when something’s on the internet, it stays on the internet for everyone to see your mistake. So, how ’bout that criticism, hey?

FYI Twitterverse: thankyou, but I can tell the difference between affluent and effluent. If you need help in netiquette, let me know.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment