Illustration by Shae San Sim

Written by Kasumi Borczyk



Subject: The First Day Of Spring

Dear F,

Thank-you for your e-mail…

Every time your name appears at the top of my inbox, something inside of me stirs frenetically like a small bird inside of a knapsack. That thing you said about [REDACTED] being the most dangerous form of [REDACTED] was such a classic ‘you’ thing to say. I even read it with your signature dead-pan mien. As lame as it sounds, it made me want to reach into the screen and embrace you in some kind of pixellated form.

Come to think of it, it’s pretty crazy how these synapses are firing away in our brains to manufacture thoughts or whatever, and then those thoughts are translated into some kind of alphabetised sequence which is typed into a piece of hardware and sent through the ether in some kind of binary code and retranslated for you to read and, just like that, human consciousness is made shareable. Doesn’t it scare you too that something as primal as communicative exchange can be shrouded in so much mysticism and mediated by the powers of [REDACTED] and [REDACTED]?

I thought what you said about the possibility of political action was so interesting. Trying to change anything via [REDACTED] [REDACTED] or even via [REDACTED] feels futile. The worst part is that we can’t even at least conscientiously object because our monkey-brained addiction to [REDACTED] renders us beholden to the very powers that chips away at our [REDACTED]  [REDACTED] in the name of “progress.”

We could try to organise laterally by using [REDACTED]? but what good would that do? The a l g o r i t h m would probably still pick up on words like [REDACTED] or [REDACTED]

The other day, I was sending an email to grandma about how I’d just finished planting string beans and sweet corn in the garden and that I hoped she was enjoying the sunshine on the first day of [REDACTED]. She replied to my email to tell me that the word [REDACTED] had been redacted
(because of its allusions to political up [REDACTED]’s like the “ [REDACTED] time of Nations” or the “A r a b [REDACTED].”
Can you believe that I had to practically pantomime the words to her in a roundabout way? I said that what I really meant was that I hoped she was enjoying that particularly balmy kind of [REDACTED] during [the temperate season between winter and summer] but apparently the word c l i m 8 doesn’t comply with community guidelines either…Of course G-ma could read between the lines (you know how she is…still sharp as a tack at eighty-seven!) but still, I was enraged by the principle. F, who could have ever imagined that something as innocuous as weather-talk would become so politically charged?!

The most harebrained part of it all is that the [REDACTED] have spun all of this into some kind of opportunity to reinvent language and come up with fun and exciting ways to circumnavigate the community guidelines when everybody knows that we’re far too preoccupied with being liked and seen to risk being nominally creative. Instead of coming up with new modes of communicative exchange, it feels as though our capacity to communicate has [REDACTED] down to an ever- narrowing set of possibilities.

Remember the first few months of our “courtship?” How we’d write letters to each other accompanied by nude polaroids labelled “for your eyes only?” or “burn after reading”? I still have your postcard blue-tacked on my wall — the one with so many stamps that it half-obscures the mountain-range. Remember how you weren’t sure how much it was supposed to cost to send a postcard and so you overcompensated because you said you didn’t meet a single local whose face was trustworthy enough to ask? I hope you’ve come to trust those around you a little more — although I somehow wouldn’t bet my cryptocurrency on it. Somebody recently told me that we are only about two centuries away from evolving to have a naturally claw-like grip that will render handwriting near impossible but which will be primed for texting. Imagine birthing a child with touchpad styluses for fingers because this is essentially the future that awaits us all.

Sometimes I look back and laugh at how we used to be so scared of this or that political [REDACTED] — like when [REDACTED] became our [REDACTED]. On the night of the election I remember we were holding each other, sobbing and silently wondering what free doms would be forfeited during his “rain.” History certainly makes fools of us all. If only we knew that the real [REDACTED] were hijacking our [REDACTED] all this time through [REDACTED].

All this is to say that I love and I miss you very much. I hope I haven’t bored you with the ramblings of a madwoman and I hope that none of this will get you into any trouble anywhere down the track. I love you. I love you like a bird loves the first day of [the temperate season between winter and summer.]