Notes & readings on how we “see” the world and tell its stories. (I'm changing up this series a bit.)
Hello! I’m Emily, and this is a newsletter about how we seek and tell stories to make sense of a rapidly changing world & our personal and collective place in it.
Finally, another Landmarkings dispatch! Though I’ve decided to focus this series a little more narrowly, in order to spend less time curating and more time writing.
I guess I went through a phase where I just really liked sharing the things I found, as a way of also more intentionally documenting what I found illuminating for the questions I was exploring. People also seemed to find the lists useful, which made me want to keep doing it. But more and more, I’ve been coming into the feeling that I want to spend more time just writing, beyond what I do for work, and less effort “organising”. (There are already so many other things in life to organise!) I’ve also come to realise that the questions I’m concerned with any given time are deeply personal, and that I can more effectively explore them in haphazard fashion, without the need to impose on them some sort of order—conditions that privacy better confers.
That doesn’t mean I won’t still share reads and other things I find interesting, but they will be peppered more occasionally throughout my letters, or on Substack Notes/Mastodon. Instead, from now on, Landmarkings will be a series featuring an anecdote on writing, reporting, and freelancing, followed by a handful of reads that help us better “see” the world and tell its stories. Some letters in this series will be free, some will be for paid subscribers only. They will more likely be of interest to other writers and storytellers, but I think they could also appeal more generally. After all, we’re all trying to make sense of where we are. We’re all documenting the world around us in some way, even if it’s just on Instagram. We’re all trying to communicate with one another better ❤️
Being a journalist in Malaysia means that sources will often ask to read your draft before publication. In line with journalism ethics, I always say no, and they usually accept this on the strength of my previous work and after I assure them I’ll make sure to check the veracity of any facts or quotes I’m unsure about. The most I’ve ever done is to let them know which quotes I’m going to use.
Once, though, that wasn’t enough.