Thursday, October 21, 2010

Second Person Singular

Have you ever written notes to yourself? Just any kind of notes. Letters to yourself in the future, or story ideas in second person?

I've written letters to myself in the future. When I was thirteen, I wrote a note to myself to read when I was sixteen.

There's something really great about doing that. When you read the note, you're more than just reminded of how you used to be; it's like hearing from a different person. It's like who you are now is completely different from who you were then. It's like seeing yourself from another person's point of view; and who hasn't wished they could do that at one time or another?

Today, I was jotting down ideas for a story that popped into my head. I found myself writing sort of TO myself. Saying things like "this is where you put in the weird stuff that'll happen" and "you don't know why yet, but she decides to keep it a secret." I just replaced all the "I"s with "you"s, and the difference was strange.

When I read back over my notes, the ideas felt different. Just the simple word change transformed my scrambled thoughts from "just something I wrote down" to "someone's fascinating ideas." When I my words were talking to me instead of being an extension of me, I was able to look at the thoughts more objectively.

It's hard to see yourself as others see you. But if I write to myself, when I read it over, it feels like someone telling me about their story, not me reading my own stuff. And it's like seeing myself as a separate person.

I probably sound a little crazy right now, but you should try it. Write a letter to yourself to read in a month, a year, or ten years. Talk to the "Future You" like a separate person. Or write down a story idea substituting the word "you" for the word "I." I think you'll see what I mean.

Who knew second person singular could be so exciting?



Camellia Day said...

Best idea I've ever heard. I use to write to myself all the time but I end up not being able to find them...

It's also nice to read old journal entries.

Rae B said...

you don't sound crazy at all. I've written letters to myself to be read months later, years later and so on. It's so interesting going back through what you have written. To see what was the biggest concern in your life at a particular moment and all... fascinating.


Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

That is such a awesome idea!