Friday, December 31, 2004

Speaking of Conversation

I am preparing to ring in the New Year the way I usually do: watching my all-time favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, together with my wife here at home. And as much as I enjoy doing so, I also harbor the notion of hosting a gathering some year, where others are invited to join us in our conversation about issues like the meaning of life.

Once known as salons during the Renaissance, typical gatherings were places where great ideas were debated among leaders of the day. One such get-together during more contemporary times is an annual meeting called Renaissance Weekend, usually held over New Year’s weekend. For more information about it, visit

Inquiring minds love good books and a classic title I read on the timeless art of conversation is one by Theodore Zeldin called Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives. Speaking of conversation, it was Admiral Hyman Rickover who succinctly said: “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

And as a fellow blogger has stated, “To converse is human…to salon is divine. Salons are informal gatherings where people talk big talk, talk meant to be listened to and perhaps passionately acted upon. Salons are incubators where ideas are conceived, gestated, and hatched.”

We creative types, us writers and artists, are drawn to diverse gatherings that provide a place to share the life of the mind. Bringing people together generates an energy that goes beyond the sum of the individuals. People get creative when they’re with each other. It’s about creating a community where there’s an exchange of ideas. Maybe next year…