Microcosmographia by William Van Hecke

It’s Okay To Say Things That Seem Obvious

Microcosmographia xlii: It’s Okay To Say Things That Seem Obvious

Microcosmographia is a newsletter thing about honestly trying to understand design and humanity.

When planning a writing project, a talk, a presentation, or even a conversation, I often end up at an anxiety about my apparent lack of novel thoughts that boils down to the tautology “Everything I can think to say is something I already know.”

As it turns out, people love to hear an idea they already had, phrased in a fresh way. Sitting in a conference hall hearing someone hitch one agreeable sentence to another, in words you hadn’t thought to use yet, is a genuinely enjoyable time. Reading a text that takes ideas that existed as nameless nebulae in your mind and puts them down, in sturdy sentences, is cathartic and validating.

Listening to my dear friend Jon Bell narrate my own words back to me feels lovely, even though it’s the most obvious and familiar content possible, because I wrote every word of it.

In that spirit, I’ve written intentionally simplistic, reductive titles for all issues of this letter so far, to highlight how a seemingly obvious message can still be worth communicating.

Thank You and Be Well

This one has been sitting as a nearly-finished draft for just over six years. Something said in a meeting by my dear career mentor prompted me to add some final touches and get it out to you. You might be surprised by how many letters are just sitting here waiting for me to do that.