Years ago I was walking across the quad and ran into a guy I knew a little, because in towns like this you know most people a little bit. He was about to go to class. “Communication. Like, I need a class for that?”. I saw the point. We were communicating right there, which we obviously knew how to do. Why a class in something I do already, have been doing, and seem to do just fine already. Extend that a little further, and a lot of the educational mission goes out the window – generally, the liberal education part. The part about learning what our minds do.
Thinking about thinking. Writing is thought, out in the open. You are reading my mind right now. Yeah, I’m scared, too!
Things seem so simple, until we begin to dig a little. I start to write a simple little blog about this guy I talked to, whose 1-minute encounter sticks with me to this day for some reason…for some reason, and I wonder what it is, because most things are quickly and forever forgotten, but not that. Suddenly I’m in the thick of thinking, and I see it on the page in front of me. It’s an alphabet jungle. Communicating. I learned to communicate from being a baby with my mom. I hope you’re laughing at that sentence.
I learned to communicate by reading, writing and talking. I like to read but I’m not a bookyworm by any stretch. I like to write but it’s really really difficult to keep the slumbering fire hose to stay on topic. I like to talk but that takes real effort due to many things, among them its terrifying immediacy and the fear of what might come out. Perhaps if I took a class….
Truth: I held the opinion of the quad-persona on a very superficial level and failed to see the purpose. Never took communication101, 102, or even 058. I see things a bit differently now. Communication is EVERYTHING. I’m suddenly enthusiastic because I do believe that, (and it’s exciting to feel something with certainty) but I will keep the caps unlocked for the rest of this, if you do continue on after that outburst. Not much more now…
Learning something specific is interesting. Learning about learning is fascinating. Learning about each other is fulfilling. The Winter Institute is coming up and I’m worrying about getting sessions together and will anyone show up and… whatever happens, the thing I have and always will enjoy most is being together, talking: communicating. Taking time to read a 9x9x25 blog post seems like a pretty frivolous diversion from the massive to-do list I have before me, and I never, ever, regret it. Writing about something and posting it to the world (of perhaps 3, very dear, readers) is completely audacious and over the edge of my comfort level, and the view out here is pretty spectacular. If it goes unread, I have at least communicated with myself, and I know a little more about the hidden conversation that goes on beneath the surface.
A person I know a little, because in this college community we all know each other a little, spontaneously told me how much she liked reading these blogs. It helped them see all these other parts of our college life that we don’t otherwise see. It helped provide perspective, and through this very personal kind of communication, brought a bit of clarity; a window through the cubes and walls of email-ish formality. I hope you’ll all write one from your points of view. I’m very curious.