Reflections on facts and framing
A beautiful piece. I think about this idea of the information diet all the time....you are what you read. And what a story at the end there! I want to say you witnessed two angels but maybe it’s a better frame to give humanity some credit. Thank you!
An exquisite piece. Close to my heart for many reasons. You know.
The first is that for 33 years I was a professional journalist. Eons ago. Yes, news organizations have, do and will continue to tell stories through a negative frame. News is about things that go wrong. It makes a better story when something has gone bad. But there is purpose in that, though; we journalists saw it as a duty to shine light on darkness, to expose a wrong so that people will take notice and make it right. Sadly, I feel those days are gone; news organizations no longer have the trust and power and strength to make people listen. And what we are given is an over abundance of misinformation, material no longer graced with editing or fact-checking or common sense.
I wonder if the time is right for news that is framed in a new way.
There's another layer to the "news" problem: Stories are always in past tense. They are about things gone wrong in the past. The pundits dabble in the future tense (with all the accuracy of a backwater fortune teller). The stories are about things that have happened or might happen, expressed in ways that get us worried and frantic and angry and we stop listening because we feel so powerless.
News should be in the present tense. It is closer to the truth. Witnesses. Participants. Greater accuracy. Consider the impact of George Floyd's death. But how much of that can we absorb? How much damage does that do to our own sense of being and purpose and possibility.
Now a word on cowbird.
I read your framing of that experience but I must say it is much different than mine. Both framings. And particularly in regards to you. I think you should rework your hero framing.
Here's how I frame it: You gave me voice. You taught me a new way to write. You got me back into photography. You introduced me to people I would never have met who had stories I would never have heard. You did that. You and David. You created the place, the platform, the technology for us to create and share.
You created a community. Now I know that wasn't exactly what you had in mind, but I think, in the end, it was a far more important achievement than you realize. We built friendships. We learned from each other, tried things out in different ways, opened up, took creative risks. We flourished.
And boy was it good. The writing. The sound (think: call to prayer). The photographs. The people. From Norway and Spain and The Rez and Africa and Europe and Russia and all over the fucking world. Cowbird people taught me things. Opened my eyes to things. Made me feel things.
That's how I'd frame cowbird.
Yes, it reached an end. The smallness and quality and energy of its early days was diffused by its growth. And baser instincts of trying to stand out in the crowd. But the "reunion" was magic. Great fun. A fitting farewell to what had brought us together, a time in our lives when we felt good. We mourned what he had and what was no longer. We saw that we had moved on, gotten older, had more experiences, continued our lives.
Thank you for all that.
And thank you for the closing story on this piece. Warms the heart. At a recent workshop one of the challenges I presented was: Choose a superpower; what would you do with it? I guess there's a reason that's one of the tried and true prompts in the world. One woman chose empathy. She wanted the power to make the world kind to each other, to get them to put away weapons, to listen, to talk, to respect. To have fun.
Wouldn't it be nice?
Thanks for all that you've done. And all that you will do. Be well, friend.
I did my first blackwater dive a few weeks ago.
Suspended in darkness in the ocean, other-worldly creatures floating past you and all you can see is the little slice of water where you aim your flashlight. You become hyper aware that your experience is framed by where you literally cast your light.
Same lesson, different ritual...Perception is a flashlight in the vast ocean of experience!
Love this. I’ll be thinking about framing the positive today.