Have you heard about Miranda July‘s new project, “We Think Alone“? Every Monday from July 1 until November 11, July is sending a dedicated list of subscribers a compendium of emails about various topics, written by the likes of Lena Dunham, Kirsten Dunst, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and more. I signed up as soon as I heard about the project and was excited to see the first installment in my inbox on Monday (the subject was money; one of the emails was Dunham emailing her assistant that she’d decided a custom-made Swedish couch was just too expensive; another was Kirsten Dunst letting some third party know that one of her friends was buying her car for $7,000).
In its simplest form, July says “We Think Alone” is all about how we comport ourselves in the emails we write to other people, and how intimate getting a glimpse into each other’s inboxes can be. I mean, think about it: Would you want total strangers having access to your Sent mail folder? I definitely wouldn’t, even though pretty much everything I send is totally benign (minus the occasional gossipy note).
Also, for me, the tone of an email is exceptionally important—I want my sentences to convey pretty much the exact same emotion they would if I were talking to someone face to face, although I know that’s not as important to other people as simply getting the point across (I’ve been the recipient of many a curt email—or text message—that I thought was kind of rude or unnecessarily direct, only to realize upon further communication or an in-person follow-up that the sender was actually being neither of those things; they just wanted to get the message across as succinctly as possible). So maybe that’s why I feel like email is so intimate, as well, because I try to make my notes as similar to in-person dialogue as possible.
So anyway, July’s project is fascinating to me—and especially timely in the wake of national discussions about privacy—and I’m looking forward to the next batch of emails. Have you signed up to receive them? Would you be OK with someone going through your inbox?
Photo by i.anton