All posts filed under: Conversations

Everyone has a voice

I had felt the responsibility before I departed upon this project to give it my all and that anticipation has only magnified. It isn’t just my duty to be fully committed and to honor the personal and fiscal support the project has received. Rather, it is that I am inviting people to talk with me in a mutually open, vulnerable and candid manner. Listening attentively is only one feature of this arrangement. More noticeably we are actively committing to each other emotionally and psychologically. On occasion this has been viscerally moving. In discussing her work in community, Lisa in Hastings asserted that “Everyone has a voice.” That reminded me of John in Dannebrog who did not have a physical voice because of an ailment, yet he was expressive in so many ways. It also painfully reminded me of Owen in St. Paul who recounted that, “I kinda felt like I might have had some brain damage when I almost drowned. That that’s part of the reason why I’m an introvert. That there are just certain …

Dannebrog

John thrilled me, as did so many of the people that I met in Dannebrog. I don’t know what ailment John has suffered, but signs of surgery to his throat and an inability to speak were apparent. What I treasure about John, though, was his face-wrinkling, leg extending laughter as the men in the Danish Baker bantered and boasted. After we talked for a while and I had given some insight around my travels into conversations, John got up to leave. A hand like an anvil weighed on my shoulder while his other hand thrust an affirming thumb up gesture. His face lit up with earnest appreciation as he shook my hand. In many ways John reminded me of my father, who died five years ago of throat cancer. Perhaps my affection for the men of Dannebrog is because their earnestness, humility, humor and sense of community is exactly what my father would have relished about this place. It could also be because of people like Tom Schroeder, the owner of the Danish Baker. Alone …

A word on process

When I conceived the approach to a couple of 830 mile long conversations, I had anticipated setting up a table, a couple of chairs and a canopy in a public space in the towns that I visited and then inviting people to talk with me. It was always apparent, though, that the context of each engagement, the vagaries of the weather and the circumstances of the moment would influence this approach. So it has proven. In Omaha, my set up was outside Millard branch library with the planned arrangement. As I moved into rural Nebraska, however, the heat of the day, the locational footfall or paths people took in their daily lives, and timing all affected the set up of the conversation space. In Pender, the public park was entirely empty, but the pool was full of children. Pender’s Main Street was also quiet and would stay that way until the pizza place and bars got busier in the evening. In Wayne, I was able to set up on Main Street outside a popular retail …

It’s because you waved

“It’s because you waved,” said Luke.  In his early twenties and studying intercultural studies in Omaha, Luke was the first person to stop and engage in conversation with me as part of this project, a couple of 830 mile long conversations. He stopped because of that wave and my welcome. It is premature to begin filtering for commonalities, though I can say that the people I engaged with, whether at Millard branch library in Omaha, West Point, Pender and Wayne, demonstrated a curiosity and willingness to interact. For his part, Luke had moved when he was 13 to Spain with his family (his Dad did missionary work and was a military contractor). Luke lived in Europe for 5 years. It remains to be seen if broad exposure to different cultures is a theme arising out of this project, but it is impossible not to want to explore that thought as I go. It is at this time worth noting, perhaps, my own capacity to be curious and to engage. The point building up to the …

Omaha World-Herald Story

The talented Casey Logan recently wrote a marvelous article about the project in the Omaha World-Herald. Casey is an attendee at many Squishtalks events, including a turn as the mystery presenter at the third Arthaus12 where he provoked conversation around the “art of truth.” I was thrilled that Casey’s interest in conversation and a good story led him to pen the piece, which you can read here.

Interview with Michael Lyon, KIOS FM

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Michael Lyon, Local Anchor – Morning Edition, on our NPR affiliate, KIOS FM, as part of its events calendar programming. This was the first collaboration of several with Michael as KIOS shall be following a couple of 830 mile long conversations as it progresses. Tune to KIOS 91.5 FM and journey with me. In the meantime, listen to Tuesday’s interview below.