The world is so unbelievably large. And the nuances of living life are so wildly small. The mundanity of the every day to one can be the pinnacle of adventure to another. The smallest things can hold wonder. And the basic rules can bring anxiety. Like the sand crabs bubbling under the surface as the surf rolls out, or learning how to drive in the snow.
To an Iowa farmer, every piece of a sandy beach town can seem foreign. And so too, the cold and snow of winter in rural Montana can feel like a horrible, freezing hell world to a boy from Miami.
Hank Green shows this in his video giving his best advice at living in a cold climate after 22 years in the heat:
The passage of time is implied by the basic ‘secrets’ learned in a new home. Like never letting your gas meter get too low in the winter. Or knowing what time rush hour hits on a Thursday afternoon. Because living in a new place, just like playing the piano or gutting a fish, takes practice.
Upon reading a recent post where I discussed pens and an old friend from high school, my sister Lauren pointed out her wish for a broader why? in the writing.
“As it stands,” she said, “it’s warm and innocent and beautiful.” Stop it, I’m blushing.
“But if I had a wish,” she went went on, “I’d love to read this with a little more about the why’s, the lessons, or a parallel into some other life truth or something weaved in.”
Well. Yes, she’s right. In writing, I so often find myself stopping at my original thought. But this often leaves my writing feeling unfinished, without depth. When I finish my original thought, I need to stop and think how does this connect to broader life? Why does this matter?
This is something that Hank and John Green do beautifully in the weekly videos on their Vlogbrothers YouTube channel.
Hank even describes this phenomenon at 2:55 in this lovely video about arbitrary human design.
And just for fun, here is another Vlogbrothers video, made by John this time. It’s one of my favorites.
I think the thoughts bouncing around in my head at present can be summed up in the words purpose and meaning. That’s what I feel I’m often missing in my work.
What is the purpose of this story? Of this drawing? The meaning of this video? What am I hoping for friends and folks to get out of this thing I’m making? If it is simply beauty, then great. But there is often more room than I think for deeper purpose and beauty to live side by side.
That’s something I’m trying to learn right now. How to infuse purpose and meaning.
Those are very abstract words that do not lend themselves to a very tangible goal, but I will work on reducing the thought down in the stew pot of my mind to a more understandable objective.