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brookdelorme-circleI write by hand, mostly with colored pens from Muji. Seeing my thoughts in pink or purple or orange makes me happy. 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 37% 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.) Here’s an ongoing, dated list of some of the books I’ve been reading.


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. 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 from the Arabic by 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.

I always love to hear from friends and like-minded people. Leave a comment, or email

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