The idea of my own "public square" is a new idea for me. Previously I had thought of being a kind of magician-shopkeeper, or investigative designer-detected, or something that I could identify with viscerally. I'd even thought that maybe I could be the mayor of my own imaginary town. All of these are compelling visions, over the 20+ years I tried to make this work, it never felt like it was working.
The problem, I think, is that these identities don't have easy-to-visualize examples that can be communicated in the way that words like astronaut, chef, and even graphic designer do. By comparison, what is an "investigative designer"? For curious people, it was a nice puzzle around which I could build a conversation.
My new theory is much of my actual interest is less about being someone and more about providing a place where people are comfortable sharing ideas and encouraging each other, which is what my Living Room Cafe and Virtual Coworking spaces are about. The big insight: I can't really be an investigative designer or a magical shopkeeper if I don't have a place where people can come visit! And I would love to have that be in a place where there are OTHER people who are there for the same reason. Ever since I was a kid, I would make up stories about hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other hospitality-related facilities...there is something about these kind of places that really entrance me.
So...maybe I can lead with this energy instead...focus on the place so the identities have a place to show what they can do, and create a space where people in the tribe might enjoy spending time.