In this issue: More for the soul – Sketches in time – The art of digital filing – A problem shared… – Conversation piece – Cycle of promise – Out of the fog – Love your messy dreams – Up against it – Storm-watching for softies

Sometimes a word or statement becomes so much part of everyday language that its origins, meanings or intent are taken as read. Nothing to think about, let alone question, as everyone’s fine with the sentiment. But what about the context? Let’s talk about it or, rather, let’s talk about ‘It’s good to talk’, that familiar observation that so often crops up in casual conversation. Is it always good? In every situation? Might it depend on who’s talking – and who’s listening – as well as the what, where, when and how?

Talking is undoubtedly one of the most inexpensive and accessible ways of discussing a problem, be it about work, family, personal wellbeing or a wider political or environmental issue. A chat with a friend, family member or colleague might provide the solution to what seemed an impossible dilemma or support needed to navigate a tough time.

But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily straightforward. For some, it takes time to find that person who they genuinely trust or a space in which they feel safe enough to open up. For others, it’s just not their thing. Not everyone wishes – or has – to go public with their private life all the time.

Knowing how much to share – and how often – isn’t clear-cut either. It’s sometimes a case of trial and error. And it’s important to be aware that not everyone has the capacity to listen, to hear, to remain impartial, to help. Those who can also need support and space as well as a strategy for setting boundaries. Listening, like talking, isn’t without complications.

It is good to talk. Within a context of awareness, kindness and mutualrespect and understanding, it’s more than that, it’s great.

Cover Illustration: Maggie Stephenson