YOU, ME, and EVERYONE we know

troubImagine with me a kingdom. A palace set on a hill with a town below littered with small homes of people—and a Troubadour making his way from Palace to People, back and forth. In the palace there are servants, kings, footmen, princes, cooks, and taste-testers; there are seamstresses, children, queens, and teachers. In the town there are servants, fathers, children, mothers, cooks, teachers, sellers, and tailors. And there is a troubadour making his way from Palace to People.

In the Palace everyone has a role and no one without a role is allowed in the door. There is a code of conduct within the castle walls and any outsiders are known, and all the insiders have things to say about them when their backs are turned.

Among the People outsiders are common and welcome, travelers pass through, sick people rest for a while, everyone earns his own way and they get there by the sweat of their brow. There is no protection out here and it is every man for himself. No one dares cross the threshold of the Palace.

And there is a Troubadour who goes from Palace to People to Palace to People.

From the People to the Palace he brings his stories, his lore, his songs, making melody from their harmony. He represents the town-people to the palace-people and they all clap their hands, their cheeks red with laughter and strong drink, they point and beg for more, more, more!

From the Palace to the People, he brings his secrets because who doesn't trust the ears of nearby troubadour? Plans and propositions fly mightily across the tables in the great hall when the wine flows freely and the kings toast in the presence of a mere entertainer.

The Troubadour never belongs in either place and carries with him the residue of both places, the People and the Palace. But kingdoms will rise and fall on the shoulders of this Troubadour, this ambassador, he who is never at home wherever he is, he who is just another person to the People and just another participant at the Palace.

Are you from the Palace or the People? Or are you a Troubadour, easily slipping in and out of both places effortlessly? There's no right or wrong answer here. I've just been thinking about cliques and culture and the people we trust to let in and the people we don't trust and, most of all, the people who purposefully don't fit anywhere.