Monday, June 28, 2010

Conversations & Complexity

Last week I recorded a podcast interview with the fabulous Christy Tennant of the International Arts Movement in NYC. Oh how I love her! And as someone with dreams of building a cultural center (like NY's 92nd Street Y) here in Boston, I was so excited to learn about IAM and the things they're doing.

Conversations like this are one of my favorite parts of launching a new book out into the world. We authors joke about how we only want to hear great reviews and cringe at words of criticism, and with my first book, I was right there with them. After all, that book was very much my story, my romantic and spiritual ups and downs in all their vulnerable, pathetic, yet somehow-it-miraculously-all-worked-out glory. (To this day, when I see that book on a bookstore shelf, I feel like a part of me is sitting there, hoping to be taken home and loved. Pitiful!)

The new book is different. It's about my story, but in a larger sense this time. There's more reflection, and I had a bit more room to observe the world around me and say, "Um, I think some things are crazy here..." I have some opinions. I knew, even when writing, that not every reader would agree with me. That was exciting, truth be told. Because as long as we're not attacking each other, or criticizing who we are as people, disagreeing about ideas can lead to amazing things--solutions, possibilities, even (dare we hope?) that elusive collective genius we hope for whenever we gather together to try to solve a problem.

In grad school, my favorite book was a science book called COMPLEXITY. It was the story of a revolutionary gathering of scientists from all different disciplines--biology, chemistry, economics, psychology--looking at complexity theory through the lenses of their different fields to see if their collective knowledge would lead to new understanding. I love the idea of these sorts of gatherings, even with all their messy, ego-filled personality clashes. I like interesting conversations with people who have thought hard about what they think and why.

If you like these sorts of (complex) conversations, I have a couple of cool invitations for you!

First, the Blue Ocean Summit here in Cambridge, MA, August 2-4. This will be the third year for this conference, which is the most provocative, inspiring gathering I know for people who are thinking about questions of faith within a city culture. I'll be speaking, which of course makes it extra exciting, right? ;)

Second, I'm working on a series of workshops (tentatively called "Creativity: Behind the Scenes") to take on the road this Fall and Winter, based on the fun experience sharing a stage with the guys in Ryanhood at my launch party. There's something about "nerding out" with other artists across genres that is surprisingly motivational, and I'd like to create more of that. If this sounds like something you and your friends would be interested in hosting, drop me an email and let's talk.

And for now, tell me: What do you like/not like/hope for/fear from complex conversations?

1 comment:

sandra said...

Your new book sounds great! I just entered a book giveaway for it...hope I win! May God bless your endeavors!!