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Pick up the phone – it’s you calling.

By December 14, 2009How To, Myth or Reality, Writing

callWhen I woke up, I found myself squatting by the side of the bed, holding the phone, staring at the caller ID screen.

It was 1:30 in the morning, and I was confused. I wasn’t home, but home was calling me. “Roads, Julie” my phone blinked at me. As I sat there with my heart pounding, I wondered, rather frantically, Why in the world I was calling myself. What was it that I needed to say? What was so important that it couldn’t wait until, say, 7am?

Eventually, I became alert enough to answer the phone, only to find that it wasn’t me. It was my family – sick and in need of support. But, the damage was done. I was all too curious about the late night booty call I’d envisioned.¬† Just me and me – the rest of the world quiet…and not listening.

What would I say? Would I be kind? Demanding? Funny? Full of insight?

And how would I respond? Would I tell myself to call back at a decent hour? Or listen closely?

I became so intrigued that I thought about this a lot over the next few days. And then I decided to write myself a letter – because I couldn’t really call myself and keep a straight face (and because I am a writer, after all). Too impatient for the postal service (and because I lost my ability to hand write anything longer than a grocery list about 4 years ago), I turned it into an email that was sent and delivered in all of 3 seconds. What can I say, I like instant gratification. Very much.

My letter was a lot of things: a call to arms; a big, wet sloppy kiss; a kick in the pants. It included an ambitious and happily insightful story about what I want to happen next. There were several private (and, yes, hilarious) jokes.

About this same time, Chris Brogan published My Business Wish List for 2010 which I loved because it wasn’t New-Years-Resolution-ish. There was no set-up to fail element to his list, nor – I realized quickly – to my letter. As a writer, though, it did give me the opportunity to take stock of what’s in my head – and to think it through as I transferred the info from brain to fingers to screen and then back into my brain again as I read my words. This is what I do everytime I write. It’s why I write.

It was good, my letter; I liked what I had to say when no one else was listening. I mean, you can’t lie to yourself¬† – well, you can – but you’ll see right through it. In the end, I was glad I ‘took the call’. And, I did listen to myself – I’m a very persuasive writer when I’m filled with passion.

I’m thinking about writing myself back, might suggest we get a drink, possibly even dinner…I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Image credit: Evil Erin

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • --Deb says:

    My problem is that, when I call myself, I get a busy signal. That girl needs to settle down and clear some mental space so I can talk to her!

  • this is a great idea, especially at the end of the year when – like it or not – we are taking stock of 2009.

    i am already thinking of the ways i want 2010 to be different, better, and writing a letter to myself seems like a gentle way to remind myself of the goal.

  • Jason says:

    Yeah, I just let my calls to myself go to visual voicemail… they’re just easier to deal with or delete, but NEVER avoid. ;)

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    I love this as an end of year project. I might just write myself a letter now, so I can bring myself up to speed on everything that has happened.

  • Ed says:

    What a great idea for a spooky short story. You on the other end of call to you. Hmmmm

  • Edgy Mama says:

    This cracked me up.

    I always write an Open Letter to the New Year, which I publish as a column, wherein I look briefly at the past year and plan/hope/resolve for the next. I was working on it this morning and thinking that I need to shake it up this year–look at my life differently. Part of what I was thinking (and telling a friend at lunch) is that this year, I’m going to create my own destiny. I’m going to bitch less and do more. And I might call myself up and say, “Listen to you!”

    Thanks, Julie Roads.

  • Anne Mayhew says:

    Great post Julie. I’m working on my wish list now!

  • Andi says:

    Last year I wrote a letter to myself 10 years in the future, but I think that be too much. I think I will write myself a letter for just the year ahead. Great post, great idea.

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