Brain Food #618

What we choose to leave out is as important as what we choose to leave in

Thoughts of the day

Much of storytelling - the way we tell the stories of others, of ourselves - is reliant on framing. From art to literature, or even presenting a business case, the frame determines what is left in, and what is left out, guiding the attention of the person listening to the story.

How does our own frame change over time? What do we leave out today, that could be there? Perhaps we are standing too close to a problem, or too far, not looking at the details. Perhaps we are trying to solve a different problem altogether.

“The frame through which I viewed the world changed too, over time. Greater than scene, I came to see, is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame.”
― Eudora Welty, On Writing

What this concept of framing reminds us is that, when humans are involved, it may not really be possible to capture the entire essence of a story, a situation, a self. Within the confines of the frame, whether metaphorical or literal, we show fragments of a story, as we show fragments of ourselves to others. Sometimes, what we choose to leave out is as important as what we choose to leave in.


A human presence is barely felt through the ripples in this shot from Ed Ruscha’s photographic pool series.