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Unfolded Note

Some time ago I came across Unfolded Note, a project by Satya, a mother who lives in California with her husband and two young sons. Something had brought me there and I subscribed immediately. I cannot recall what it was. Every now and then as I'm going about my busy life I'll get an email on my phone with a simple unassuming subject line: Unfolded Note: #295. What's inside the email? Who is this person? Why did I subscribe?

For the past two years I've been struggling to share bits and pieces of my own life through my published writing, as had been doing for so many years prior. The struggle began when I learned that I was going to become a dad. How do I put into words all of these new thoughts, feelings, and emotions? How do I provide enough context and backstory so that my readers will know what's going on? What if I say too much, or too little? What if things are taken out of context? What am I trying to say with my writing anyway?

The Unfolded Note emails are never more than a few paragraphs, one or two hundred words at most. There's no backstory, and often very little context. When I subscribed I knew nothing about Satya and yet each time I see that subject line, Unfolded Note: #300, I'm pulled inside, curious what tidbits of her life I will hear about next, what thoughts or insights or stories she might be sharing with me in this new email.

So I'm going to try something new. One hundred and fifty words. That will be my target. I have so much inside that I want to share, so many insights, so many thoughts, so many stories. My goal from now on will be to not concern myself with sharing everything, but rather to share enough to tell a story, enough to share a thought or an idea or an observation.

There is a reservoir of wisdom within all of us that must be shared to be realized.

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  1. A bit like Twitter’s 140 characters, but in words instead. I like it, and look forward to reading your 150 words 🙂

    Maybe there’s an app waiting to be built for that.

    • I had not thought of it that way, but you’re right. It is a bit like Twitter’s 140 characters. The goal will be 150 words, but the intention, as always, will be 150 words of quality. That’s quite a different matter.

      There are only so many characters that you can fit into a space of 140 characters, but the number of words you can fit into a space of 150 words–and the variability possible within such a space–leaves substantially more room for expression (or lack thereof).

  2. Raam I love the idea of the unfolded note. I struggle like you to know how much is enough and how much is too much. In fact I have struggled with this since 2007. I so relate to the difficulty of feeling the need to provide a backstory or some context. It’s hard. You shouldn’t have to give it all away. But you need to give something. But what? I love your posts incidentally. I always read them and should comment more often. But as often is the case I go away and think about what you have said… agree in my mind… and then never get back to comment. I’m sorry. But please know that we are all out here reading your words and thoughts and valuing them. Even if you become too busy to write. I’m a parent… I get it. Thank you. Jean x

    • Thank you, Jean, that means a lot to me! It’s easy to forget in this age of remoteness (ha, I just realized that the Internet actually makes everybody more remote to each other, not less) that there are people out there who are actively participating with your work, even if they don’t make themselves known. I wonder if it’s not harder to be a writer these days than it was prior to the tech revolution.