Sorry – is it the hardest word to say?

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Image by Timothy Brown, shared under a CC licence available at flickr.com

Confession time: I say ‘sorry’ with almost compulsive regularity. I say ‘sorry’ instead of ‘excuse me’ and ‘sorry’ instead of ‘pardon’. If you stand on my toes, I’ll be the first to apologise and, after being berated by friends, family or colleagues for saying it too often, I’ve been known to say ‘sorry for saying sorry’. In the word cloud of me, SORRY would be writ large, outsized only by my cat’s name and a couple of choice swear words. So it comes as no surprise that I type before you as an apologist for apologising.*

Here at Mixed Messages, we invite you to send us some apologies. Not apologies meant for us – you haven’t done us any wrongs – but apologies that you meant to say to someone else but didn’t. That person you barged past to get on the bus, spilling coffee all down their suit? Show them your regret. The lover you were less than faithful to? It’s time to atone.

One Mixed Messenger wants to apologise to someone from their teens:

Sometimes I think back and you were there and then you weren’t. I didn’t even notice until you came back again. I hadn’t thought to look for you, hadn’t thought of you until you walked back into school half the girl you were before. The sun shone right through you. You were so frail that I worried you’d snap but really I knew you’d snapped already. I’m sorry I did nothing, thought of nothing but myself.

We’re accepting apologies of all kinds – they might be as heartfelt as the one above (which has stuck in my mind for days) or they might be comic. Leave us a voicemail or send us a text to 07856 853675. It’s better out than in and your words may be chosen to be in a poem. If you don’t like phones or you are based in another country and don’t relish the expense of an international call, you can email us at mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com.

You can also look at FAQ no.1 for more ideas of messages to send or follow our Twitter feed where we’re posting examples of messages we receive and poems we find.

*Fact: I interrupted the composition of this blog to tweet someone an apology for a typo.

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Yah boo sucks to the bullies

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Image by Pimkie, shared under a Creative Commons licence available at flickr.com

Not sure what sort of message to send us? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing some ideas and examples. Basically we’d love to receive messages on any theme – angry, heart-warming, tear-jerking or spit-your-coffee-out-through-your-nose funny.

Yesterday evening I was talking with a friend who will remain nameless but I’ll just say that she’s smart (like, brain bogglingly smart), funny and a generally lovely human being. She mulled for a few minutes over what message she might like to send and to whom,then said, ‘It sounds daft but I’d send it to the girls in high school who picked on me. I’m going to ask them:

“Why were you so orange? You laughed at me for being uncool but you Tango-ed your faces with foundation every morning.”

Now this got me thinking. Thinking and venting. I’ve got scores to settle with a few people from school, particularly D, a rugby, sporty type:

“Do you remember how you mocked me every Wednesday morning in double English because I had the Stone Roses logo biro-ed across my satchel? You liked Richard Marx. The Stone Roses? Richard Marx? History has spoken – I win.”

And once we’d started, we realised there were quite a few scores to settle. Some more serious than others – I’m still working out exactly what to say to the call centre supervisor who sexually harassed me and every other young woman on the ‘team’ that miserable sumer of temping. But I will work it out, and then, I’ll phone it in.

Put your bullies in their place. Leave us a voicemail or send us a text to 07856 853675. We might put your words in a poem!

You can also look at FAQ no.1 for more ideas or keep an eye on our Twitter feed where we’re posting examples of texts and excerpts of voicemails we receive.

Mixed Messages – be part of a poem

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What do you long to say to someone?

Your words could be part of a poem. Leave the phone message you always wanted to, but couldn’t. Some or all of the words in your message could be picked to be part of a poem for National Poetry Day.

Leave a voicemail saying the thing you’ve always wanted to say to 07856 853675 by 30 June.

Don’t like phones or used up all your free minutes? That’s not a problem. You can also text your message to 07856 853675 or email to mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com

Want to find out more about the Mixed Messages project? Check out the FAQs.

The Small Print

By leaving a voicemail or sending a text to the Mixed Messages number, you are giving permission for excerpted words of your message to be used anonymously in a poem. Original voicemail recordings will NOT be publicly shared. Resulting poems may be shared via this blog or Twitter. If you have any questions about this, please email Georgi at mixedmessagespoetry@gmail.com.