White Noise
White Noise
🎧 Verbal Portrait No. 1 (Audio)

🎧 Verbal Portrait No. 1 (Audio)

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Given this newsletter’s title, I thought it may well be time to incorporate some sound into my emails.

That’s right, audiophiles, without further ado: actual White Noise!

Above: Not my audio setup

If you have been with White Noise from the beginning, you will know that I enjoy dabbling in experimental formats, media, and schema. A perennial favorite of mine and of yours (per Substack analytics) is the Verbal Portrait:

From vivid descriptions of my most minute observations, I attempted to create a coherent verbal “image.” Like the pointillistic brushstrokes of Seurat, my words would obfuscate if read individually, but render clarity when taken as a whole. Hence, the idea of verbal portraiture was born.

A Verbal Portrait is a specific, hyper-detailed description of the reality an individual sees in front of him/her.

⬆️ I invite you to scroll back up, close your eyes, and visualize the portrait the spoken words paint for you. ⬆️

Verbal Portrait of a Lady on a Train

She was the bookish type. Meek and slender with a kindly disposition. While I sat across from her, she devoured The Old Capital, flipping its well-worn pages with an uncharacteristic hunger.

She would finish this book, a library book, while we rode the train south. In many ways, she reminded me of the gently-worn, plastic-wrapped book. She was worn, her face showed the lines of past smiles and former laughs. Her spectacles, thin and precise, magnified her steady blue-eye gaze as she quietly rustled like the book's pages. Her brown-orange hair was cropped short—she was too old to be a mother yet too young to be a grandmother. Too old to shuffle exuberant children to soccer practice and too young for the bingo hall. Like the library book, she was checked out in that interminable stage of life where all was present and possible. It was the freedom of young old age.

The Best of the Rest

Today I present you with five nifty tidbits scrounged together from the interconnected smorgasbord that is the internet.

📧 A Wild, Crazy, Professorial Email

Rice Mountain

My good friend, Stew Fortier (Founder of Compound Writing and exquisite wordsmith), recently kicked off a wild social experiment. He is trying to trade a grain of rice all the way up to an actual mountain. Follow all of his creative, wacky trades up Rice Mountain here!

🍁 A 1,4000 Year Old Chinese Ginkgo Tree


📜 How will Historians look back and study October of 2020 (let alone 2020 as a whole)?

🤓 Philosophy Humor!

Honor Societies

Good? Bad? Ugly? Help White Noise improve!

A favorite quote from C.S. Lewis goes as follows:

Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.

I hope to keep “walking…the right road” and to avoid “[taking] a wrong turn” with White Noise. I can only do that with your input.

Please click on one of the three links below to give feedback on this issue:

Per my about pageWhite Noise is a work of experimentation. I view it as a sort of thinking aloud, a stress testing of my nascent ideas. Through it, I hope to sharpen my opinions against the whetstone of other people’s feedback, commentary, and input.

If you want to discuss any of the ideas or musings mentioned above or have any books, papers, or links that you think would be interesting to share on a future edition of White Noise, please reach out to me by replying to this email.

With sincere gratitude,


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