Sonder: The Realization That Everyone Has A Story

Share it with your friends Like

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Narrated, written, directed, edited and coined by John Koenig.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for. Follow the project, give feedback, suggest an emotion you need a word for, or just tell me about your day.

Email the author:
Twitter @ObscureSorrows


Music: “Day” by Stephen Hilton

“Sonder. You are the main character—the protagonist—the star at the center of your own unfolding story. You’re surrounded by your supporting cast: friends and family hanging in your immediate orbit.

Scattered a little further out, a network of acquaintances who drift in and out of contact over the years.

But there in the background, faint and out of focus, are the extras. The random passersby. Each living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

They carry on invisibly around you, bearing the accumulated weight of their own ambitions, friends, routines, mistakes, worries, triumphs and inherited craziness.

When your life moves on to the next scene, theirs flickers in place, wrapped in a cloud of backstory and inside jokes and characters strung together with countless other stories you’ll never be able to see. That you’ll never know exists.

In which you might appear only once. As an extra sipping coffee in the background. As a blur of traffic passing on the highway. As a lighted window at dusk.”


Write a comment


%d bloggers like this: