Hello. How are you? This is the start of a new project, one that I am quite passionate about working on and excited to see grow and evolve. The notion behind this project, and hence the blog, is simple. Stories cover the planet. They hide in the cracks in the pavement, they grow in forests and along the coasts, and they are busy with the moments and minutiae that fill our days. We linger with them, we consider them influential, we share them. We re-member, recite, and sometimes run away from stories. They rattle and hum in and around us, daily. A conversation, is, by nature, a method of sharing information, ideas, even inquiries, and hence a catalyst and conduit and for storytelling. In journalism, interviews are a traditional way of transcribing and conveying the thoughts and music that develop in conversation. Ergo: the blog before you.
I have always found it important not only to be present, as some would say, but to be in conversation with people, places, things, events. Those near and far; those caught in history books, archived in photograph albums, or made from a creative vision; the ones we engage in and experience, unfolding before us; the ones for which we prepare ourselves and others. The goal of this blog is to be in conversation both in the traditional sense, with people in interview/talk form, and in other ways. I say "other ways" with a looseness, as there are a couple methods that, of course, come to my mind; however, I want nothing more than to have the notion of conversation that we carry to evolve, alter, and be manifest-- whenever possible-- in this blog.
Who will be included in our conversations?: Hopefully, an endless array of voices. A polyphony of harmonic and discordant melodies. The desire is to limit, if not remove, the hierarchies suggesting which voices are more important or more interesting than others. Accomplished musicians will be interviewed, alongside community college professors with captivating world views, fellow city dwellers, social rights activists, matriarchs, biologists, folks who vote red, blue, and otherwise. There is no need to rattle off a hypothetical list, as it might just sound like one insincerely reading from an in vogue Social Studies book. Interviews may be limited to whom could be reached, and by whom interviewers feel comfortable speaking. Nonetheless, the types of conversation herein will ideally cause a refreshing surprise in everyone involved.
What types of stories?: The blues, sunshine, and the shades in between. Why not ask a writer about their favorite television show or toy, rather than just sticking to the long line of questions they must get all day (though, folks, a bit of that will be here, too).
How often: At this point, you could look forward to finding a couple interviews here per week. I will do my best to post more often, and the ideal is to eventually have an interview posted at least once a day. Do come back, and tell your friends about the site. We'll leave the bandwidth open for you (well, Blogger will).
Why the "etc."?: Similar to someone looking into their own future, this blog does not feel comfortable staying pigeonholed, and wants to grow up to become more than just a site for interviews. "Etc." allows the blog to include whichever ephemeral or seemingly necessary elements its contributors deem important to its coming-of-age.
Contributors?: For the time being, the blog will be hosted by yours truly. The desire and need for contributors will surely develop, and guest contributors will provide new energy, sincere voices, and their unique passions to the community. No doubt, comments and the like will be around color the dialogue and help the talks transform.
The views expressed herein belong to those who "speak" them. Whenever possible, this will be noted clearly. The views herein do not represent those of conversations, etc., but of its contributors. Take this note sincerely, and come to the table and add to the talk with sensitivity.
Lastly, I do not claim to to live an overtly political life. I find it easier to relate to a politics that is not about parties, but informed by the personal and cultural convictions and codes we embody, question, and reform. That said, I find it wholly political to partake in dialogues with the people, events, and spaces around us. Bringing out unheard/dis-empowered voices, juxtaposing points of view, bearing witness and providing an audience for each other's world views is enriching, enabling, and crucial. Now is just as important a time as any, and sharing the stories in this venue is the way I know best to remind us of the humble and humbling power of conversation.
Besides, who doesn't like a good story?
Your editor & fellow conversationalist,
Shahin I. Beigi