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Dancing leaves no trace 
Greetings from my shed...
Hello new people. Welcome. My name is Christian Payne.
Or @Documentally in some online places.
This week has had me spend time with friends, potter about on two wheels, visit an actual barber and look intently at some different sized screens.
Earlier in the week I hit the word limit when trying to write a post on LinkedIn.
So I thought I’d recycle those words into a form of intro/update for those who are new here. Or those I might not have met. So here they are…
The LinkedIn algorithm told me I need to write something and it suggested I talk about #worklifebalance.
The problem with that is the word 'work' can sound negative. That's why we have to separate it from 'life' to feel 'balanced'.
I do have a kind of balance. But it's more of a precarious dance. Work for me feels like play and I feel a little guilty for that. Especially as sometimes the fun stuff is less lucrative than the soul flogging stuff.
At the moment I call myself a writer. And while my creative spelling and grammar will show I'm not a natural writer, I very much enjoy the practise.
Although it doesn't feel like work, ninety five percent of my meagre income comes from writing. I’m told only a small fraction of professional writers earn a decent wage, so I might be doing alright for someone playing at this.
Right now, if forced to put 'Work' and 'Life' on some old-school scales, 'life' would be swinging high above work. It often does. Especially since the first lockdown has had me based at home.
Although earning far less writing than I ever did training and documenting I can't and won't complain. My Wife works and is an actual qualified bonafide professional. She navigates the serious grown up world far better than I ever could.
So I guess there are lots of things in the balance here. As a trainee house husband, (trainee as I don't feel I've earned my stripes yet) I dance between school drop offs, pick ups, dog walks, meals, maintenance and other household chores.
In-between all this I research, try to grow and learn at every opportunity. Some of this I share into this weekly dispatch. Occasionally I still get paid to document. Or even do a little training in podcasting or videography.
I'm very lucky to live in a country where if you are able to work you can likely find it. So I'm aware that I'm speaking from a position of privilege. Plus warping semantics a little.
It's also hard for some to change their job. And certainly not as easy as changing your mind. I hope a shift in mindset can offer some people a shift in perspective.
My careers advice councillor at school (remember them?) told me me I’d make a good farmer, preacher or politician. So of course I skipped A-levels. Instead I studied physics, took up engineering and built lasers before dropping out. Lasers were fun but I decided I needed to see the world.
Over almost 10 years I slept in ditches, trees, tents, hostels and homes. I had a lot of jobs. Or should I say I played at being lots of things? A Teacher, busker, shepherd, actor, stuntman, radio presenter, farmer, didgeridoo instructor, photographer, expedition leader, campsite manager and tour guide. To name a few.
But since 2000 I played at being a photographer, consultant, trainer and coach. In all kinds of places, for a variety of clients. Of course there have been crisis of confidence and plenty of imposter syndrome. Also times I took myself a little too seriously as well as not seriously enough.
But I really did have fun. And was never accused of not being present and engaged.
Now here I am. Playing at being a writer/artist/podcaster.
The curse of the clinically curious is that it's hard to specialise. But do we have to? If work feels like work then it can't feel like play. Perhaps that's the secret. Nurture your playful mentality and keep calling work play till it feels like it.
Then when people look for some kind of balance they won't need to chose between living to work or working to live. They can happy live to play and play to live.
Once upon a time I taught English to a Thai monk called TongJan. Looking in from the outside I thought his life was hard. Wake up before dawn, eat, study, pray, day after day. Yet he was always smiling. I asked him why he didn't find it difficult or boring. He told me that he'd found his purpose. That his purpose in life was to give his whole heart and soul to it.
Right now, that's what writing feels like to me. You can make anything. You can build realities as complicated or as simple as you like. And then live inside them.
It's not as easy as I’d like. But we all need stories.
Something else I struggle with is self promotion. I spend most of my time sharing things to here (Documentally.net). It's mostly free but some of you amazing people have chosen to pay a few quid a month to support this ongoing experiment.
If you are reading this and enjoy my emails, I'd appreciate it if you could find the time to fully subscribe. It's the cost of a posh coffee a month. If for any reason you are unable to pay, message me and we can sort something out.
