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Quando se encontra um velho amigo é usual recordar as histórias antigas que cimentaram as ligações que quando vividas construiram as identidades.

With the people closest to me, I maintain an open, ongoing narration that weaves the internal in with the external. These conversations feel essential to our relationships, and the process of speaking these stories is a crucial step in processing them. I tell a lot of stories on this blog too — again, a means of connecting and processing. My pen-and-paper is another channel that I’ve recently decided to revive — not my notebooks, though I use those every day, but my bedside journal for fleshed-out contemplation. Every time I put together a photo album on Facebook, I’m building a story of how my life is these days. I’m trying to be more conscious of this as I’m wading the waters of multimedia, looking for meaningful ways to tell stories.


Sometimes I become hyper-aware of how much we can drift in and out of our conversations. When I’m talking to someone over coffee, or in between working on projects, I sometimes feel that we accept distractions a little too much. Not that every interaction needs to be full, intentional communication — chatter serves its purpose too — but when I notice attention getting fuzzy, I try to really dive into that person’s story. Doing interviews with all sorts of people constantly reminds me how much both parties can learn and evolve through the deep telling and absorption of stories. When stories are written, do they automatically receive more weight?


Are you using stories to cement the past or to build a new path? To preserve a long-held narrative, or to explore a new one?

There are certain stories that seem to pop up every time I’m getting closer to someone, or every time someone is asking about my life and how I came to where I am today. It feels weird when I notice these little narratives that maintain the same form, because I realize that I use them to build my identity. But sometimes I take a step back and realize that the story needs to be opened up a bit — hindsight, after all, brings a lot of new insights into the mix, and it never hurts to re-explore even your own narratives. When I tell people how I ended up in Thailand, for example, I  become aware of how many factors and parts of me are neglected in the way I tell it. We can never show the whole picture, but it’s worth aiming to accept a wider view sometimes.

In my experience, committing to exploring other people’s narratives almost always triggers me to question and open up my own stories. And that applies to my personal stories, but also to the narratives of history or politics or beliefs that I’ve soaked up over the years. Of course you could always just challenge these views with a newspaper article or a book, but the effect often resides more deeply within you when it comes from a personal connection through opening to someone else’s story.

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