Letter to A Stranger
How do brief encounters with strangers change us?
“Here’s this thing I never put into the official story. Here’s the secret story that I’ve been carrying inside of me.I thought there should be a home for this kind of story”
On Disobedient Femmes, I talked with essayist, teacher, and editor Colleen Kinder who has just published Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us.
In the interview, Ms. Kinder talks about:
How she came up with the idea to do a book of letters about encounters with strangers from a meeting with Pico Iyer
The different ways someone may be considered a stranger
Travel writing vs. stories of place
Why sometimes we are able to tell truths to strangers that we may not tell to people who know us well
How brief encounters with people who dont’ know well or at all can profoundly change our lives
Here’s a few highlights from the interview:
We all know that the serendipity is such a big part of what we discover in the world. My experience with seeking out stories and traveling is always that things are extraordinarily different than what you first imagined them to be.
People from the other side of the world and from vastly different cultures, and upbringings can all of a sudden feel like family, just like the people you know from home. They can feel familiar if you create the space for those stories and those connections.
When we go to a new place the best thing you can possibly do is go alone and devote yourself to observation. There’s fierce momentum to that that’s so ripe for storytelling
Going somewhere new and throwing yourself into an unknown is one of the most extraordinary catalysts you can you can get. To be a human being who knows a foreign culture or a foreign language intimately changes who you are as a human being.
Listen to the full interview here: