Justin makes really nice newsletters. Amanda sent me a sample, and after reading through it, one word stuck with me: Recipes. Recipes? How did the man collect all this RCID trivia, keep up with what was going on from firstyears to faculty, while working on two dissertations and preparing for the arrival of a newborn?
I can’t do that. I can’t even attempt that, at least not for a while. I’m still learning names—the letter J took the entire first week—and I’m still struggling with doubt about the existence of my other 402 officemates. (Lin, I think, has come and gone, but the evidence is weak and witnesses won’t talk.)
So what can I offer? Justin has kept S3S active in-between parties. The newsletter seemed like the event-after-the-event that made the event itself more than just a party at ____’s house. It suggested more than another happy hour (did you know Sonic has introduced a happy hour for slushes?). It was more than a social for a department/club/organization/class/association. It was, instead, a gathering of a Society, which continues to chat and exchange and engage after the dishes have been washed.
Every community that cares about itself usually produces some form of crier. Someone, whether it’s a guy with a bell and a loud voice, a journalist, a bartender, a table in the corner of that cafe where they’re always playing cards, or a 60 year-old obese man with a cane on a bench who knows everyone’s name and laughs infectiously when he tells about the early days of the all-male strip club next to his apartment (his name was Gerry and he was my first…crier, that is).
This is not a setup for me to introduce myself as the second-coming of the Great S3S Crier. Like I said, I don’t know enough, and I’ll never live up to Justin’s model.
Instead, I love the idea of criers. Better yet, I love the idea of a space for them. Throughout the year the parties are those spaces, but when the parties aren’t in session, it’s helpful to still have a bench, a cafe, a bar, or in this case a blog to go to. There’s a Greek word for that, which I can’t remember and should considering all the Greek I’ve been exposed to these past two weeks.
I’m more familiar with the Italian word: the piazza. I always wished America had more of them—outside of malls—closed to traffic, centralized for pedestrians, home to a good fountain or statue or two. Criers are more effective in spaces like these. Word spreads faster. Positions can form. Action can be taken.
So good idea, Amanda. We have a piazza here in this blog. Each Friday between parties, I plan on posting, sitting on my bench, if you will. You can expect, if you come close, the perspective of someone who is just learning about you. Although I won’t be able to disguise the “I,” I promise to make this, as much as I can, not about me.
And—if I can have one more turn of this metaphor—there are plenty more benches. I’ve got room on mine. Please, sit and talk awhile.
See you all tonight.
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