Introducing 'Notes from the edge'
Where to start?
Well, as I sit writing this I am reflecting on the fact that I've had the immense privilege - both in the relational sense that it has been a privilege to get to know her, and in the societal-sense - to have four months off work to care for my baby daughter, who was born in January this year.
It has given me dedicated time to be with her: play with her, soothe her, change her, feed her, rest with her, hug her, laugh with her... but in those moments of slumber and napping, its given me dedicated time to continue some small habits, and the one that has really stuck has been writing.
I used to keep a journal back when I was a teenager. That was of course, until my girlfriend at the time decided to take a peek and turn my head inside out. Mortifying. So unsurprisingly, the habit never felt safe or reliably useful. However, with the pressure from work temporarily dissolved and my free time limited to 20-40 minute sleep cycles, I thought it could be useful, especially to help unpack what had happened over the course of living through a global pandemic whilst also becoming a parent, and detaching myself from my day-to-day identity as a designer. I've found it incredibly useful.
And so, this new habit has encouraged me to not only keep doing it privately, but try and commit to some more public writing, and see if I enjoy that as much as I do for myself. So here this is, as the first issue of this public writing.
I'm taking a few cues from people I respect who write, and so am starting with the low-stakes but regular commitment of writing a newsletter. I've only thought out in headline the first 7-8, I am trying not to overthink it, but I certainly and immediately have a few things I'd love to get down through the keyboard. I'm trying to shoot from the hip, and get over my inertia about writing more regularly, so try and read this in as much of a conversational way as you can.
In time, I hope to see where my attention goes; where my research and interests go and where any feedback/comments from readers enters to helps to reinforce particular areas of interest.
Nevertheless, my personal remit is pretty clear: I am very much dedicated to working around the issues of a modern death, and our experience of living fully before we die, and finding 'better' ways to die. One clear reason to write is to really unpack what all that means in time, and to misquote Tim Ferris to get the things that are driving me mad, out of my head.
I've called this newsletter 'Notes from the edge' which was the title of a short-lived experiment into publishing curated links (a run of 10 newsletters, which was fun but wasn’t really about writing) and I've always like the phrase, not least because I am at my happiest when I am at the edges of my own experience and finding a way to voice it aloud, nothing makes me feel more alive. (note: I think it was seeded by a comment Joseph Campbell had about how the Hero explores to the edges of his comfort and knowledge, into the darkness).
So expect newsletters about end-of-life care, death, psycho-spiritual care, the nature of care, wellbeing, regenerative philosophies, Buddhism, Jungian psychotherapy, psychedelics, consciousness and many, many other things orbiting my role as lead for end-of-life care at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London.
If you've read this, I appreciate it and hope you'll discover some more things that will resonate.