Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I couldn't post on the comment section.

Hi Fran,

I couldn't post on the comment section so I posted here. Laura I read your reponse and will write later. I am off to yoga.

Thank you for your response. I agree with you that technology is a double-edged sword. We wouldn’t be able to communicate with our peer group through blogging if it was not for heightened technology. I wonder if Ju-Pong was thinking of the connection she wanted us to have by keeping the conference call and the blog. The conference call still provides us with a sense of body language, emotion and clarity of communication through our voices. I guess for me the use of technology and how it affects our communications and connections with each other depends on how much we lose in our physical interaction. It’s all about balance, which is hard. Sometimes it’s easier to email someone instead of calling he or she on the phone. We have more choices to choose from that is for sure.

I am going through an interesting dialogue with my son and daughter. My son Paul is 12 and my daughter Eliana is 16. Eliana has started to text and have a conversation with me at the same time. So I felt we had to incorporate some new ways of listening, respecting and awareness in our household. I felt that texting and talking face to face should be done separately. I realize that we all do texting when we are talking but I want to teach Eliana to at least say excuse me.

So there is no texting at the dinner table. Time to take a break.

Be aware about texting at a restaurant when you are sharing a meal with folks. Of course unless there is something you need to address. Like your mother wants to know where you areJ then just say excuse me.

I have had Eliana’s friends over for dinner and they are texting at the table. I often hide their phones. I try to make it funny. I guess what I am trying to teach Eliana is there needs to be boundaries or communicating might begin to become meaningless.

What are we really hearing or take in when we are texting and talking face to face with someone at the same time and then how much can you give back? The positive side of texting is that my family can let me know they are all right. When they get to where they are going and just to say hey, love you. Post 9/11.

I was at job interview. I was sitting between two women who were interviewing me. They were talking to me then each of them would begin texting. Gee, were they texting to each other, a friend, family, were they talking about me. This is what I worry about in our techno world. I want to make clear that I am guilty of all this as well, but hopefully I am aware. Although, I am not quality of texting when I am in a meeting or engaged in a conversation with someone unless I have to excuse myself. Hard with so much information at your finger tips all the time.

My experiences of being an outsider through teaching in different communities in NYC, has been one of the greatest and enriching experiences in my life. Being a humble outsider has given me great insight, compassion, and respect for the human condition, and at TIMES being an insider because I was born in this country, I am outraged at the lack of equality, proper immigration regulation that actually supports people, and how the system is abused out of greed and ignorance. I have seen and felt both sides of this coin.

I feel like an accepted insider if you will when I begin to teach and ask the teachers and kids to help me create a map to build our community for the next 10 weeks of the residency. I love to ask the kids questions. Doesn’t matter how old they are. For example, I like to ask them what they had for breakfast usually the second or third time that I visit. I like this question because I’m a foodie!! Because of the diversity, I get a whole range of great new breakfast ideas and sadly some kids don’t get any thing except what they get in school. I deal with that situation with support and love. I guess I look for the tiniest connection and then my hopeful intention is to build on that connection.

I had a girl named Cara in one of my classes. Her parents are from China. We all loved what she had for breakfast everyday. She told us she had noodles, dumplings, special Chinese buns (her words), and rice. I forgot to ask one day because we were doing something and she came up to me…” Nancy, you forgot to ask me what I had for breakfast.” The other kid’s chimed in “ me too.” For me this was Life-Art, next time maybe we can turn this question into a project with many wonderful ideas and voices about food and home. For some that is not happy but might be healing, I would always have to get the support of the teacher to do something of this nature. I am thinking as I am writing.

Fran. I know I have only tipped the iceberg if at all. I am just beginning to learn the movement between being an insider/outsider. Maybe in becoming aware of the stillness between insider and outsider we can get insight, balance even if its brief, and creative inspiration. Just thinking out loud. It is always different depending on the situation, environment, and groups that I am with. I am deeply passionate about reflecting and learning more so that I may begin to be involved in a community engaged art practice.

