Daniel asked me to rewrite the about pages on Brook There (coming soon), and as I was doing that I decided it was probably time to rewrite the about page here as well. So here goes:
I write by hand, mostly with colored pens from Muji. Seeing my thoughts in pink or purple or orange makes me happy.
Five times a week I post a short blog piece, and about once a week make a video blog summarizing these ideas.
I’m not too good at small talk. I like writing, but it’s not part of my identity. I write because I need to convey my thoughts, not because I want to be a writer.
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with systems (who doesn’t?), and often I’ll look at the world and shake my head thinking, god, what systems we create. (educational, legal, political, medical…) I have little faith in human-created systems but know that we can’t help but make them. Everything we build ends up slotting into the system somewhere, which is why we idealize the drop-out, the vagabond, the van life, the homesteader, the minimalist (or at least many of us do.) But even the outsiders are subject to the systems which have been created.
If I were to rename this blog perhaps it would be called Autodidact + Iconoclastic Strategies for Life but then, on second look, the words are too bulky and I’m not sure how to say the same thing in a short and elegant way. Who knows. At least it is less abstract than a title like The Systems We Create.
I’m an INTJ and so I tend to overanalyze. I’m married to Daniel (ENFP) who is my business partner and the voice of fully 36% of what gets written down here.
Books are the most important technology, and I’m thankful that I live in a time where they are more available and accessible than ever. Other than that, I’m an analoguist (otherwise known as a nouveau-luddite.)
Brook There: Organic cotton undies and bras, made in the USA. Daniel and I run this clothing brand together, and it represents what I might call our business aesthetics: ethical, made in america, organic, and minimalist.
Autodidact Degree: I like to say I’m in year four of a ten year autodidact program in Arabic language and Middle Eastern Studies. The site is a placeholder for a project that will require collaborators: if this is you, email me!
Arabiclanguage.me: A dual-language study site that I produce in collaboration with Kifah Abdulla. We also have a weekly conversation group in Portland- join us if that’s your cup of tea (it’s at a tea shop.)
Translation: First translation project, just launched. Dead Still Dream– Poetry by Kifah Abdulla, translated by the Arabic from me. More related translation and editing projects coming soon.
Why Are You Learning Arabic?
I actually get this question a lot. Note that nobody would ask Why are you learning french? … and that probably gets to the heart of the matter. There’s a whole lot of unexplored material existing between the “west” and the “middle east”. Speaking the primary language of some 27 countries of that region gives me the opportunity to have a more nuanced perspective than just studying the area as part of a poly-sci or international affairs curriculum.
Plus, I love language study.