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April Observations from

John Steinbeck ❡
Ruth Padel ❡
Miguel De Unamuno ❡
Quan Barry ❡
Delia Owens ❡
Joy Williams ❡
❡ Anne Lamott
❡ Ernest Hemingway
❡ Wade Davis
❡ John Aitchison
❡ Thích Nhất Hạnh
❡ Juhā
Tuesday, April 12, 2022, Creemore, Ontario

April is Poetry Month.

Earth Day is April 22nd.

Beetroot Oat Milk Lattes are real.

People are still peeing on the floor.

Furthermore, the person icon in the Birgu Public Convenience sign above has a really long forearm. At least I think that's a forearm.

Hola and:

  • welcome Georges, Greg, John, two Maxxes (a countable but unspellable proper noun) and someone whose parents or keyboard got stuck, named A;
  • thanks to all of you who took the time to mention the meaning you take from this mashup I make on the 12th of each month. My favourite was the one that ended with "[inwords] is not a slog. It's very creative. Lots of good stuff. Gotta go. Family." The runner up was a call that went something like, "Oh, and I just finished reading your book of the month. Jesus!" (I think I got that punctuation right);
  • thanks to Jon and Pauline for taking me to Luqa, to Keith for picking me up at Pearson, to Nancy for the vegan flat and Sam for the hugs;
  • and to everyone who used the quiz to build or better their brand voice.
"We grow old chasing the truths we knew as children."
— Atticus (Canadian short form poet. Twitter | Globe & Mail | The Truth About Magic)

This is inwords 8: The Mirth Edition

Writing previous inwords posts about Talent, COP26, Observations by Women, and last month's Alternates and Alternatives were easier than Mirth.

I figured that if you had to rank the truths you knew as a child, that mirth would have made the short list. Then I looked it up. Luckily for me I write this thing every month so these challenges don't reduce me to tears as easily as they used to.

Think about having your toes tickled, tobogganing, drinking tequila (not simultaneously) and then try to describe mirth using one of those cues.

An adventurous Wiktionarian defined it as:
  1. "The emotion usually following humour and accompanied by laughter; merriment; jollity; gaiety.
  2. That which causes merriment."
In other words, mirth can exist as both a consequence and a cause — almost like the chicken-egg dilemma (nowadays the tofu-tempeh paradox). You may not remember a specific time you were tickled, tobogganed or shot a mirth's worth of tequila, but you remember (at least in the case of the first two) joy in general no less than your experiences of awe, boredom, courage or sadness because they're intrinsic to our experience. Not unlike archetypes, they're part of our collective unconscious.

Whether you're telling a big brand story, pitching a product, naming your gig, saving the planet or writing a love letter, here are four ways to get started or unstuck (five if you count tequila):
  1. Nail your archetype using the free Brand Voice Quiz.
  2. Find inspiration in examples that align with your archetype below👇 or in a previous edition of inwords.
  3. Label two spreadsheet columns Causes and Consequences and list verbs and adjectives in each. Here are 144 of the latter. Fit the nouns later.
  4. Email me if you need help.
Archetype Journey Icon 1 - The Innocent
The Innocent Archetype is proactively honest, transparent and wonder-ful.

Read the Innocent Archetype Brand Voice Brief

— on not wanting to know

"Hazel picked a nobby purplish starfish from the bottom of the pool and popped it into his nearly full gunny sack.
'I wonder what they do with them,' he said.
'Do with what?' Doc asked.
'The starfish,' said Hazel. 'You sell ’em. You’ll send out a barrel of ’em. What do the guys do with ’em? You can't eat 'em.'
'They study them,' said Doc patiently and he remembered that he had answered this question for Hazel dozens of times before. But Doc had one mental habit he could not get over. When anyone asked a question, Doc thought he wanted to know the answer. That was the way with Doc. He never asked unless he wanted to know and he could not conceive of the brain that would ask without wanting to know."
— John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Innocent SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

SDG 3's aim is to "ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages" and its 13 targets range from Reducing Maternal Mortality to Fighting Communicable Diseases and Achieving Universal Healthcare.
Archetype Journey Icon 2 - The Everyperson
The Everyperson Archetype is inclusive, individual and the salt of the earth.
They can often be spotted wearing their striped socks inside out.