The laundry project is very different. When I approach and ask permission to interview people or take pictures of their laundry hanging, I am nervous. I am always very resistance when I take the journey to find laundry. Fran, I am finding that most people want to talk about roots, culture, lineage and their thoughts about the metaphor of laundry. Laundry seems to be a commonality we have that somehow stimulates our humanness and relationship to each other, the environment, family and home. I have certainly gotten rejections but hold them with great respect.

Take care my friend,



  1. Hi Nancy,

    It seems that we are all doing a lot of thinking lately, of stepping between worlds.

    At our house, technology is often kept at a reasonable distance. Even what our culture considers as "basic" technology--like having ones own car. I don't have my own car. Us three ladies have a communal car (plus the farm truck), which takes more coordinating and imagination and community than if I had my own...as well as being better on the budget. Often, especially for my theater work, I have to find someone to share a ride with, but then I end up in really interesting conversations with them (like about how they're learning to play the ukelele or the class the just took on oral history) and getting to know them better, to share in a micro community.

    We also have a communal cell phone. Interestingly (and this will give you an idea of just how rural is it out here in the Moose Lake region), cell phones don't work out here. There isn't a close enough tower. So no texting at the dinner table. To be honest, I don't even know how to text and really don't have any interest in learning how. We use the phone as a business tool (someone forgot to pick up their CSA box, better give them a ring) or when traveling. That's it, really.

    I do have my own laptop, but I certainly don't live on it. You can't, being on a farm. You live outside, most of the time. And I use it primarily for school, like us all, and for my art business.

    I suppose this makes me a rather odd creature for my generation in this era. But it works for me. Not long ago, multiple generations used to live together and share resources. It is sometimes surprising how our post WWII world finds that idea unthinkable now. It is not infrequent that I am belittled by others for my lifestyle choices.

    I think that it is wonderful that your children get to have meals at the dinner table with you. Many don't now...they each have a TV in their room, stick something in the microwave, and disappear. Not texting at the dinner table makes perfect sense. They should be able to enjoy that time together, free from the addictive pull or techno-tools. Good for you!

  2. Hi Laura,

    Your response warms my heart. Your my heroine!!! You are not an odd creature you are a real creature. I am happy that there is still rural areas in this country. Thank you for your reponse. Your words give me hope and faith. Take care, nancy

  3. Hi Nancy,

    I really appreciate your thoughtfulness about technology and real, intimate communication. My 17-year old has certainly influenced my use of technology. I do text pretty adeptly now, and I value it as another way to connect with my teenager. But I do think it's important to set limits on it, and to be aware of the limitations of each form of technology. So, yes, the idea of doing both a phone call and the blog was intended to help us all become more aware of the possibilities as well as the limitations of each form of technology. Traida's posting also made me think about the wonderful potential of the internet; and at the same time, it does not in any way replace the physical Democracy Wall.

    Look forward to speaking on the phone with you!


  4. "So there is no texting at the dinner table. Time to take a break." nancy

    "Be aware about texting at a restaurant when you are sharing a meal with folks. Of course unless there is something you need to address. Like your mother wants to know where you are then just say excuse me." nancy

    Nancy I howled with laughter reading this! Oh yes, that texting thing people do gets to me!
    And how about those extra loud cell phone callers on the streets of NYC? I hate walking down the street hearing two or three LOUD personal calls, all at once. It seems like the sidewalks are talking!

    Yes, boundaries are needed, as everyone has said. I have a 21 and a 19 year old and we had to buy the "unlimited texts" option on our cell phone service (i made them pay for that) as they text constantly. But I never let them do that at dinner.

    Young people seems to have the ability to have three or four or five simultaneous conversations; have you noticed? I feel as an educator that their brains are using and developing different skill sets than we were at that age. As an educator I often feel my college students' minds go ten times faster than my own does. But they lack the depth of concentration that I was taught and still somewhat (LOL) retain.