A place to speak and be heard.

What is this?

The Right Number is a gentle, noncommercial space where your only job is to be yourself. Upon dialing you’ll be connected to a voicemail box and given a brief prompt. You have three minutes to answer however you’d like.

The Right Number is also an experiment. Future prompts may take different forms or branch out into other types of media. Things could change at any time. That’s life for you.

Why does it exist?

It’s no coincidence that this project is being launched in 2020, a year when distance and connection are foremost on many minds. But whether or not you’re under lockdown in the midst of a global pandemic, there are just some moments where you need to say things aloud and feel like someone is listening.

Speaking into a telephone is a singularly intimate thing—a kind of secular confessional. I believe we’re all trying to learn how to give ourselves the gifts we long to receive from others, and I think dialoguing with a temporally dissociated oracle is a good place to start.

You can find the seeds of this project in Jacob Wren's Authenticity is a Feeling, Derek DelGaudio's In & Of Itself, Brendan Adkins's Sext Exchange, the rich and generous thinking of Mara Zepeda, Frank Warren's PostSecret, SARK’s Inspiration Line, and Shing Yin Khor’s Gentle Oraclebird installations.

Where will my response go?

All calls are delivered to a single voicemail box and remain strictly confidential. If there comes a time when it seems valuable to share stories received via the Number, clear verbal consent practices will be introduced. (You’ll be asked to say something like “You can use this” if you’re okay with audio from your call being shared.) Your number will never be disclosed.

When does the next prompt come out?

New prompts arrive every other Monday. To receive notifications of new prompts via email or RSS, scroll to the bottom of the page.

You can see a list of past prompts here.

Who made it?

Lucy Bellwood, a cartoonist living in Portland, Oregon. You can email her if you’d like or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

How can I support it?

By playing along. You can also tell friends or interesting strangers about the Number. The gift must always move.

If you're interested in sustaining the project financially, you can support Lucy on Patreon.

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