On Saturday, June 4, I was honoured to be able to attend TEDxCalgary. It featured nine remarkable speakers in about four and a half hours and was, in my mind at least, a game changer.
When I listen to a speaker (or a professor, or whomever), I am a furious note-taker. I like to write down as much of what they say as I can, and often I end up with my own questions or thoughts sprinkled in in the margins as well. I've never really been able to collect all those thoughts or synthesize something new from what I heard and what I jotted down before, and I am going to attempt to do so here. I think the difference this time is that (while I have certainly heard amazing speakers before): I think that at this point, I know that I need to make this count; the speakers were so remarkable that I think real, true attention needs to be paid; and yesterday I kind of had what I'd call an artistic epiphany (I use the word "artistic" loosely as I wouldn't consider myself an artist).
Since I was a young teenager, I've written randomly in journals about random things. While some (or maybe most) of these journals are filled with mundane teenage details or friend drama or silly crushes, there are some entries that I felt I had to get something out (not out of frustration; I just felt that there was something that needed to be said) and so I would just write. And I think that there is something in some of these. Yesterday, during our lunch break, I had a moment that I just felt that I had to let something out. So I wrote. And I guess what I decided while I was writing was that I don't need someone to tell me to write; I can just do it on my own. And while I may not have any audience at all, maybe one day, one person will stumble across a collection of my thoughts and they may be able to expand upon it or use it or even just agree with or be inspired by it to continue what I would consider a synthesis or collaboration aspiring toward knowledge generation.
Maybe the best thing to introduce my "series" about TEDxCalgary is to copy out what I wrote over lunch break. Perhaps I can consider this my personal reasons for writing and follow some of the quasi-rules that I thought up. Maybe quasi-rules is the wrong way to say it; maybe it's about following my thoughts about removing some of the limits that I had placed on myself in the past and writing anyways. Anyways, decide for yourself what these guidelines should be called. Here it is, with some edits so that it might make a little more sense:
It came to me in that moment that the itch I feel to put pen to paper is a creative process. And maybe it doesn't need to sound good or make sense or inspire someone today; or tomorrow. (Or ever). But maybe one day it will inspire one person. So I should scratch that itch when it arises. It's likely that I may never produce anything that anyone else will read, but in some way, the ramblings I commit to endless patchwork notebooks is the way that I contribute to the grand "so what".
I would never call myself a "creative" person. Probably because I don't think I've really produced anything that I deem valuable but I don't think that's any reason to give up.
Last night, I decided that it would be my goal to be open to what today would bring. And I think that I have been, at least until now. Maybe instead of "I want to go to McGill", it should be "I want to create something of value" or "I want to inspire others" or "I want to pay [the knowledge and inspiration] forward". It is a real honour to have been chosen to be here out of nearly a million adult Calgarians. I want to make it count.
Maybe I don't need the approval of an educational institution to do the things I want to. Maybe I can pave my own way. Really, it would be a missed opportunity not to. I am fortunate enough to live in an age where I can "self-publish". And while I don't have any "readers", there's no reason to think that writing is fruitless. And there's no reason that I should keep all the thoughts that race through my head from others. While I don't necessarily think that those random thoughts are earth shattering or inspirational or meaningful to others, it's those observations and the gears that they inspire for me that give the world meaning to me and convince me everyday that this earth and this version of civilization is worth trying to save (or fix where necessary). And if sharing these thoughts can convince just 1 person of that, I would be humbled because that's all it takes. Just paying it forward once is enough for me to feel like I've made some impact. Then I think it would be worth it.
So there it is. That's what I scribbled down in my lunch break.