In response to Writing 101 prompt Unlock the mind:
To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.
Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty
minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.
And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.
Belinda looked at her phone screen, baffled. What did this mean? What was it with people and internet speech? She didn’t understand a word of it? Couldn’t they use real words? Real sentences? Subject, verb, object… and the occasional adverbs. Because, as an aspiring writer, Belinda knew how these could burden the text. Still.
Granted, she only purchased the phone a couple of weeks before, when she moved out of the city to her grandmother’s place where connecting would be harder. Her boss and friends wanted to ensure she’d be reachable. That there was a landline didn’t seem to be enough for them. It was the middle of nowhere – compared to the city – and they’d been scared. Thing was: the cellphone network was unreliable at best, inexistent in some parts of the house. She actually had to leave the phone in the living room or kitchen for it to work. That defeated its purpose but well. She concentrated on the cryptic message she’d received from Jonah.
“Hi” that was easy enough. “msg u”. It had to mean “messaging you”… “bc L. req.” was that because maybe? L… must be a person. Lisa? Laura?
What about this req? Requested? Required? Either way it must mean that they asked Jonah to text. Couldn’t be Lisa she had her phone number and she called on the landline the night before. This made no sense. She couldn’t figure out the second and third sentences at all. But maybe that was because she hadn’t had her coffee yet. Still, who could have known that Jonah texted like her teen sister? She never understood a word – if you could call them that – that her sister sent. You’d think that Jonah, being a publisher and an editor, would consider that massacring words this way would be sacrilege. Apparently not.
At least, the last one was easier. “hope u r doing ok. hugs.” No wait what did “TTYL” mean? She should remember this one, Sarah used it in every text. Ah yes. Was it the new way of communicating? She had no issue with internet; she even used Twitter though she’d never used abbreviated words for it. No, she had to do it another way.
Belinda flipped her laptop open and turned on the IM application. If Jonah was up and about – unlikely as it was – she’d IM him to clarify. Of course he wasn’t; he’d texted about an hour before when she was still asleep, so he probably had gone to bed himself. They were after all 2 hours behind her and he was a night owl, whereas she was an early riser.
She wrote a quick email for him…
I know you check your emails first thing. I didn’t want to take the risk of waking you up too early with a phone call, but I’m not entirely certain I understood your text. Can you clarify what Laura needed from me? I seem to recall I left all my files with her? Why don’t you or Laura call me on the landline? The cellphone network isn’t what I imagined it would be.
I’m getting used to life in the countryside but it suits my mood. I’m just about to go out and watch the sunrise over the sunflower fields. It’s magical… and so inspiring. I hope my upcoming article will show you just how much.
Thanks for checking in. I’ll call some time this week if you and Laura don’t get the chance to.”
It was formal, but Belinda always wrote that way. In fact, most people would agree she was a formal person. Her closest friends and family knew her a little bit more yet few got beyond the formality. She wouldn’t have admitted to it easily, but it was a way to protect herself. And it was better that way. She’d been hurt one time too many.
I ended up using the Daily Prompt It’s Text, Text, Text, Text world as an inspiration because it’s way too early for my brain to start on its own 😛
How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?