Why ‘Manifesto’ is just a word. But a handy one.

So it turns out I’m not writing a book on ‘Interrupting the Story’. Well, I am, but not yet.

See, before I could write ‘Interrupting the Story’, I needed to write a Manifesto.

I’m calling it ‘Beat Generation’ #beatgen, and it’s a manifesto for a sustainable planet. (I know, I’m having a giggle even while I type it.)


I’ve always been a bit fascinated by manifestos. I think it’s because it sounds Big and Important and Grown-up, and something that people who Know What They Think write, right?

Well, I asked a pal of mine what was conjured up in her mind when I said, ‘Manifesto’ … and she said it sounded exciting. Like possibilities and world-changing, and a precious gem and that sort of thing.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.48.27 pm
Thanks, Urban Dictionary, for an opinion (when a definition would have been sufficient)

But first of all, before I admitted to my pal or myself that I was about to write a manifesto, I had to come to terms with the fact that people like Marx and Engels and Ayn Rand and Frank Lloyd Wright and Aaron Swartz wrote manifestos.

And yeah, it sounds kinda rhymes-with-brand-spanky to say, “Well hello there, I’m writing a manifesto.” (Another example of Stories We Tell Ourselves, you might suggest.)

But it’s also a case of what Said Pal calls ‘holding up the mirror’. That is, if you get a reaction to something (example: “How come Todd Valentine gets to write a manifesto and I don’t?”), then maybe you need to ask yourself why you’re not writing one.** Because on some level you must think you have something to say if you’re feeling annoyed that someone else gets to say what they think.

Actually, people write manifesto material all the time. They write it on t-shirts, they say it on social media, on their websites* on the ‘About’ page or their ‘Mission Statement’ … so – really – what’s the difference?

The difference comes when you name it a Manifesto. It may be just a word, but it comes with a huge bunch of Baggage and Expectation.

Anyway, I got over it. Baggage is stuff in the past, and Expectation is stuff in the future, and I’m not in either of those places right now.

And, besides, ‘Manifesto’ is a handy word for someone like me because really it means, ‘Setting Context and Defining Vocabulary and a Direction’. And I like all those things.

It’s something to point to and say, ‘That’s what I think and where I’m headed. Not quite sure how I’ll get there, but that’s the direction. So … yeah.’

So I figured it was a good idea to write a manifesto, even if it was a bit scary.

So I am.

And it’s almost finished.

Stay tuned.

(And feel free to sign up to my mailing list for seasonal round-ups.)


* Afterthought: it’s a good idea to ‘think like a website’ sometimes, because websites are acceptable, defined containers, and building one can be a good catalyst and can act like a filter. I might do a more in-depth post about this sometime.

** I’m not going to link to Todd Valentine, although you’re welcome to google him. I can tell you, however, that he must have said something interesting in his Manifesto video, How To Pick Up Girls From Hello To Sex, because it’s over 2 hours long and he has over 60,000 views. In the excerpt I watched, he did mention that you have to start with the right premise, or you won’t be able to close the deal, and in theory he might be right about that. The rest of it …? I’m not sure because I didn’t watch it. If you’re interested in the importance of premise, though, I suggest you read my post on premise and story fundamentals instead.

1 Comment

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