Month-in-Review Highlights: August 2019

Sunset on my balcony to send out the month. August 30, 2019. Lausanne, Switzerland.

Sunset on my balcony to send out the month. August 30, 2019. Lausanne, Switzerland.

I postmortem each month shortly after it ends, reflecting on what happened in general and, more specifically, in the context of my goals. Though I don’t share all my insights here, I have made it a practice to share at least one key highlight or insight. (To read previous months’ reviews, click here.)

I made August count.

I kicked it off in New York City, continued it in Alsace, and wrapped it up in the south of France. All—yes—while continuing work at pace and upholding all the regular life-maintenance activity.

All this to say that I achieved and overachieved on many of my 2019 goals in August.

However, August didn’t include as much activity on the French-language learning and the local-friend-making fronts, which I need to rectify now that autumn has arrived.

When I consider the month, I feel most satisfied with August’s progress on my 2019 goal to get back into my writing.

I achieved a milestone on this count earlier this year, when I revamped this website and relaunched it in its current form in late March. (Again: A huge thank you to all the people who have stuck around since the blog’s founding in 2012—and to the people who have joined me in the journey since I revitalized it earlier this year. You make my life richer when you read, comment, and share.)

This August, I achieved another milestone on the writing path when I posted life my first two interviews as part of my Stakes project: One with Paul Strobl and one with Suridh Hassan.

I’ve had four conversations for this project to date and have four more in the scheduling process. I’ve found each conversation fascinating and insightful and horizons-expanding. Every conversation could lead to so many additional conversations that I’ve had to constrain myself to stay on the current research topic. And, though I’ll refrain from attempting to pull any threads between them quite yet, I can already see so many possibilities.

Every conversation has taken place via Skype to date, so I haven’t yet had the chance to use my new interview tools for the project (though I had fun playing with them and used them to film Fred and Arnaud reprising Kirby-sur-Seine).

With a project in such an early stage, personal introductions to possible participants has proved key to success. People rarely volunteer for a personal conversation with a stranger without an intermediary to vouch for said stranger.

I’ve said thank-you personally to my referrers to date, yet I’ll say it again publicly here: To the people who have contributed to this project through connecting me to their friends and family members, you’ve made my progress so far possible.

Of course, to achieve this project’s potential, I need more people like the ones who’ve helped! If you know someone who fits the project parameters, would you make an introduction for me? I’d love to speak with him or her.