Thursday, January 21, 2010


What chapter is it in Refuse To Choose aka What Do I Do When I Want To Do Everything, where I talk about soirees, those wonderful evenings we used to have where someone talked about a passionate hobby, no experts were allowed, and the people who attended loved learning but didn't want to sign up for classes, study for exams -- they just wanted to know interesting new things? Samplers? I'll go look it up.

This wasn't so odd in the 19th and early 20th centuries: town halls featured speakers like Agassiz (not the tennis player :-)) who had first understood that we had an ice age, and everyone went to listen.

At some of my Scanner retreats we invite people to tell us about something they're presently passionate about and it's like a big smorgasbord of brain candy. I love it.

So with all this wonderful new technology (I just heard of something terrific I'll bring over here in a minute, at today's Idea Party, compliments of that fierce little wizard Tituba) we could have a great virtual Soiree on a regular basis, with someone new presenting a favorite thing, teaching us all something new.

Because passionate, enthused people are genius teachers. I've always felt bad that great teachers had to teach the same things year after year -- though intensely grateful that they stuck around long enough for me to sit in their classes. I mean people like Ted Tayler at Columbia whose classes I audited 3 years in a row, over and over, and learned something astonishing each time. God I love great teachers.

But passionate amateurs have the same chemistry. They make you fall in love because they're in love. So let's think of something. I'm busier than a one-armed paperhanger with the itch (that's why my mom and dad would say, so I can't help it, sorry), but you could do it. Come on, Scanners, let's share our passions with each other. I'll go find that new app.


  1. Great idea!!

    While 'the real thing' is probably still the best, online could be the next great thing! :)

  2. You wrote: "...passionate, enthused people are genius teachers." Thank you for that! I am a teacher myself and it reminds me of this treasure I have inside - beeing passionate and enthusiastic! When it appears I often feel not so comfortable, because people around me look at me with big eyes, and I always felt that I showed to much from myself, that they don't like me to be and act that way and so I stoped! Calmed down, beeing like miost of the others, eventhough within me there is an mostly unexpressed vulcano of passion! Thank you for initiating that powerful insight - yes, I am allowed to be passionate! It's my gift to the world and to myself to live my passion and enthusiasm!!! Love Heide