Read The Everyperson Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Andean Flamingo, Bolivia, Everyperson Archetype

— when all else fails

"To understand his effect on Arabic readers, however, non Arabic-speakers like me need help, because every effective poem is a unique experiment in language, its own language. We depend on reports from Arabic speakers, and on the delicate ice-bridge of translation, because it is clear that his mass appeal was rooted in the thing that an occupied people have left to them when all else fails: their language."
— Ruth Padel (from her preface to "A River Dies of Thirst" by Mahmoud Darwish)

Everyperson SDG 2: Zero Hunger

This Global Goal aims at eight targets to end world hunger; from ending malnutrition to maintaining the genetic diversity in foods.
Archetype Journey Icon 3 - The Hero
The Hero Archetype is as humble and vulnerable as it is valiant.

Read The Hero Archetype Brand Voice Brief

— on reading less

"The less we read, the more harmful it is what we read."
— Miguel De Unamuno (Wikipedia | Bookshop.org)

SDG 1: No Poverty

I matched SDG 1, No Poverty, with The Hero archetype because heroic is the level of effort it's going to take to achieve its seven targets.
Archetype Journey Icon 4 - The Caregiver
As gutsy as The Hero Archetype, The Caregiver Archetype embraces compassion and empathy.

Read The Caregiver Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Tibetan Bunting, Tibet, Caregiver Archetype

— when the only hope is a boat

​"The Buddha says when the only hope is a boat and there is no boat, I will be the boat. I watch as my opponent spits the toothpick into the dirt. There is nothing else for me to do but follow. My heart falls silent. Destiny is letting yourself go where you are meant to go even when your mind says otherwise."
— Quan Barry, When I'm Gone, Look for Me in the East

Caregiver Goal 5: Gender Equality

Thankfully the authors of SDG 5, Gender Equality, went beyond the token = symbol in its icon and tasked this goal with empowering all women and girls.
Archetype Journey Icon 5 - The Explorer
Explorer Archetype thinking is synonymous with bucking mainstream mores and myopic thinking — like an albatross and not all that unlike the Outlaw Archetype.

Read The Explorer Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Sooty Albatross, Antarctica, Explorer Archetype

— only so far

"Finally the estuary lay ahead, water stretching so far it captured the whole sky and all the clouds within it."
— Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

Explorer Goal 15: Life on Land

The targets for SDG 15 aren't specifically about people, which I think is a nice change because, as a species we have been such selfish, destructive asses. Here are SDG 15's targets and the UN's suggestions for supporting it.
Archetype Journey Icon 6 - The Outlaw
Although The Outlaw Archetype is challenging, confronting and sometimes disruptive, it's inherently honourable.

Read The Outlaw Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Long-tailed Duck, Norway, Outlaw Archetype

— sort of writing about climate change

​"Real avant-garde writing today would frame and reflect our misuse of the world, our destruction of its beauties and wonders."
Joy Williams via Wikipedia and the Chicago Review of Books interview with Jenny Offill about her novel, Weather

Outlaw Goal 13: Climate Action

The map element in the icon for SDG 13, Climate Action, actually looks like another planet, which would be great because that would mean we could just carry on buying shit and throwing it away. Unfortunately, if you look at it in motion on its official SDG page, you'll see it's just a view of earth taken by a drone from above Santa's workshop.
Archetype Journey Icon 7 - The Lover
The Lover Archetype seeks union, is comfortable in surrender, is dedicated and powered by passion and tenderness.

Read The Lover Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Western Crowned Pigeon, Papua New Guinea, Lover Archetype

— when whole is spelled Whole

​"Sometimes you run into someone, regardless of age or sex, whom you know absolutely to be an independently operating part of the Whole that goes on all the time inside yourself, and the eye-motes go click and you hear the tribal tones of voice resonate, and there it is — you recognize them."
— Anne Lamott's Uncle Ben in Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Lover Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

The principle of SDG 10 is that "when every individual is self sufficient, the entire world prospers." This Global Goal has 10 targets that are "big picture" macro-level benchmarks. Even the action items take effort and guts and humility and passion: like the Lover Archetype.
Archetype Journey Icon 8 - The Creator
The Creator Archetype is imaginative, artistic and visionary.

It loathes inactivity, occasionally to the point of workaholism.

