I am kind of a terrible friend. Maybe not the way you think.

I don’t really take recommendations or suggestions for things because I get them all the time. I just don’t have time to try everything that gets suggested to me. I’m on a weird internalized schedule that’s difficult for me to explain to anyone and most people don’t have the patience for me to try and explain it to them.

I’m going to blog about it a little.

I am always working. On lots of stuff. I mean, if I just named the main things in my life, you’d be like, “how do you have time to do anything?” And I would answer with a long, rambling tract about organizing priorities and context and you would stop listening. (Or reading.)

Okay, first I’m going to address the post title. Wait, I changed the title. Oh, let me talk about the reviews thing.

I am a storyteller. I am NOT a film critic, or a book critic, or a game critic, even though I am critical of all those things. I am critical of storytelling and I am well-versed (but not academic) in almost every medium of storytelling. In some ways that makes me very smart, and in some ways it makes people want to murder me.

In general I try not to review things. I have taken at least one class about reviewing media (visual art, dance, music, and acting) so I could improve my “critical eye,” but critical review is not my bag. There are lots of people who do that already and I consume their reviews. I am always looking for new reviewers of things that I can learn something from. Some of them are pretty keen.

But they all have niches and I can’t afford to specialize.

I don’t want to learn film language. I don’t want to be an art critic. I don’t want to review music. However I have a background in graphic design and often apply the principles to the things I see (and I use my eyes a lot), I look for “more universal truths.”

Much of what interests me is at a weird intersection of logic and intuition.

Gut feelings are important to me on a personal level because I have always struggled to explain why my head and heart go in different directions. I often let my head lead because it makes better decisions but I have learned to listen to my heart-slash-gut because sometimes it tells me things my head is too slow to process.

Storytelling is a place where I can indulge both.

I like to think and feel at the same time.

I like to tell stories and I do it all the time. I don’t mean like writing or film-making or games or music or visual arts (even though I like to dabble in everything) but like, talking to people and sharing anecdotes. I’m fascinated by human experience and how we share it, which I’m convinced is somewhere very close to the heart of storytelling.

I hate sales and marketing with a burning passion. Because they use many of the tools of storytelling to an ultimately selfish purpose. I hate them and I want them to die. To my friends and coworkers and everyone I like (or tolerate) who are in sales and marketing, I apologize. It’s complicated but I hate what you do. I’m pretty convinced there isn’t a moral or ethical way to sell things.

Coincidentally that plays a bit into the post title and why I don’t take recommendations.

I make very personal recommendations to people and I try to be very cognizant of a person’s interests and feelings and I disclaim almost every recommendation I make. “You might like this,” I say. “It’s kind of like this other thing you already like.”

I mean, I work really hard to get to know people before I offer them anything like a recommendation. I care about what I consume and I try to respect other people the same way. I say this makes me a terrible friend because most of the people who are friendly to me are like, always suggesting things to me.

I get that part of this is because having things in common with people is a way to like, “like?” them. But I’m not really like that. I like people for a variety of reasons, and only some of them have to do with sharing interests.

You know what I’ve noticed about sharing interests with people? It gives you something to talk about. You know what else most people have in common? They have ideas, they have dreams, they have hopes, they have fears, they have flaws, and a lot of them–though not all of them–want to be better at something. Most people want to talk about themselves to a degree.

And those are things that most people have in common before like, any interest you might have in common (like a book or a movie or a comic or something). You know what I’ve noticed is that once someone knows you are familiar with something they’re familiar with and feel similarly about it–they actually DON’T talk about it. Like there’s a box that’s been ticked and there’s nothing more to talk about.

Sometimes I have LESS to talk about with people I share interests with than people whose interests overlap with my own. It’s fascinating. I mean, it’s sad too, but there you have it.

I have spent a lifetime learning a little bit about everything so I can talk to anyone about virtually anything. I like to tell stories because it’s one of the things that engages a listener and fires up an imagination. I practice it a lot and I’m pretty good at it. Mostly I know emotional and storytelling beats so well I know how a story–in almost any medium–will end before it gets very far at all.

And in spite of this, I still like stories that bore me.

How’s that for a trip? As much as I like to be engaged by a story, I will respect a storyteller who respects me and respects the medium. Admittedly, I might not listen to ANOTHER of their stories if they bore me too much, but everyone gets one. (Well, almost everyone.) (I mean, usually they get one. But if they really suck, I might cut them off or walk away.)

Don’t ask me for suggestions. I don’t want to give them.
Don’t ask me for reviews. Other people are better at it.

Sadly I’m coming to realize that I might not be the best at anything though I’m pretty good at a lot of things (stupid bards). I might be very good at filtering and organizing unrelated information. “Parsing,” a friend once called it. Making sense of senseless things. “Wisdom,” another friend called it.

That’s a hard sell on a resume.