Point one: I recently wrote something that pissed off a whole bunch of Chileans. Then it was translated, and it pissed off a whole bunch more. If you need to see what it was, go back a blog post. I’m done fanning those flames. But the issue of why I, a foreigner got to write that piece, was touched upon. Kneaded, even.
Point two: When at a friend’s house about 7/9ths of the way through the meleé, I was waxing soliloquistic (while my friends watched me rant and rave and wave my arms and make those funny faces I make) about how the internet is a democracy, and if people want to opine they just should, and how anyone can have a platform and blah blah blah. And a friend of mine looked at me and said, “you have a platform because you’re lucky” and I thought grrrrr, no, I worked for this platform, and she didn’t correct me (because I was just thinking it, not speaking it), but somewhere along the way someone said something about education, and I remembered that yes, I am lucky, both in formal education (see undergrad, graduate school) and informal (family culture that encouraged free expression, reading, debate). And dammit I hate when she’s right. So my platform is partially a product of luck. Stinking good luck.
Point three: I have recently been made editor at MatadorNetwork‘s Abroad blog. I have worked with them for a couple of years, most recently as “editor-at-large” though no one really knows what that means, and I now have 500 business cards with the equivalent of “thingamawhosis adjuster” written on them. However, I was happy to be an editor-at-large, because this is a great team of people, and it was a leap up from my former title of intern/contributor. Now though, I have a whole section that I’m (mostly) in charge of, and I’m re-honing my editing skills and finding ways to be (mostly) gentle with people’s precious words, in the case where the piece fits Abroad and is close to what we’re trying to throw down/put up/phrasal verb of your choice. I’ve published some pretty prose lately, but you can’t tell which stories I’ve edited just by looking. I quite liked this one on no longer feeling like an expat. Probably because it struck me, in light of point one, how I kind of forget I’m an expat sometimes, too.
Point four: I love stories, written and in audio. I love listening to people talk. Not necessarily newscasters nor pundits, just people. I have been listening quite a bit lately to The Moth, which is some fine storytelling. And last night, I came across the site Radio Ambulante, which does something This American Life-like, but in short form, and in Spanish, and so, so good. It makes me want to do radio. Or have a job where I can listen to radio all day long. (but sometimes writing is not consistent with this, sadly).
In summation: and because I like to zip things together in tidy little packages, I have taken points one through four, but mainly 2-4 as food for thought that I want to think more about platforms, and who has them, and who doesn’t, and how to help people who have stories to tell get their thoughts, whether spoken, written, or visual (or auditory) out there. I’m not sure what that will look like. On the one hand, I “have” Abroad, and I can publish people’s writing there (submission details here). On the other hand, I have this blog, where I am unlikely to have guest bloggers, just like I am unlikely to invite you (well, most of you) into my home. I could, but I’m not seeing it yet. Maybe I should. Pam does, and it works for her.
I’m mostly saying this about the stories because I want you to know that I am thinking about voices, and how to get more of them heard (not just my own). I’d love to know about the sources of your favorite voices (including your own), or projects you know that are getting people airspace, or print space. I don’t mean social media hyped-up stumble uponned people, (no hate, just saying, they’re famosillos already).
And that is where my brain goes while my body is fighting what appears to be acute viral bronchitis. Thank you Dr. Google. And thanks for reading.