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Weekend Note / 05.

Weekend notes are short-form POVs.


Two summers ago, on my first assignment for the website Freunde von Freunden, I interviewed an artist named Aslan Malik. At the time, Aslan lived in an apartment in Kip's Bay, which he shared with a cat named Anise and very little else. Accustomed to writing about interiors polished to magazine-quality perfection, I wasn't sure what we'd photograph. Aside from his art — which included photographs and drawings and pages torn from books — and several pairs of shoes, there wasn't much.

But there was a story. "In 2014, my apartment in Berlin caught fire," he told me. "It was the worst building in the worst neighborhood in the city. It looked like it could collapse any other day anyway, so when it burned, I assumed everything was gone. I felt a rush a joy. The building wasn't destroyed, but the happiness I felt when I thought I lost everything stayed with me. It made realize that I had nothing, really, to lose. So I digitized all of my records, and I moved away." The freedom of having nothing kept him moving — and yet, when we climbed the ladder to his rooftop later, it was clear his life didn't lack a thing. He showed me the Chrysler Building, the Empire State. "Everything's here," he said.

I tell that story often, because it was one of the first big lessons I learned in professional writing — and I think it translates to the everyday, too: there's always a story. 

Sometimes it's hidden — up a ladder, or buried under trees (like Dez's turtle), or shelved in jars (like Zoe's lamb). Yesterday, I stepped into a basement studio of a nondescript building around the corner to find what I can only call a terrarium laboratory, with plants and mysterious wooden boxes and watering systems that mimicked fog. 

It made me wonder: what would I find if I asked more questions, or dug in the dirt, or knocked on doors, or looked more closely? Whole worlds, I guessed, and new faces. Jungles filled with mist. Stories everywhere.

Have a wonderful weekend.
 

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