I am committing to a new writing practice, a memoir series that I will publish weekly on this blog for at least 52 weeks. I’m calling it “Among Other Things.”

I see beauty, value and power in this creative practice that is worth exploring in a way I have not done before. I have had the notions of memoir loosely floating in my mind for a while, probably years. Not the idea that I would one day write a book-length memoir, necessarily. More of a question about the idea, its value and what the exercise of examining my own life might uncover. And why do it?

The why is because, for whatever reasons, there is a force that compels me to share who I am, what I think about, the questions I ask and how I fumble through life’s learning process, especially with my sons. Of course, it can be only from the current understanding and exploration of who I am in any given moment. 

This feeling drawn to exploration in memoir surely has to do with my lifelong curiosity to know about other people. I am a curious being who loves to dig into stories of human experience and people’s insights from it, their learnings. [Exhibits A, B & C: Humanitou Q&A archive, Humanitou podcast and Looking Upstream podcast.]

So it seems natural enough to me that I feel compelled to be open with my sons and others about my story and perspectives. Vulnerability is a point of connection among us humans. 

Maybe my sons won’t care. Or maybe some day they will when they are of a softer age and in a softer phase of life. Maybe that’s when I’m gone. 

Maybe they will find self-understanding in the accumulated pieces I will have shared. Maybe they will want to better know themselves through their understanding of me and the influences, the full spectrum of better and worse, I will have had in their lives. 

Maybe they will be curious to know more of who I am or was, in the way I’m curious about others, and wish I knew the stories of my own family. Or maybe they will have kids, and they will be curious to know and to connect the dots of where they come from.

A WWII-era Army footlocker of journals spelling out events, places, people, moments of clarity, struggles, hopes, angers and joys written in my singular handwriting already awaits. And there will be more. 

Photographs from our family and from my professional work. Audio/podcast recordings, with others and solo. Poetry and other writings, personal and professional. Visual artwork. Whatever of me that survives, at least for a while, will be available to them. 

I don’t want people who wish to know me, as I wish I did those who came before me, to be unable to access my mind and heart because I was secretive and closed off, unwilling to be vulnerable and expressive. 

I am generally frustrated by that closed-off mindset I often see in older and more conservative members of our current society. Those who, among other reasons, seem to view self-reflection as indulgent and self-expression as vain. 

I want to ask them: Why do you not share?! Are you incurious and do not value the examined life? Or maybe it’s that you are selfish and withholding your contributions to greater understanding? For others learning? Do you not share with us because you think you can’t (lack sense of permission) or because you won’t?

Occasionally I ask podcast guests why they are willing to be vulnerable and share their stories in such a public way. The answer always comes back in some form of this: to help others. 

Vulnerability is the point of connection as humans. As in, it’s the geographical point of the soul where we meet and see ourselves in each other. And then really see each other, connect.

And for my sons, I want them to know that I know I am a full and flawed and authentic human, and they are likewise permitted to be the same. Go have adventures. Go fuck things up. Just survive and learn from it. Work through the anger. Let go of the shame. Find your way back to love. Let go of your ego that gets in the way of connection. And know that your own story is worthy, in all its shades and angles. 

Among other things.

Humanitou