Either way. Please share this post with your networks. It does make a difference.
In conclusion to the initial prompt posted by the LinkedIn bot... In one way the answer is 100% life for me. But you can't find balance when hopping from passion to passion. Life is a constant state of flux. The trick is to keep dancing.
O.K. Station identification done. Back to the email and some things that caught my eyes, ears and tastebuds this week.
Ken Smith is 74 years old and has lived like a hermit for almost 40 years next to Loch Treig in a log cabin in the Scottish Highlands. He has no electricity or running water and it’s a two mile walk from the nearest road. Lizzie McKenzie is the filmmaker and had to earn Ken’s trust over 7 years before he let her film him. Episode one on BBC iPlayer is a decent intro to Ken and recent health developments but there is so much still to know. Here is a little sample…
Another person living differently.
Link via Geo
“The Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus was born in Italy in the first century. His work survives only in lectures, in which he discusses the mind-dulling properties of a carnivorous diet, minimalist home design, and the beard as the uniform of the philosopher.”
Want to be a philosopher? Try farming.
The number of books I’m currently reading with ‘Exponential’ in the title is increasing… Exponentially. O.K. So there’s only two…
RadioLab have a great little series called Mixtape out at the moment. Here is a cool video promo for it…
Simon Adler does a great job at producing this despite never actually having been into cassette tapes first time round. (Yup. Feeling officially old now.)
I’ve binged them all and really enjoyed the stories and production. The latest I listened to was The Wandering Soul which documents some early sound design on tape used in psyops during the Vietnam War.
A Moth story of protest from Frank Charmers. Jobs not bombs.
Also worth a listen is this "A surreal flow of snippets - news and views, music and memories - melded into a huge orchestral piece of compelling originality. THE SKEWER is satire at its cleverest, both biting and beautiful. If you could listen to a Francis Bacon painting, this is what it would sound like.”
I was bought this food stuff on a whim. And like the purchaser I assumed that it was a jar of fish eggs. Occasionally, very occasionally I will splash out the £4.99 on a jar of budget caviar a.k.a salt-cured roe a.k.a fish eggs. But these are not fish eggs.
SJÖRAPPORT seaweed pearls are made from kelp seaweed. It is then somehow made into tiny balls which although are nowhere near as salty as roe, they do have something about them. A subtle fresh slightly salty taste. I tried a healthy dose both on a cracker and with eggs. They were moreish after beer as the small jar was quickly emptied. If you are vegetarian or vegan and miss the original these might be worth a try.
Papa John’s has a promotion where you can order your pizza using morse code.
Denmark is repurposing discarded wind turbine blades as bike shelters.
My Kindle case arrived. And it’s almost perfect.
It’s a well built case with magnetic folding mechanism and auto on/off when opened or closed. The only downside is that it doesn’t sit totally level when sat on it’s folded stand. It leans a tiny bit to the right. Not enough to trigger my OCD.
At time of writing Cabbage the dog is trending on Twitter in the UK. Stolen along with the dog walkers van in London. Rory is understandably desperate to see him safely at home. If you can help please do. [UPDATE]
Although I’m pretty sure potential loss in revenue plays a big part in this story, Tim Cook says that if you want t side load apps then buy Android.
Have you recently added your location as Bullhead City on the Documentally community map? If so who are you? :-)
Not all science papers are science. Check to see if they are peer reviewed. Some that aren’t can still be entertaining or even useful though.
In 2017, a European bioethicist proposed a new class of legal rights ‘neuro rights’ describing the freedom to decide who is allowed to monitor, read or alter your brain. More on this in the Guardian.
The story of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iran in 9mins.
A brain implant turns thoughts into text with 94% accuracy.
Here are some brain exercises to keep you sharp.
Thanks for reading. If you are reading online please like the post. I think it does something. If you buy me a coffee and are not a full supporter, let me know and i’ll unlock everything for a month.
Next week I hope to get some audio out for supporting subscribers. I’m also excited to say i’ll be planning for some multimedia workshops that are on the horizon. [Woot!] :-)
“The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.” ~ E. F. Schumacher
Have a story worthy week.
See you out there.