Posts in Inspiration
The divide

Taken while wandering through a growing (gentrifying) neighborhood in Philadelphia. 

Every once in awhile I think about a now-old Quartz article; at the time something had been brewing in my head and clearly in others' as well, because they articulated it so nicely right there in the headline: The Secret to the Uber Economy is Wealth Inequality

"The conventional narrative is this: enabled by smartphones, with their GPS chips and internet connections, enterprising young businesses are using technology to connect a vast market willing to pay for convenience with small businesses or people seeking flexible work.
This narrative ignores another vital ingredient, without which this new economy would fall apart: inequality....In my hometown of Mumbai, we have had many of these conveniences for at least as long as we have had landlines—and some even earlier than that. It did not take technology to spur the on-demand economy. It took masses of poor people."

Stay humble, fellow travelers 🙏🔮

photos by  Andreas Jakwerth

I've recently been thinking of Composure as a travel blog, but one about exploration rather than escape. If escape is about relaxation, exploration is the intent to find little micro-worlds that are overlooked, sometimes unimagined and sometimes even difficult. 

Here's a little micro-world uncovered by the Austrian photographer Andreas Jakwerth: a community of boxers in an overlooked corner of of Ghana’s capitol Accra. Each training "to get out of the slums, to have a better life for their families and themselves."

“Sweat running down his face I take a portrait, it shows his state of mind: Beaten but willing to give even more.”

Moments of resiliency in Andreas' full set here.

The patient calm of colors you don't notice at first

My friend Deborah mentioned that this is her favorite combination of purple & green and I have to say it's growing on me too ✌️

Accidental stories

Somewhere floating throughout the ether surrounding this beautifully written reflection is a vague hint about how to tell meaningful stories that matter: 

"In his seminal essay on 1970s New York, “My Lost City,” Luc Sante quotes the writer Rem Koolhaas as having said “New York is a city that will be replaced by another city.” I grew up with my parents’ stories of the New York they left behind to take a job in California, as far away as one could get from the city they both still thought of as home and still be in the same country. I was raised on myths of the subway and the parks and the grid and the lootings, the fountains at Lincoln Center, the cabs that wouldn’t take you past Avenue A at night, the cloud castles on the Upper East Side. I created a version of a place in which I would live one day out of these ideas of apartments and bridges, of tangled friendships and loyalties and parties that went until the next day and the parts of stories where my parents and their grown-up friends laughed and didn’t explain.

What I imagined as my own future took place in somebody else’s past. I realize now that those stories weren’t intended for me; any effect they had on me was accidental, tangential to the reason for their telling. My parents told stories about the city to reassure themselves it still existed, to travel backwards in both space and time, trying to hold a relentlessly changing thing still, imagining they could return to the place where the perfect map of the subway they folded in a drawer in their mind would still be relevant."

(An aside: I just started reading The Book of Human Emotions, which makes a good case for the idea that many emotions simply don't exist without the narratives surrounding them. Acedia, for example, which we would now clumsily describe as sloth is something that can probably be really only understood—indeed felt!—in the terms of religious practitioners of the Middle Ages, given the stories that shaped their world.)