Herewith, five great notions, quotes, thoughts, passages, and a poem, from poet-philosopher, and Puget Sound resident, David Whyte. What’s unusual is that this poet works in the corporate world. Whyte also seems to have helped inspire the formation of Dark Angels, the UK-based writing collective. (Of which I am a proud member.) I thought this was perfect. “And so the ability to ask beautiful questions, often in very unbeautiful moments, is one of the great disciplines of a human life. And a beautiful question starts to shape your identity as much by asking it as it does by having it answered.” (Thanks to Tim and Neil, friends and 5CT subscribers for the tip.)
To the lazy days of summer’s end, I welcome you. First, over to England for some great black and white photographs. A hot tip on a great little notebook. LARB—dish from Laos or book review website? Baa Baa Black Sheep by Wynton Marsalis is the perfect accompaniment to tour the work of a Portuguese goddess of abstract painting. “At night I would go to sleep dreaming of sea adventures.” – John Claridge
Established: 1198, 1498, 1515, 1519, 1534, 1570, 1698, 1705, 1715, 1759, 1824, 1891. An inn, a removals company, a butchers, a ferry, a printing press, a bell foundry, a wine merchants, a stone carvers, a scale makers, a brewers, an agricultural company, a gum manufacturer. How on earth have they managed that? And what are their secrets of survival?
In Established, twelve business writers set out to find the answers to these questions and to tell the stories of these companies that have survived scores of booms and busts, black sheep in the family and strange twists of fate.
But they’re not your typical team of business writers. The twelve are from the Dark Angels stable, the brand that since 2004 has been encouraging authentic voices in business writers through its residential courses and workshops. Storytelling is at the heart of the Dark Angels approach. In Established you will find that each of these enduring businesses has a great story, each of which is told in an individual voice that brings range and freshness to the book and makes it quite unlike the mainstream ‘how to’ hardback.
But the lessons the stories contain are every bit as instructive, from the eschewal of nepotism to the generational mantra of ‘humility and rebellion’. The reader will find contradictions, on questions like world domination or keeping it to the one shop. And that’s the joy of this book, that readers looking for insight as well as good old entertainment will gravitate towards the business that most resembles theirs in spirit and set-up if not in actual trade.
The lesson in every instance that is closest to the writers’ hearts is that the story itself is one of the greatest assets of every business – and when you’ve got over 500 years of records it’s quite a challenge to tell it, especially in a couple of thousand words. Established does just that.
His name is Mr. Wendell Berry and we need his voice now more than ever. One startup, 57 trillion squares. This subversive intellect from Atlantic City has thought deeply about you, your country, your children, and your calling. A near perfect film about journalism and power. A beautiful writer leaves home for another language. “Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.” – James Hillman
T his autumn edition of 5CT is dedicated to passionate humans everywhere who chase their muse, their passions and their creative obsessions to the ends of the earth. A friend and mentor writes a seriously good novel. After you read this, stone inscriptions will never be the same. What the Fuck is a fucking amazing listen. The Great Gatsby was great, but how about that cover art? An amazing woman talks about work, and, um, super chickens. “Noise is a buffer, more effective than cubicles or walls.” Margaret Heffernan
(cover and author photo by Jessie Simmons)
My friend John Simmons has written a very lovely book that does what every good novel should do. It evokes a time and a place and is populated with indelible characters. The language—as you might expect—is original and beautiful. Sometimes it is startling. John started this book some years ago and fate smiled upon him in the form of London based publisher, Urbane. My friend Neil Baker loved it too…
Someone once said that a novel with a great voice at the heart of it can carry any reader all the way through the story no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, no matter how long it all takes. The voice in Days Without End, by Sebastian Barry, is so profoundly human, so wise and observant, so full of heart and hope and horror and wonder — we could follow it forever. It’s a complex love story set in the midst of a genocide — the Indian Wars, and the Civil War. The story of the author’s own son has shaped this novel and given us a story that goes deep and stays there. Do yourself a favor and read this book. -RP
WE SERIOUSLY DIG SITEGROUND
Dark Angels writing workshops help writers find their voice.
- This October, we're in New Bedford, MASS. It's beautiful, a little remote, a lot of inspiring.
Perfect for working copywriters, corporate communications people, business owners who want to write better and storytellers of all kinds. Click the nib to learn more.
“First Love” ostensibly tells the story of a 16-year-old Russian student, Vladimir, who falls hard for the 21-year old Princess Zinaida. Turgenev shows us how Zinaida’s family is clinging to a shabby social respectability; Vladimir’s mother dismisses Zinaida as an “adventuress.” But Vladimir is drawn into the circle of suitors around the young beauty, and, while he is aware he is acting the fool, can not help himself–he becomes obsessed with the girl. Turgenev’s story captures the sway an enchanting young woman full of spirit and life can hold over men; the crazy, intoxicating feeling of being deeply infatuated for the first time; the gut-churning attraction of the unattainable Other.” ~ Jefferson Flanders
5CT RUNS ON CORTADO’S
No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
~ Sheik Abd-al-Kadir
12x12x62 :: STORYGRAPHS
12x12x62 is an Instagram project. 12 photographers from around the world combine images with stories of love and loss, transformation and memory, consumerism and identity. Amazing in all ways. Click the top image to see more.