I hate email. When I get a text, I can respond instantaneously, with putting as little thought as possible into my wording. In fact, when I get a text, it is almost impossible for me to resist the urge to respond immediately. But emails – emails I absolutely loathe responding to. I can never send an email until I’ve read it over at least three times. No matter the importance of the email, I guess I consider an email to be more “permanent” than a text, and any permanent form of writing requires all of my attention. I accumulate thousands of emails that I never respond to, in order to avoid that extra ounce of care and effort.
But despite my absolute hatred of email, and despite the 6,382 unread emails on my phone (that will remain unread for the rest of eternity), I consider my email exchanges with my mom to be significant in my development as a writer. While writing my Writer’s Evolution essay, my email exchanges with my mom kept popping into my head. I continuously rid the thought from my mind, not because it would contradict the argument of paper, but simply because it didn’t seem to have a place in my paper.
My mom and I email about everything. What most mothers and daughters would call about, text about, or simply get up and go into the next room about, my mom and I will oftentimes send an email about instead. We’ve fought in email. We’ve made up in email. We’ve written each other love letters in email.
As emails least biggest fan, I did not start this email routine with my mom. That was all her. But I think it truly benefited me as thinker and as a writer.
Through fighting in email, my mom and I avoid many of the unnecessary stages of an argument. Often in an argument, you start by yelling out everything you don’t actually mean, you spend the next hour apologizing for all the things you didn’t actually mean, and then the last hour arguing about what you actually meant to argue about. My mom and I skip to the last part. Through taking the time to write an email, we sort out our thoughts, and are better able to convey our grievances. I’ve learned how to form an argument and how to respond appropriately to a verbal attack.
Our loving emails and supportive emails, are oftentimes also far more helpful than a quick “I love you” text or a nice 2-minute phone call. When I get an email from my mom after I’ve had a tough day, or before I have an important interview, it has a powerful impact on me. Knowing that someone was thinking of me, without me being on the other line of the phone, is meaningful to me. Being able to re-read her words in times of need is something I cherish.
Emailing back and forth with my mom has contributed to the immense value that I place on writing. I have learned to value taking the time to formulate my thoughts before expressing them. I have learned the powerful impact that a message can have when it’s thoughtfully written out and not simply spoken. And hopefully, one day I will learn how to respond to the rest of my unread emails. Don’t hold your breath.