Issue № 68


I write a lot about “looking back”. (A lot: 12345 and 21 more posts, plus “look_ing_ back” has another 17 posts.) I clearly believe—I really do—that looking back is best for assessing things.

And yet… stress, unhappiness. (Important: Words left unsaid.)

By all objective metrics, I’m as successful today as I could hope to be a decade ago. I’m happily married, well inside the richest 1% globally, have found my tribe and earned some respect in it. I should be able to relax and take some satisfaction in my current situation. And yet the thought that in 5 years my life will look exactly like it does today fills me with dread.

~ Jacob Falkovich from,

My title is a nerdy reference to a small detail in the article. But it’s also a nerdy reference to how I feel that everything I write is simply derivative. Nonetheless, I’m looking back. I’m assessing my progress. I’m making some plans and I’m cutting red tape.


Insolence is not logic; Epithets are the arguments of malice.

~ R.G. Ingerson

In conversing

What are we really doing when we are conversing?

The need for conversation is one that many people have not fully acknowledged, perhaps because they have not had occasion to do enough of it or to do it well. I am not suggesting that, in conversing, we serve as each other’s therapists, but I do believe that good talk, when carried on with the right degree of openness, can not only be a great pleasure but also do us a great deal of good, both individually and collectively as members of society.

~ Paula Marantz Cohen from,

I agree with Cohen; It’s definitely a need. We humans are inherently social beings. A great way to get companionship and intellectual stimulation is with a nice, juicy, inspiring, thought-provoking, belief-busting, mind-expanding conversation. Also great: Chats over tea. Jawboning over a beer. Whispers by candlelight. Raucous exclamations at the game. Judicious maneuvering. Single-serving sized (h/t Palahniuk.) Week-long retreating. And countless more I’m looking forward to discovering.


The polis or gathering place for governing, the root of our modern politics, was nothing but a physical space that designated and enabled the conversational space required for true self-governing. The capacity for talking together constituted the foundation for democracy, far more fundamental than voting. As one ancient Greek philosopher noted, “When voting started, democracy ended.”

~ Peter M. Senge

Naming your audience

I recently had a conversation with someone while recording an episode of Podtalk. They mentioned the importance of naming our audience in the early moments of a podcast episode. An example they gave is: “Do you feel like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole? This podcast is for you.” (If you’re curious about this idea in the context of podcasting see, Naming our audiences.)

This idea was a quake moment for me. Because in order to name my audience—to literally say it, briefly, in a way that someone identifies with… Well, first I have to know who my audience is. I’m well aware one should know “who’s it for?” (If I just want to fiddle in my workshop, whatever-it-is can certainly just be, “it’s for me.”) It’s easy to know “who it’s for?” and to be able to talk about that when asked. It is vastly harder to name the audience, succinctly, in way a that connects with people.

Connection is precious. We can, and must, find ways to be so clear, and so vivid, that people literally feel a reaction when we name our audience. It’d be better if you heard me say this, but what happens when you read…

Are you the curious sort who leans in to find joy in learning and self-awareness? Terrific. You’re in the right place. Know anyone else who should be here too?


Every man is a missionary, now and forever, for good or for evil, whether he intends or designs it or not.

~ Chalmers

Paying attention

Back when I got deeply into running and jumping and playing again, I spent all the rest of my time stiff and achy and sore. It was glorious. I began intentionally working on restorative practices. At first I was doing vanilla stretching routines. Then I started doing more exploratory work with foam rollers and lacrosse balls and resistance bands. Then things got more organized with little, light activities focusing on weak parts. These days I have a finely tuned sense of what needs to be attended to. A little exploratory movement here, an extension there. Something or other feels off—or perhaps it’s better to say: Something or other is noticeable. That attracts my curiosity and exploration.

Scientists call our ability to feel what’s happening inside our bodies interoception. A portmanteau of “interior” and “reception,” it differs from perception, which comes from our five senses, and proprioception, which tells us how we are oriented in space. Interoception is an inner sense having to do with our bodily processes. It can be divided into three rough categories. The first comprises feelings that break through into consciousness based on need; this is how we know when we need to pee or sleep or hydrate, and how we grasp that our hearts are racing after a good jump scare. The second encompasses the unconscious ways in which our brains and bodies communicate; our brains detect high glucose levels in our livers, for example, then release hormones that trigger our metabolisms, and we are unaware of the process. A vast number of these silent interoceptive processes are going on within us all the time.

~ Jessica Wapner from,

If this liminal space—between the clear and objective, and the fuzzy perception of our bodies—interests you, you’ll also like How to Be Animal.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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