Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Unsent Email

Miranda July’s project “We Think Alone” has been a rather up and down experience. A collection of emails from the sent mail folder of famous and semi-famous people’s email accounts. A blast of emails on a particular topic arrives in subscribers’ inboxes on successive Mondays. Go here to sign up. 

This week’s contribution struck me as well above average. The emails were all drafts of messages that were never sent. This concept is rather exciting because it is even more voyeuristic than the earlier topics, and it highlights a kind of emotional frailty and difficulty in communicating effectively on the internet. The drunk email not sent. A healthy hesitancy at the urge to go negative. 

Here are some selections:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Etgar Keret
To: z
Subject: Nostalgia
Date: 15:30 6/11/2012

Hey z.,
Sitting home and remembering the good times when you still liked me.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lena Dunham
Date: May 12th, 2013
Subject: book
To: J

Hi J,

I'm a big fan of your work and the book. I am so grateful L sent it to me. It's a truly meaningful work that young feminists should have the chance to engage with.

But after a few lovely exchanges, L wrote me a series of very upsetting, paranoid and accusatory emails. I was saddened that our interaction became so bitter suddenly and without warning. She questioned my interest in, and understanding of, the book and my relationship to feminism as a whole. I'd love to meet you but I am not comfortable engaging with L in any way. It was just too disorienting and mean. Sorry to write that in an email, but I guess modern times require us too!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sheila Heti
Date: December 11, 2009
Subject: ps
To: Margaux Williamson

I *am* feeling pretty sensitive obviously this week.

The other thing is: Sometimes you f

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rodarte
Date: Monday, October 17, 2011 3:37 PM
Subject: Questions
To: L

This is just so crazy to us. We can’t even deal with this question.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Deborah Morales
Subject: Week 10: an email you decided not to send-Sent on Behalf of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Date: June 24, 2013 11:30:26 PM PDT
To: Miranda July

Hi Miranda,

I don’t save emails that I think better of sending. Once I decide not to send an email, I delete it because I’d rather not have someone dig it up later and think that it expressed my real sentiment. If I decide not to send it then it’s not what I ultimately believe.

 P.S.—I almost didn’t send this email. Does that count?

Yours Truly, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

---------- Note----------

Danh Vo and Catherine Opie were also unable to find an email they decided not to send.

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