Read The Creator Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Mallefowl, Australia, Creator Archetype

— on bleeding

​"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
Ernest Hemingway

Creator Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Of all the SDGs, this one struck me as being uber-technical but when I listened to Greenlight Planet's Radhika Thakkar speak to James from the SDG Talks Podcast on October 8, 2021 about off-grid communities, individuals walking miles to charge their mobile phones, kids not having lights to study by — I got it.
GreenLight Planet's sun king website
The SDG 7 web page
Archetype Journey Icon 9 - The Ruler
The Ruler Archetype is challenged to temper ego with understanding, and to distinguish majesty from bravado.

Read The Ruler Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Snowy Owl, Canada, Ruler Archetype

— on reaching for angels

​"Were I to distill a single message from these Massey Lectures it would be that culture is not trivial. It is not decoration or artifice, the songs we sing or even the prayers we chant. It is a blanket of comfort that gives meaning to lives. It is a body of knowledge that allows the individual to make sense out of the infinite sensations of consciousness, to find meaning and order in a universe that ultimately has neither. Culture is a body of laws and traditions, a moral and ethical code that insulates a people from the barbaric heart that history suggests lies just beneath the surface of all human societies and indeed all human beings. Culture alone allows us to reach, as Abraham Lincoln said, for the better angels of our nature."
— Wade Davis, The Wayfinders, Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

Ruler Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Whenever I read about SDG 16's mission to, "Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels," I get a little overwhelmed.
We have been asleep at this planet's wheel for a long while.
Archetype Journey Icon 10 - The Magician
A Magician brand must strive to weave delight between the lines of its visionary and intuitive story. Its tendency toward arrogance — expectations of colleagues and customers to read its mind — risks distancing its worth from its audience.

Read The Magician Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Green Peafowl, Thailand, Magician Archetype

— otters

​"I spend more time away than most dads, but sometimes I have longer spells at home. During one of these my son, Rowan, and I head off in the morning to look for otters. He is keen to take photographs but we both know how wary otters can be. We have never been close enough before. I would like to show him that taking time to look properly is among the most important things I have ever learned, whether you come home with any pictures or not."
— John Aitchison, The Shark and the Albatross

Magician Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

If SDG 11 was simply Sustainable Communities, the cities that are the confluences of those communities would magically look after themselves. We have to think small, local, community to achieve the larger, global goals. Read the targets for SDG 11
Archetype Journey Icon 11 - The Sage
The Sage is forever seeking balance; it struggles with idealism and its inability to compromise. "Listen more attentively" is sage advice for this archetype.

Read The Sage Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Three-wattled Bellbird, Costa Rica, Sage Archetype

— the axis of the world

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves: slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future."
— from Thích Nhất Hạnh

Sage Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production

I aligned SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, with The Sage archetype because responsible production requires tough choices and forward-thinking; two qualities that our dumb-assed decisions have been lacking. Here is SDG 12 in detail.
Archetype Journey Icon 12 - The Jester
The Jester Archetype lives for the experience; it is naturally compelling, entertaining and delightful, and is challenged by the tripartite trap of self-importance, disingenuity and indifference.

Read The Jester Archetype Brand Voice Brief
Black Crowned Crane, Tanzania, Jester Archetype

— where to bury your gold

​"He buried some gold in the desert and marked the spot with a cloud passing over it."
— Juhā (translated from the Arabic by Nathaniel A Miller)

Jester Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation is a tough Global Goal to write about but I refuse to give in to the thinking that my generation and the last few before it have screwed this completely. Here's the juice on SDG 6 from the Global Goals website.


Chewing on the theme mirth for a month has been a fascinating study, like an uber-long meditation peppered with episodes of writer's block and impostor syndrome vis-à-vis the previous 40-odd years of my writing life which I remember as being the converse: an epoch of mostly panic moderated by not nearly enough episodes of meditation.

Next month (May 2022): I'm waffling between the themes discipline and cinereous. I take requests and suggestions 👉 Andrew
Like more than 37,400 40,000 other species, Konos, our Pelican-in-Chief (a Dalmatian Pelican from Lake Prespa in Greece), and Jerry, our Chief Algorithm Officer (a Jerdon's Courser from Andhra Pradesh, India) are threatened with extinction and therefore difficult or impossible to find.

That's not the case with our 🍊 unsubscribe button, because unlike Konos and Jerry it's not the end of the world.

Read more about beautiful creatures like Konos and Jerry on the IUCN's Red List.