A welcome letter to all the Good Folks out there.
This is a place for you.
This is a welcome letter to all the Good Folks out there.
You might be wondering what it means to be a Good Folk. If you look up the definition for the word folk, you will find a few things: people in general; a friendly term to address a group of people; a traditional form of art, music or culture; ordinary, down-to-earth, unpretentious people.
I first came up with the idea for Good Folk over two years ago, while sitting in the living room of my host family’s house in the Chilean mountains. I was in South America to study the role of personal storytelling in cultivating global empathy, but as I sat there that morning looking at the sheep wandering the wide field, feeling the sun splice through the window behind me, all I could think was, I do believe that people are good. I do. This became the central ethos of my life, something that I would repeat to myself as I continued to venture across the world, through New York City, and all the way back to the North Carolina countryside that had backdropped my childhood. And so Good Folk was born.
Are you a person living in the world? Then you are Good Folk. This is a space where we firmly believe that there is good in all of us, and that it is the great work of our lives to seek out that good. Even when it is difficult. Even when this work feels immense and unsettling. Here, we believe in the power of stories to connect us to our own lives and to the world around us, and we have made a commitment to doing the mundane— and yet wildly important— work of practicing empathy.
Kindness, empathy, and happiness are the greatest forms of rebellion we possess. If the world had it its way, we would grow up and out of our dreams and fall into place amongst the drudgery of everyday life, keeping to ourselves and seeking out only what is familiar. Choosing instead to be loving and open to the world, to be surprised by it, to be broken open by connection— that is resistance. It is difficult to live this way, but it is also free, and freeing. We already possess this capacity within us. Our great work is learning how to harness it.
Jenny Holzer writes in her series of truisms that “It is in your best self interest to find a way to be very tender.” This is a newsletter about people, and tenderness, and how to find beauty in all the seemingly-meaningless aspects of our lives. It is a newsletter that celebrates the Good Folks of the world. Which is, of course, all of us already.
Each week, I will share the words, stories, people, and images that are helping me to do this work. At the end of each email, you will find a prompt designed to help you learn to tell your story, in your own way. You can choose to respond to it in any way you see fit: writing, audio, music, film. Pick something that feels true to you. Email your story to us at email@example.com to be featured in an upcoming newsletter.
For now, I’d like to leave you with a song that I am declaring the unofficial Good Folk anthem. I look forward to this journey with you all.
Let’s just hope that’s enough,
P.S. Follow us on Twitter at @goodfolksonly for more updates.