Leave Me a Voicemail

Leave Me a Voicemail

These voicemails started out as a little experiment. I didn’t really think about the first one. I just felt like I wanted to leave you a message. I didn’t really have a long-term plan for them. But then, I don’t know…they became something vital. To me and to some of you.

And, extraordinarily, we’re not the only ones that see this is becoming something special! There was an article about our voicemails in Columbia Journalism Review!  You and me! Our words! In a serious magazine for serious journalists? What a world! 

Like any voicemail, this is pretty simple. 

I leave a voicemail for you every single week. Every other week, I respond to a voicemail left by a pocket observatory member. We talk about serious things, funny things, things we observe, things we wish we could observe. You can listen here, on Spotify or any podcast app. 

And here are some excerpts from the Columbia Journalism Review’s piece on Voicemails! CAN YOU BELIEVE.

Since then, once a week, Conley has left “voicemails” for her audience, via Substack and Spotify, elaborating on her writing and other stray thoughts. “Just imagine I’m calling you from a Vtech Jelly Bean cordless phone, in translucent purple,” she explains in an introduction. “I’ll imagine you’re listening to my message on your Vtech Jelly Bean cordless phone in translucent red.” The recordings are short and informal; as Conley writes: “You’re too busy for another podcast. Me too. So this is just a voicemail, the kind we used to leave one another before texting and social media.” They embody the earnest, rambling quality of an earlier Web, where someone might blog into the ether on a subject of niche interest, hoping that someone out there will care.

…the voicemails have proved stunningly effective. “I’m almost in tears listening to your recording, Meg,” a listener replied. Another wrote, “I look forward to continuing to read your voice.” As responses poured in, Conley invited paid subscribers to leave her voicemails, too. She promptly received more than two hundred messages, which she began listening to in batches, on Friday morning strolls; sometimes, she catches herself talking back. She has begun releasing a subscriber’s voicemail, along with a personal reply, every other week.


The first time she hit play on a subscriber-sent voicemail, the speaker was so on the mark that Conley welled with delight. “Hi, Meg,” the message began. “Sorry I missed you.”

Okay! Now. Leave a voicemail after the beep.