This quote comes up a lot. In the conversations. Now I will join one… calls.
The question is, who do you write for. Let me think about this out loud a little. Someone once answered this question in the exact way that I would have, had I been asked it, in the interview, in which she was. This wasn’t a video, or a podcast, this was a magazine article I had read in the days when magazines were in print.
It was a common practice for me to wander down to the Seattle waterfront, meander around in Pike Place Market, pick up something nice for later in the day, and get magazines. Print ones. From the news stand there. Today? Hm. I wonder if people read anything longer than paragraph or a blunted bit of social media, these days. Honestly I think there is too much of too much altogether and I can’t really keep up with it.
Still, I do write. I write a lot. I write for a handful of people now, though, and I hardly share any of it, publicly. People used to ask me, when I left newspapers and moved into design, then switched again to writing (memoirs and now zines), these kinds of deeply intrusive questions (all of which I avoid) but the one that I will let them ask me is: Who do you write for? Is a massive question that, for me, hasn’t had a different answer for 20 years. I write, I would have said, as another author once did, for myself, and strangers.
This week, in the writing project online with the people I do that with, every Tuesday and Wednesday, something came up that surprised me. The cojournal is taking an interesting turn. I want to share more in the conversation space for that, in email threads and in the protected forums, but here, for now, this little note. Inspired by something that MK wrote Sharing that it’s too hard to make friends that are high-quality but not overburdensome. Emotional labor, et al.
I really couldn’t believe how much there is to say about this topic, and some people have said it, insisting in lists of the kind of things that indicate that you are truly showing up for friends what is required now for someone to ‘show up for a friend.’ Really?
Discussing it. In The Cojournal Project.
‘Think about the last time you went through something difficult. You probably wanted to talk to someone about the problem, but you may not have necessarily wanted them to fix it for you or make it go away.
‘Maybe you just wanted to vent your frustration or disappointment and get some soothing acknowledgment in return.
‘Support doesn’t require you to fully understand a problem or provide a solution. Often, it involves nothing more than validation.
When you validate someone, you’re letting them know you see and understand their perspective.
‘Some validating phrases you can use are:
Note: Design Kompany (that’s where I publish and co-create more often than over here, lately) will be doing a mental health focused set of zines soon, for S P A C E. Some of those will fall under the category ‘Baok of Feelings,’ which we are co-creating currently with our team in Saigon. Wish us luck.:)
Breakfast in Cambodia is a true story of disconnecting from life in a rich, Western country for one year on ‘the road’ in south and southeast Asia. Of landing in Phnom Penh, and reinventing a sense of self. What solitude, time, distance and quiet space can teach us about our innermost selves is the heart of this story, to me. I really think this next thing. I believe this. That in our modern world, the village is one to which we all belong—as humanity. There is a quiet, strong, ancient village that dates back centuries. It’s ours. It’s beautiful. And it belongs to all of us.