I just made up a new category! “Brain mush” will comprise posts about things that I’m mulling over, which means they will often be half-formed thoughts. But I often write to see what I think, and this is my blog, so … sorry ’bout it.
When I decided to launch this blog, I brainstormed a bunch of different categories of posts,* and I also wrote down the word “thought-luck,” with only a vague idea of what that would mean.** I was toying with the idea of some kind of digital or IRL classy dinner party where everyone brings a dish and a well-developed topic of conversation. I’m not exactly sure this is different from a regular dinner party, though, so I’m trying to develop more guidelines and considering whether themes would help.
I, for one, have realized that after I write about something, the next person who spends time with me and asks what I’m up to will at some point be subjected to hearing me rehash the contents of the post and what other people have commented about it, forcing them to take part in the conversation.*** I tend to be really intrigued by new frameworks of thinking or hearing about fields I don’t know that well, and I think I may also project that onto others. In the same way that I created this blog so people wouldn’t have to listen to me ramble about social media (cf Fig. 1), I feel like the thought-lucks would be a nice opt-in nerdfest (well, nerdfeast — there will also be food). Of course, the blog has become part of a virtuous cycle of conversations about identity and social media and whatnot, but still.
Anyway, here are my thought-luck thoughts:
- There must be food, hence the “potluck” half of the neologism. Classy drinks are also OK.
- There must be thoughts. I think it would be interesting to have everyone plan a 30-second sound bite of the topic they want to talk about, and to have everyone wear name tags listing their topic.
- I imagine that people would talk about hobbies they’re really interested in, or random fields they’re into but don’t generally get a chance to talk about. No one can talk about their jobs.
- Potential themes could be “hobbies” or “obscure topic you know a lot about” or “ambiguous thoughts you are trying to make sense of” or “something interesting you care about that starts with the letter ‘f.'”
- Personally, I like movement during parties, but I also like the idea of having people sit at tables that are lined with butcher paper and leaving out markers. We did this somewhat often at my last job during group brainstorms and discussions, and it lets people doodle or jot down thoughts as they converse. (And I also think I’d want to throw down paper because it would make blog recapping the thought-luck easier.)
- Update: (I just posted this, so chances are this is more of an edit than an update, but I thought I’d include the disclaimer anyway.) I think it would be neat if no one knew everyone else present, or if most people only knew about half of the others. This might not be necessary.
- Other cool people already doing similar things: TeachUp, an experimental group, has a bunch of friends hang out and teach each other stuff, part of their quest to figure out the best ways to encourage peer learning. (They’re still getting their site together, so this hasn’t been particularly helpful on the planning front.)
So: Do you want to come? What should our first theme be? What food and what topic would you bring?
* I thought, at the time, that breaking the issues I wanted to write about would help me to keep my posts somewhat organized,^ as well as make coming up with posts a little bit easier. And I was really excited about starting the blog, and I like brainstorming on blank white paper when my mind is racing like that. I enjoy seeing ink fill pages, to the point that it’s kind of a trope in my poems.
^ I actually have come not to mind the rambling style I’ve taken on; I like to think of it as performative hyperlinking, or something. I’ve been reading David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster,” and he uses FNs w/in FNs, so that makes it legal, right? Just prior to that, I’d finished Brian Christian’s “The Most Human Human” — blog post on this TK soon — and he mentioned the former book, as well as used DFW quotes as epigraphs, which is an interesting, in itself, analysis of influence and art and the ways in which we form our world views. Both books are excellent.
** I have a long-standing dream of being cited as the coiner of a neologism, so it’s understandably important (I think, anyway) that I create a damn good meaning for this.
*** I feel like I sound more unhinged and socially awkward than I actually am when I describe my nerdiness in writing — I’m interesting and fun, I swear.
**** This isn’t related to anything in this post, but I wrote about kitchen essentials a few months ago for my work’s blog, and the post just went up, and I figured I might as well link to it here.