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Beth Cusack
Aug 03, 2020
In Authors Forum
I'd like to share an exercise in thought that I enjoy returning to year after year. I welcome you to share your lists and thoughts below in this forum discussion. I return to this mind play because for me it's a refreshing evaluation of what conversations, philosophy, topics, and people I feel drawn to, intrigued by, inspired by, touched by. First, imagine you have the time, space, and a table that can magically reach across time, space, and the fabric of reality. You have an opportunity to invite 10, 12, or more people to be around this table with you for conversation. Not too many folks or it's difficult to have conversation. No need to limit your imagination here. These people you invite can even be: fictitious famous someone from the future deceased imagined across the world and so on. Here's some aspects you can journal about in the first phase of brainstorming: What questions or issues would you bring to the table to get the conversation started? Or what would you ask to keep the conversation going? What questions would you ask each person you chose? Then take it a step further, use your imagination to write how this table conversation will evolve. How would others respond to the question you pose to an individual guest? Which people would you think might have chemistry with each other? Which might have disputes? Brainstorm some of the hypothetical dialogue that might take place between you and someone. Or write some conversation between guests. Can you envision who might be a natural at moderating? Who might be a rabble rouser? Would some find it difficult to sit? What would they do instead? Or during conversation? What kind of postures and facial expressions describe each person? What kinds of quirks or habits would these people have? Upon further reflection, take a step back from the brainstorming of dialogue and non-verbal conversation. Do you see some patterns emerging? Here's some aspects to reflect upon: When you describe these people, how do they resemble aspects of you? How do they differ from you? Or maybe they have qualities you feel drawn to or admire? Who leaves you feeling the most confused or least resolved with? What could be some reasons? What kinds of patterns emerge from the people you initially chose? What do you think the reason might be for these patterns? Would there be a project or task that you might offer up to the group? Perhaps you can look at these guests as your sort of think tank? Or if not a think tank, how would you see this collection of people together as a community? I hope you enjoy this mind play as much as I do. Please let me know what kind of questions, exercises and writing ideas get you inspired below. I love this image because it evokes a cultural idea of inviting a guest at every meal or occasion. To be open and present to guests we know or those we don't yet know. Everyone, even the hardest person to like, can be our teacher in their own way. Rocking chair from my maternal grandparents' old home. Fun fact: My ancestor was a brilliant carpenter and added these unusual arm rests to the chair.
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Beth Cusack
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