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Nurturing stories around the table

stories in a word Jan 24, 2018

 I've been hosting an international Booksprint over the past few days.  Around 40 authors are engaged in creating a Visual Facilitation Fieldguide, with the aim of both sharing their expertise and extending the field.  While many authors are working virtually and checking in via Zoom, six of us have come together to work -- and live -- communally in the Netherlands.  You can learn a lot about people from the way they work, but you can learn an equal amount from the way they eat.

Holger and I had a conversation about "bread cultures" -- that includes, for example, all the countries with the sea at their borders: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and more.  I heard a radio programme once suggesting that the average German eats four slices of bread and a brötchen (a bread roll) every day.  Holger thinks that might be underestimating it!  Our host, a Dutchman, told us that in his younger days of competitive sport he ate a loaf of bread a day.  And he's still slim!

Bread sits at the centre of many cultures, a sign of plenty and of hospitality, literally the stuff of life.  To break bread with someone is an important ritual still to this day.  And coming to the table makes a space of shared intimacy, where stories and questions can flow.

Here's what I learned from Holger Nils Pohl, a Visual Strategy Facilitator based in Cologne about the German word Brotzeit (literally "bread time").

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