Welcome to my blog; used to post all alleged professional developments as a reflective tool and potential resource ... really, just another snake at the bottom of the MossPITT.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SAAM Reflection: Talking to Strangers

Almost made it on time today!

Reunited with Brian Mull today who focused on using our new iPods to podcast. Pretty excited about this, particularly for the student-run community-based radio station I'm hoping to start this July and utilize throughout the school year. This new project came packaged in two separate parts of inspiration. While at Williams, I was fortunate enough to land an interview with Gregory David Roberts, author of the epic Shantaram. After hours of conversation, Roberts excused himself to answer the door of his hotel room in New Zealand. I could hear in the background familiar greetings, and upon his return was surprised to hear it was simply room service.

"When people are cleaning your goddamn toilet and shower for gods sake, you gotta look after them and theyre people you know? I want to know their names, their lives ... "

And while I was held captivated by these simple words and unconscious gesture, he picked up right where we left off, telling a story of Johnny Depp and him playing a game of sitcom charades in the Bahamas.

Secondly, it is inspired by a girl - the catalyst to all great endeavors according to Roberts' himself. In this case, by an adorable ko-ed who left an impression on me after meeting her for the first time at a friend's "christmas" holiday get together years ago; someone I've never really gotten to know, but one of those of whom you can immediately sense their positive energy. For an art class, she was interviewing locals with whom she routinely bumped elbows and wanted to know more about. As a local, I was ashamed I didn't know half of what she uncovered.

I've often told others that the more of yourself you invest in a place, the more aware and knowledgable you become about a locale and its people, the stronger the bond. Moss Point is a special place, with its own natural miracles, iconic landmarks, ingrained social issues and typical systemic problems. There are stories here floating on the salty sea breeze and falling from the old moss covered oak trees lining our streets. While I am still around, I owe it to experience to let the accent of marsh grass, the fisherman's religious forecasts, the grits, fried-chicken, mint juleps and ford trucks to seep into my soul just a little more than I already have ... so, at least twice per month, I hope to work with some studnets to find invididuals willing to sit down to talk with us ... maybe the woman who bags my avocados at the market or the old man that walks his dogs on the beach every night. Our own story corps. To invest through conversation and interaction. I'm sure the return will be significant. Would love to eventually incorporate similar oral history projects in the classroom using audacity to edit and some form of voice recorder.

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