A number of years ago I started an experiment in which each day I wrote down something I heard someone say, with the goal of continuing the practice for a year.
The results were fascinating:
"I love you so much even my socks want to be near you."
"But between the two kids I lost four babies."
"I'm getting to think novels are like waffles and children: you should throw the first one out."
"There isnít even a word for how un-delicious trash is."
"It cost too much to keep them alive."
"He said a girl in his class is bio-sexual."
"Okay, screw it, Iím going to kangaroo you to death."
What make the list of quotes so fascinating is that without context, each line of dialogue is open to reader interpretation. Where one person might find a quote funny, another might find it disturbing. That and what a fabulous way to study how people talk, both in the words they choose to express themselves and the order in which they place those words.
Unfortunately I only managed to keep up the practice for 85 days before the task got lost in the shuffle of a busy life.
The Good News
The good news is that a week ago I restarted the experiment in a public realm by establishing a Twitter account called SomebodySays. For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, think of it as a blog in which your posts can only be a sentence long.
The goal of my SomebodySays experiment is again to write a line of dialogue each day for a year.
1. The dialogue can only be one sentence long
2. The dialogue must be written verbatim, rather than being cleaned up in any way
3. I have to make every attempt to each day choose dialogue from a different person
4. I have to make every attempt to choose different types of people in various venues to get as wide a variety of word patterns as possible
While I haven't been that involved in Twittering until now (I do have a Growing Great Characters account to post my blog entries), SomebodySays seems ideally suited to a medium where I'm forced to write only one sentence. Knowing someone might be following my posts each day will go a long way toward encouraging me to continue.
Therefore, feel free to help me out!
If you have a Twitter account, sign up to follow SomebodySays. Then every day you can look at your Twitter page, which provides all the entries of people you follow. Scroll through the posts and somewhere among them you'll find mine.
If you don't have an account, consider starting one for the practice of using this social networking tool. Your profile can be as anonymous as you like and you can easily cancel your account at any time. And while others may sign up to follow you, you do not have to reciprocate. Instead, keep to people and organizations you know and like.
Pass on the info
Whether you decide to follow me or not, please pass along my SomebodySays URL (https://twitter.com/#!/2listenisgood), or forward them to this post. In a year — on Jan. 28, 2013 — I'll post the highlights of the experiment.
Thanks in advance for your help.