The 5CT editorial team was loosed upon the world (Langley, WA) this past summer, and we found ourselves stopped cold by the penetrating gaze of an otherworldly sheep peering out of a gallery window. An old hymn gets pushed into some exciting new territory. In this crazed, demented, political moment, remember the king, who hailed from Yorba Linda, California. I give you one of the best, most original podcasts you’ll ever hear. And, a bit of prose and poetry from Franz Wright.
“It struck him that how you spent Christmas was a message to the world about where you were in life, some indication of how deep a hole you had managed to burrow for yourself.” – Nick Hornby, About a Boy
Portrait in Soft Grey, Claudia Pettis (4 x 6′)
“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery,” said Francis Bacon. These portraits of Black Welsh Mountain Sheep left the 5CT team fumbling for words. There’s an ephemeral, weightless, mystery here. Behold this lovely, lovely being. And those eyes.
From the new 5CT corporate headquarters on Whidbey Island, we bring you the No country for old men who love cortado’s edition. 1. Our editorial team uses Bear all day long. 2. Let’s say you’ve heard about ‘storytelling’ and how ‘storytelling’ might help your business. What to do? 3.Where do fairy tales come from? 4.Please do enjoy this sparkly shop window duet. 5. Poems from an unlikely — or perhaps not — place. “If you want to be happy, be,” said Leo Tolstoy and what, we should argue?
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.)
We hear a lot about the power of words and of stories. Those instances when the yeast works its magic are rare and beautiful to behold. Kate Tempest is a performance poet from London, and her stunning 2015 Europe is Lost seems a mite prescient. I found myself floored at the writing in The Crack-Up, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s series of ‘confessional’ essays for Esquire. Martin Pistorius made me weep and Max Porter filled me with joy and wonder and a touch of envy. The rich, driving sounds of Kendrick Lamar’s Complexion (A Zulu love) come via DM. Seems a good time for this: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” George Orwell
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.
Established: Lessons from the world’s oldest companies tells the stories of twelve businesses with a combined age of almost 5,000 years. They’ve survived war, plague, rebellion, boom, bust, depression and strange twists of fate. But how and what can we learn from them?
Find out when co-author Richard Pelletier is joined by Ted Leonhardt for a discussion of the book and a conversation about storytelling, creativity and entrepreneurship at Folio in downtown Seattle at 7 pm.
TREAT YOURSELF TO 5CT
5CT is a free! curatorial exuberance, a liturgy of art and literary loveliness, a dash of tech, a sparkle of Sunday wonderment from Lucid Content.
(photo by Beowulf Sheehan)
“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that, but you are the only you.” NEIL GAIMAN
WE SERIOUSLY DIG SITEGROUND
Dark Angels writing workshops help writers find their voice.
- October of 2018, we're back 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.
5CT RUNS ON CORTADO’S
No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
~ Sheik Abd-al-Kadir
photographs from one year
Photographs from one year is one man's take at the world around him over the course of a year.