For my own amusement and delight

Pivoting to tiny celebrations of the world’s wiggliness

written by fiona

Usually we’re encouraged to look up, but looking down can be just as rewarding. Here I noticed that some very triangular leaves had been sucked into a street drain in such a way that they all had their stalks down and were standing vertical, resembling tiny trees.

published on March 21, 2022

I’ve been struggling with what to write here. Most company blogs find some way to tie their content back to the product, so that’s what I’ve tried to do with these first few posts. I write about something I’m interested in, but find a way to incorporate Fondfolio or its deeper themes such as the impact of thoughtful words, cultivating and celebrating meaningful relationships, giving better gifts, and so on.

Posts like this are fine, but I don’t write them as often as I’d like because they require more effort, or at least they feel like they do. This is also a company with one full-time employee (myself) and I don’t want to churn stuff out just to keep the algorithms happy — the words matter to me, but not for those reasons. So what to do in between the big deep ones? Ideally something that takes itself less seriously.

What I’m most compelled to write about on the regular are all the little things that jump out at me when I’m interacting in the world. Nature being amazing, people being kind to each other, playful environmental interventions, cute things my cat did. Little everyday stuff and nonsense — situations that delight me and tip the precarious balance against complete and utter despair.

It’s same stuff I enjoy reading about. My three favourite newsletters in this vein are Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing, Thom Wong’s Super Granular and Edith Zimmerman’s Drawing Links. Thom Wong recently created another newsletter called Haarlem Shuffle which, in his own words, “will be about paying a lot of attention to small, somewhat insignificant moments”. When I read this announcement I remember thinking, yessss!

I haven’t read Ross Gay’s Book of Delights yet, but having heard an excerpt from it on an episode of This American Life, I’m into it. He has a lovely story about taking a tomato seedling on an international flight. David Sedaris’s work tickles me for the same reasons. It’s his attentiveness to and curiosity for mundane occurrences in his life (and of course his well-crafted re-telling). HBO’s How to with John Wilson is one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time — visual delight, fastidiously curated and woven together, like a beautiful wonky tapestry. All these people look very closely at what’s happening around them and write about the bits that stand out. That’s the stuff I like — tiny celebrations of the wigglyness of this world!

It’s not just my preferred content. When I think about the people in my life whom I most admire and feel energized by, it’s those with that same openness. Not a blind optimism or a forced up-beatness about everything — those people are annoying! More of a sharing of delight while acknowledging the darkness. They have cultivated what The School of Life aptly describes as cheerful despair. It’s almost like the acceptance of the darkness in their lives is helping them notice and marvel at the spots of light.

Anyway, I know it’s not unique or original, and it probably won’t be good for a while because I’m not a writer. But I want to write every day and I’m most often inspired to write when I’m delighted, so I’ll start there. As best I can, I’ll follow the instructions from Mary Oliver’s Sometimes:

"Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

Fun fact, this is one of the quotes I like to engrave in the back of Fondfolios. So there you go, I found a way to bring it back to the product.

written by fiona

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