Sunday, December 04, 2005

Mind Of An E-Mail Re-Writer

I've been very happy with G-mail's enhancement of their autosave function. The enhancement being that it saves with greater frequency as you're writing a letter, almost putting an end to lost e-mails from crashed browsers and/or other nonsense.

I've always thought the worst part about losing an e-mail is when you're trying to have this spontaneously witty voice while writing. So you compose a note with all these jokes and "real-time" situations. Then it crashes and the letter's gone. And now you have to decide what from the original material is worth rewriting.

It’s like a whole American Idol screening process. Or a mini Rejection Show.

So just a couple days ago I was sending an e-mail to a friend. When I sent it, g-mail kind of froze up for a while, so I pressed stop, but when I did that it said my letter was sent, but there was no sent mail copy. So I had to rewrite the note.

Here's the e-mail I sent. And it will be followed by notes on the edits and rewriting from the original draft:

thanks for reading. It's nice to know people you actually know are reading ... strangers suck ass. well I guess they don't, but you know ...

And yeah, there's no fucking way I'm bringing my newly discovered sister to your open bar hell-party. You gotta be fucking kidding me. Maybe when you turn fucking 60.

As for the party. is the plan for you guys to be rocking all night long?

And how's the open bar going to work? If I have a guest or two, do we all need to pony up, or will I or whomever be able to get drinks for others?

holla back.

PS - I just had a flashback to college while writing this. To where I think you provided me my first time reading The Onion. I remember you in the room reading an issue, laughing hysterically on a couch, and then I read it and laughed hysterically also. first time with the onion (which is not what it used to be) .... good times ...


1st edit -- adding the "well I guess they don't ..." line. Because I used to lose e-mails fairly frequently, and now I don't thanks to G-mail, I immediately thought this particular rewriting opportunity could become blog fodder. Once that idea was in my head, I felt obligated to qualify the "strangers sucks ass" line so as not to offend any readers. So I basically added that line to him, for you. I mean come on, you know I don't think you guys and girls suck ass. Right? I love all of you. Every last anonymous one. What I e-mail behind closed doors shouldn't impact what we have going here. And if it helps, it won't happen again.

2nd edit -- There was only one "fucking" initially. I added more because I so thoroughly enjoyed saying "fucking" the first time, especially in response to him asking me to bring my sister, so I threw in two more to really get the effect across. I also had an earlier e-mail where I did a bunch of cursing, so I was kind of in the zone. Sometimes it’s just fucking fun, to fucking, just start fucking cursing all over the fucking place.

3rd edit -- The PS posed a considerable problem. First off, the whole idea of a PS is based on it being an afterthought. So really any letter rewrite should not have a PS. It's a lie. But of course the reader doesn't know it. So you keep the PS, cause PS's show off our advanced intellect and superior command of the social graces.

The PS-as-afterthought dilemma was compounded by me writing "I just ...." That phrase should go out the window when you have to start the letter over. But I find this mode of e-mail integrity particularly annoying because "I just ..." happens all the time with me in e-mail. And I really like to convey the out-of-the-blue fanciful freedom feeling that I have while writing e-mails, it's the performer in me, so I often stick with it, even though it no longer "just" happened. It sucks that I'm a spontaneity-liar, but we all have our issues.

4th edit -- The final thing was feeling that you really only get one chance at going into a semi-sappy reminisce story. So I really had to evaluate how strongly I felt about the "first time reading The Onion" postscript. It didn't really tie in to the body of the e-mail. Plus I was having trouble phrasing it in a way that captured the romance of the memory, but avoided the homosexuality that is capturing the romance of a memory. But this was a friend I hadn't spoken to in a while. It was his b-day party coming up. So I decided the special moment was worth it.

He could consider it a birthday present of sorts.

Presuming that he was able to read between the lines of my e-mail and anticipate the mind of an e-mail rewriter.

Anyways, this all happens less since Gmail now autosaves at a quicker rate. Thank heavens.


  1. Yeah - I LOVE gmail for that reason, too!

    (Not that you REALLY care what I think as I am just a lowly suck-ass stranger...)HA!

  2. Anonymous12/05/2005


    i hate losing e-mails too

  3. I HEART you!

  4. Exactly! I don't ever lose emails, but I do sometimes wander away for a while before I come back to finish the note. Then I have to decide if I want to pretend it was one stream-of-consciousness email, or if I want to tell them I was gone and now I'm back. My favorite is writing a PS and then adding another paragraph up above, so the PS isn't really post-anything.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. niki - word to hizzy

    vaness - thanks

    vv - I haven't lost anythign major yet blogwise, oddly enough.

    orange - word to hizzy

    elliot - funny ... please forward pics of wife for screening, you know, ify ou really want me to take her.


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