Tuesday, June 16, 2020

My Five Hundredth Post

Hello reader,
Got life change?

Let's end this blog
   to live anew,
for my dear life,
   and this blog too.

I have moved 

About my new, exciting, delicious, IMPROVED blog, seven FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1  Will there be nice long posts?
A: No, nothing over 900 words. Guaranteed.  

2  Will it be a different sort of writing?
A: Yes!... Surprise!

3  How different?
A: Sorry, I don't quite know, and I dare not tell you in advance, in case I fail in my "life renewed."

4   Your last post was a “focused letter” to Derek Sivers, about One to One Conversations.
Will there be more focused letters to Derek?

A: Yes, letters are fun. Besides, I end up revealing more about myself, which is healthy. My first new blog essay is a letter: My Child to be a Leader
UPDATE: Actually, my very first piece is a post to introduce me, called  Me In My Own World.
5  Will there be journalism posts that are “dull but good for you?” Like broccoli? 
A: No, but neither will I write about dogs in funny hats.

6  Will you finish posting your War of the Worlds poems?
A: Maybe, but only a half dozen poems are left, about after the Martians are gone.

7 I like how for years you kept making an essay per week, for 500 essays.

A: You're welcome.... After all those man hours, let's hope I learned something!

Sean Crawford
June-July 2020 (Note to self: My last meta-blog was in February, called How You Learn

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Commentary on One to One Conversations

Hello Reader,
Got one on one conversations?

I wrote to Derek Sivers, commenting on his 44 hours of being interviewed. (link) Who is he? See the beginning of any interview.

Dear Derek,
Greetings from the best half of North America.

You liked conversing with an Olympian who said, “I do not hang out;” you very much preferred one on one conversations;  when a fellow would surprise you, at a scheduled get together for you and him, by showing up with friends, you would be so disappointed. I can relate.

I’ve noticed that when a few people in conversation are interrupted, no one picks up the old conversation thread. I guess because they were merely “hanging out.”

The problem with small social groups? For me? I have to politely go by the “slowest ship in the convoy” regarding vocabulary, intimacy, frivolity and so forth.

As for good group socializing: A young lady confided to me that she despaired of talking too much in the bar. This would be—people varied from week to week—after our campus Toastmasters Club meetings. Despaired. 
I advised her that I secretly count heads, do division, and then only talk my fair share of the time. One day she looked so happy to tell me, "Your advice really worked!"

One afternoon, there I am in the bar with two not-so-young ladies. One has a fiance whom I had never met. The topic was so cool! Intimate and interesting! The fiance enters the bar, walks up, and —like something out of a feminist caricature— he abruptly speaks several flat sentences, as an oblivious centre of attention, hijacks the conversation, and the topic is gone like smoke. I lost a lot of respect for the man, and I was not surprised, when I met the lady only a few years later, to learn she had divorced.

To prevent hijacks, whenever one is late to bars, convention seminars or in everyday life, it helps to remember the old Chinese proverb: “When you go outdoors, look at the weather; when you go indoors, look at the faces.”

I can tell you who truly prefers to converse, as opposed to hanging out or relaxing: 
The social crowd of young 1930’s Paris intellectuals including 
(“but not limited to,” my lawyer hastens to add) 
Simone De Beauvoir and her boy friend, Jean Paul Sartre. I suppose sometimes the whole gang arrived in a group to a big cafe. Simone explains in her memoir something that amazed the cafe manager, given that her friends all knew each other: 
When a pair of people were talking, 
(Of course the pairs would mix and match from day to day) 
and another pair came in, the second pair would find their own table, as would the next pair too. Easily explained: They all relished one on one conversations.

As I found in Derek Siver's notes on the book Geography of Genius: “We’re not talking about conversation as a form of entertainment. We’re talking about conversation as the piling up of premises leading to a conclusion. We’re talking about conversation that takes an issue forward, conversation as a way of getting somewhere.”

I am writing to supportively say that you and I are not the only ones to seek Paris friends. I for one am still seeking.

Sean Crawford
Note: My new blog, at seanessay.com, has an expanded draft of this posted October 2020.
June 2020