Thanks to the Internet we can now all have shallow and deep and somewhere-in-between relationships with people we never meet (fn 1). But, as business types will tell you when you try to say “video-conferencing” to ’em, there is surely no substitute for meeting in meatspace.
Yesterday I took that opportunity, and met with Johnnie Moore and Viv McWaters. There was a certain amount of nerves on my part a) “surely they can’t be as cool and funny and wise as their online presence”, and b) “what if I don’t measure to their expectations.” On a) – yes they are and on b) – that would be for them to say.
We sat close enough to the beach to enjoy the view, but not so close that we had to fight with seagulls over the rights to greek salad, calamari and chips. We talked and listened and listened and talked. (There are times you wish that the State really was an omnipresent as in that Stasi film “The Lives of Others”/Or techno-thrillers like “The Bourne Supremacy”, and that you could send off a FOIA to get a transcript). I have so much to learn from these warm and wise people! I managed to scribble down a few bits to chase up.
There’s Stanley Keleman on interruptions and folks flinching without being aware of it (which came from or went to – I can’t remember – a shared admiration for Nancy Kline’s Time to Think) and Andrew Rixon’s Facilitator Archetypes, [Visionary, Healer, Teacher, Warrior] and Sam Kaner’s “A facilitator’s guide to participatory decision making.”
But mostly I tried to soak up their presence and listen to their experiences with Open Space, World Cafe, the dangers of Agendas, the expectations of participants, clients, the risks of becoming too in love with your tools or your ego as a heroic facilitator…
But most of it was “lost” (though hopefully bits will surface later?)
The thoughts of other bloggers in our loose family – Leavergirl, Antonio Dias, Matthew at Rhizome – were pulled in at various points. It would be lovely to have all of us in a room, but of course, that’ll never happen…
Viv is based outside Melbourne, and I hope to catch up with her again before we leave. Johnnie is UK-based, so assuming I make it back in one piece in November, we’ll have more opportunity to swap stories and anecdotes and perspectives. My only regret is that I didn’t get my sorry ass on an early enough tram to make my connection down to Torquay. Then I’d have seen the beautiful Bell’s Beach, and – more importantly – I would have saved them having to schlepp up to Geelong. What happened? I sank into wordpresstime, and then was punished by the goddess Fortuna.
Footnote 1 Yes yes, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barratt etc etc