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Blog // Travel
February 2, 2009

Storied Food And Storied Living

My childhood memories are filled with good stories. Ours was a household where you weren’t just expected to describe the outline of your day, but to do so in a way that was entertaining and filled with sparkling detail. Even recounting the most trivial of everyday experiences were opportunities to laugh, cry and connect with […]

My childhood memories are filled with good stories. Ours was a household where you weren’t just expected to describe the outline of your day, but to do so in a way that was entertaining and filled with sparkling detail. Even recounting the most trivial of everyday experiences were opportunities to laugh, cry and connect with the meaning of it all.

Oftentimes, I feel surrounded by stories, since the things that fill my home and working space each carry their narrative. I know that can be a path to extreme sentimentality, but it also seems to be the way to the right kind of materialism. After, if our “things” don’t speak to us, drawing our mind back to past experiences and interactions, to biography and relationship, then why keep them, why buy them, why give them space in our lives?

In a way, that’s why I still blog. These everyday and unremarkable things that pass across my desk, the things I read and work on, each have their own story to tell if I can slow down enough to consider them, reflect on them and think about them. Or, they should, if they are worth bothering with in the first place.

In that sense, I found A Tale of Two Shopping Experiences a fascinating read. It shows the way experiences of shopping for food can (and really should) be “storied,” or rich in stories. This isn’t just a story about consumption and spending, but about provenance and relationships. It’s about the connection between our lives and the lives of others – from the farm to the table.

That, in a way, makes me wonder how well I have gone about the “job” of being a blogger. I had a lot of stories to write during my years in London and didn’t really make a good go of blogging. I had even more stories during my years in Delhi and struggled, through the tiredness, internet instability and personal crisis of those days to blog regularly. I’ve blogged more regularly since moving to Hong Kong, but, I feel like my well of stories is running dry and that makes me wonder what that might say and what that says about my life.

Maybe I’m over-thinking the whole thing (can verbal overshadowing afflict storytellers?) but lately I just don’t find my own stories all that interesting. I know part of it comes from having a microscopic social life, part from the “dad thing” and part from the networking culture that afflicts the expat scene here.

Of maybe, it’s the feeling that everything I’m doing – be it music, writing, family life, whatever – is aimed at some intangible future. I’m building a home studio, but it’s really a portable studio because one day soon I will pack up and leave. I’ve just about given up on networking with the local music scene. I’m still writing theology (of sorts) but I won’t publish anything here, don’t really have any church connection here and don’t even know what outlet might exist for that in the future. I still tinker with guitars and electronics, still dream up business plans and ideas for a workshop but won’t be doing that here either.

In a way I’ve lived a lot of my last twelve or so years, telescoped into the future, living in hope. The problem is that’s not real. Life now is either good, or it sucks and the dreamed for future may never materialise.

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