sunlight is starlight and stars are suns.
moonlight is sunlight reflected.
that is all.Read More
sunlight is starlight and stars are suns.
moonlight is sunlight reflected.
that is all.Read More
the last thing I wrote was about the discomfort of showing the soft underbelly. I am now feeling that discomfort.
I've been bouncing the microbe mindfuck story, title, tagline, off of lots of brilliant, amazing people for several months.
there are pieces that clearly work and pieces that don't work. to me, the story is about soil health and climate change. those are the two topics that got me into it and fired up about it.
but I'm quite weird. pretty nerdy as well. what I've found is that both "soil" and "climate change" as topics, can shut people down. like, glaze over. but yet I keep running around saying that's what my book is about. and that is what it's about.
why the hell am I writing about such a thing. no less, why in the hell would I devote my work to such a thing. why am I sitting outside in the dark writing about writing about it?
I mean, to me...it's really about saving the world. not in a bs kumbaya make myself feel better about myself kind of way. but like actually doing the thing. I've been training for more then 10 years to actually know something about this and how to do the thing.
but how in the world to get people interested in soil. or to believe and understand that something can be done about climate change.
people actually, kind of weirdly, resonate with microbes. it's a thing that makes sense - it's not as amorphous as soil or climate change. and, well it is very much about microbes.
the thread that's forming is that people understand that pesticides are poison. nobody really wants to eat them. it's gross, why would we? nobody wants to be sick and fucked up, and nobody really wants the world to die. I mean, that's total shit, who wants that?
because we get that there's a big ass problem with carbon and what the hell is going on with it. it's just that it seems very complicated. and it kind of is, but it's also not.
one thing I've found about this story is that it's both very simple and very profound. it's both straightforward and complicated at the same time. but that's what makes a good story, yes?
pesticides are killing the bottom of the food chain and fucking up the carbon cycle.
I guess the devil in the details is around HOW it does this. and that's the part that I have nailed. sort of - it's still hard to explain all the details....and even so, the ground covered is so vast that I'm still learning about the ins and outs of basic biology and ecology as a neophyte.
but maybe this is where I get stuck...I keep getting back into the details, and I keep veering away from the
we keep fucking up the whole system. I would like us to stop fucking up the whole system. there are ways to unfuck the whole system and I can tell you how. let's unfuck the whole system!
but the only way to do that is to understand how the system is getting fucked in the first place.
and right now we have that story wrong.
we think it's about fossil fuels. but we are wrong. burning fossil fuels is one small part of a much larger story.
we're mistaking a part for the whole - we're looking at the wrong metric. the solution is obvious when we back up and look at the whole thing.
and finally, one thing that resonates profoundly with me, that people have a harder time with, is that this is a story of hope. climate change glazes people over because everyone believes it's an intractable problem. as in...there's no viable solution and it's pretty hopeless.
this is a story about how to reverse climate change by repopulating microbes in the soil. and it's a story about how to reverse major health issues by repopulating microbes in our guts.
*(hat/tip marcella fredericks)
*an intellectual property note: if you are interested in this story, great!! tell it wide and far!! but please, if you use my words, quote me. if you use my ideas, cite me. if you're not sure, contact me. love.
alternate title: freaking out about freaking out
so I missed a day of writing. nothing came yesterday. I thought a lot about a lot of things, but nothing quite made sense for me to write about.
was just chatting with a friend about the frustrations of trying to be productive - trying to do the right thing and getting stymied...by life, other people, our own bs. the awkward process around getting things done and being hard on ourselves when we don't.
I've had a few of the most amazing conversations in the last few days as well, and I've found when I have time to get into and I start talking about my book, people are blown away and totally excited about the story I'm telling.
I hesitated just there, because I wasn't sure if I should write, "the story I'm trying to tell," instead.
and one parallel that I've found is a hard lesson I learned about myself in yoga teacher training. knowing that it was way outside of what I consider to be my area of expertise (something I lean on hard for safety, by the way), I was terrified to try.
my teacher asked me to walk up to someone in downward dog in front of the class on one of the first days, and she asked, "where are you drawn to?" I panicked a bit, my face got hot, and I was like, "I have no idea." then I was like, "well, I don't know how to explain it."
it was a pretty profound moment for me. I went with it, tried something, we talked about it, and the class went on.
I walked away from that class deeply embarrassed. like I had failed somehow...wasn't naturally amazing at this thing I'd never done before. but actually, when I sat with it that night, and even the next few days, I realized that I am absolutely mortified to learn in front of people.
when I shared with the class about my experience, I started to admit that what I've always done is taken my lessons, gone home and perfected something, and then presented it in its polished form. the awkward learning I did in grad school was all revealed only to my professors, behind closed doors, in iterations of papers and ongoing feedback. but letting anyone else see my unfinished work was way too vulnerable thing for me to expose.
I was struggling yesterday with this project itself - grappling with the tension between showing the soft underbelly of what I'm up to, but at the same time feeling that need to be polished and complete and know what the hell I'm talking about.
of course, I do know what the hell I'm talking about, and when I get into it, it resonates. but right now, the process of "writing" the book actually has everything to do with how I tell the story. which way to tell the story.
because the story has several very powerful threads, and my instinct is to try to gracefully and almost magically be able to weave it all together into the everything story. but I've also found over time, through other storytellers, is that one of the biggest mistakes early novelists and script writers make is to try to put everything in the story.
that people can actually only really access what you're trying to say through a clear narrative, and that other parts can be unveiled in time. right now, I'm in the middle of figuring out which thread is the most powerful and accessible thread for people to grab onto. and because of that, it makes the book really hard to talk about.
having spoken to some people who understand messaging, communication, and marketing, I keep receiving the same message: that the most important thing in telling a story is the "why?"
and how to I introduce and deliver a message about something that I know so much about in a way that people who have never looked at the topic can nod their head and be like, holy crap! yea.
this is writing. as much as, or probably way more than, pounding out pages in a cabin. in academic terms, I'm looking for my thesis statement. or rather, I'm trying to choose which part of the thing is my thesis - what is the skeleton that the connective tissue then builds on?
and it stopped me in my tracks yesterday, knowing that I'd hit another shift in my thinking about it, and not wanting to expose the awkward behind the scenes work.
and knowing that, actually, ironically, one of the personal self-sabotagey stories I've been telling myself for years is that, "I'm not a storyteller." as in, my work is non-fiction, at arms length, making and argument and stating facts in a way that doesn't leave me vulnerable.
but even in academia, the thing my advisors pushed me hardest on was to find my voice.
and really this whole exercise, in work and it life is really about finding my voice and putting it out there and standing with it.
the terror in being authentically oneself is that my authentic self could be rejected. in fact, the truth is it will be by some people. almost nothing is universally approved of, and that's ok. that's part of it. it may actually be the beauty of it all. saying my thing, knowing that it will resonate for real with some people and be completely rejected by others, and being totally ok with that. even comfortable in it.
and look at that. I just wrote a whole thing that came from my authentic voice, my search, my learning.
and I'm going to turn around and catch up and write out about the title struggle - the innards of the process of the storytelling. the learning and the finding and the trying it on.
and the letting go. the letting go of being caught in the dressing room. the letting go of freaking about about productivity, of being hard on myself, of freaking out about freaking out. and the self-worth questions that go with struggling with something and not having it perfect.