I realized today that email isn't just email. I'm a writer. As in it's my job. Email is work. It stresses me out. In 2008, I'd like to email less and talk more.
I resolve to stop emailing long letters to friends who are in the same town, whom I could get together with easily. Email is for quick communication. It's for business that doesn't require tone. Writing a long email feels more and more like an obligation. Communicating with friends shouldn't feel that way. I'd rather send one postcard a week via US mail than write an email update on "what's up." I'd really rather talk on the phone.
I know this is unrealistic. Email is easy. People are at their desks all day, it's an efficient way to catch up without having to make noise or wait until after work. When writing is your job, you sit down at the desk to do your job and then there's email and it's exercising the same muscle you use to do your job but the job doesn't get done. Then when you (or I) go to do the job, the muscle is frequently tired. The job is harder for having emailed.
In 2008 I resolve to make things easier.
Is it obnoxious to ask friends to call me to catch up rather than email? It seems mean and anti-social. It's mean and anti-social not to return emails, one could argue, or to do so without an explanation. It does sound rather "I'm above your whole 'technology' thing" for me to try to exempt myself from email. But socially, I'm going to try. If you're a friend of mine with whom I exchange long rambly emails, let's try to do it less. I care about you. (Some of you more than others--YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. I'm kidding. Wouldn't that be funny if I weren't? Or ridiculous? Oh well. I find it a little funny.) I don't want our communication to feel like work.
I'm not going to stop emailing altogether or get mad if friends email me. That would be sociopathic. But I'm in need of a moderate lessening of intensity. Obviously it goes without saying that if you EVER have anything even remotely emotionally delicate to say to anyone, don't do it via email. With me or anyone. No tone. Email. Has.
NB: Please keep emailing me constantly: business associates, Girl's Guide fans, people who want signed bookplates, people who don't know my phone number, people who want to offer me money, secret admirers, people who want me to send money to Nigeria or purchase misspelled prescription drugs.