(185) For Everyone Who Ever Sat in a Boring Workshop

I found these notes from November 1997 when I was at a Common Boundary conference.  I had always loved the conferences and the conference presenters. But this particular year was harder for me and, in fact, I believe this was the last workshop I attended.  The conferences ended after this year. I guess I can see why.

I will not include the name of the presenter here, but his initials were D.A. and he was barefoot.

Everything in brackets are my thoughts.  The rest are notes from his talk.  It is exactly how I wrote it in my notebook, trying to maintain my sanity and failing.


What happens to our language when there are fewer and fewer songbirds? What happens to our language when there are more and more motors? What is happening to us?

[My thoughts — I am dying to go lie on the ground. I want to leave this workshop. This presenter is terrible. He doesn’t look at anyone. He talks like it is written. It is not that what he says is bad.  It’s not. I know it already.]

Everything is expressive — everything speaks.

[It occurs to me that I need to be teaching. I cannot sit in these workshops anymore. I think I am here today so I can leave — so I can realize this. I want to go back to my room and I don’t know how to get out of here. I am sitting right in front.]

[I would feel so RUDE if I walked out.]

[Wonder when break is?]

[I want to go climb that tree by the parkway.]

Stories are stories because things — information and knowledge — are stored there.

[This guy makes me sleepy.  I hate this room.]

Told a cute tale from the Swampy Cree:

I wished the squirrels tails pointed north. It worked. The squirrels were unhappy. “I can’t believe you did this to us.”

“I got lost once and couldn’t find north. Now I will always know.”

They called for help. A skunk came. He asked me to let the squirrels go and he would point north. I let the squirrel tails go, but he kept pointing his tail. I went south screaming, “He sprayed me.”

And for many days everyone could tell by their nose which way south was.

Story about knowing your directions and not being cocky.

[I want to get up and say, sorry, I have a tree to climb.]

[I know God is showing me it is my time to be out of there. I need to figure out where to do my “prayer work.” This weekend has shown me once and for all I can do this. It has given me what I need to know. I want to get out of here.]


And I left.

I went to Rock Creek Park and laid on the November ground on a cloudy, cool day.

It was magnificent.



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