MedellĂ­n, Colombia

May 12, 2019

On Chapters

As life has picked up for me here, I've been thinking a lot about the idea of chapters.

The way life has these natural points where it's clear that "that part" is mostly behind us, and a new part is beginning.

I feel that way here. Not simply because I'm in a new place - but because new things are happening in my life. I'm writing these letters again. Writing and making things more broadly again.

The fallow couple of years before this really happened - but they are not happening now.

I find myself waking up each day, turning a new page in this big book, wondering, "what's going to happen next?" and "how long will this chapter go?" Like any good book, there's real suspense.

Here in Colombia, the shelves in my rented apartment are packed with an amazing collection of books - poetry and literature and books on art and philosophy across two languages.

Books.

It's a funny thing - everywhere I've travelled, I still find that books matter. Even with the internet and e-readers and all sorts of "better" solutions, I've yet to meet anyone who, given the choice, wouldn't rather sit down with an honest-to-goodness paper book.

I think part of the reason is that books so aptly mimic our own experience of life.

We start blind, not knowing where or even who we are. As we move forward, turn page after page, though we clearly remember what just happened, the earlier parts start to get fuzzy - we only really know how we felt about it. The page right here, now, enthralls us. And we never know what's coming next. And if the book is any good, we're always sad when it ends - always left wanting a little bit more.

A lot, you know, like life.

Of course, not every book is great end-to-end, and few of us are blessed to live through great masterpieces either.

There are periods where the action drags, where we spend most of the time listening to speeches from droll characters we don't give two figs about. But for those slogs, there are also the highlights. Tightly written chapters, full of interesting characters we never quite get enough of.

Each day, we turn another page, eyeing the sliver ahead of us, until one day, we're out.

Out beyond my window, perched atop a tree is a black and yellow bird, singing its way through its own chapter. The tree it's in, shedding leaves, finishing another.

The world stretching out, far as I can see - a library.

Have a literary week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw this week was, maybe oddly, this piece on quadratic voting. It reminded me, despite how it feels sometimes, that the world isn't done yet. That we're still trying new things together, figuring out how to make it work. :)

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