Reflections Post TLCC 2022

I wrote some loosely SQL structured poetry over two nights, on a mini laptop at the bar (eating my vegan sliders)

REFLECTIONS POST TLCC 2022

Settling into a new job, I was trying to explain the irreverent majesty that is Nerd Summer Camp1 to those of who have only seen it through rumour and the social media posts. Every time I try to explain TLCC to anyone I end up feeling like Judy Garland returning from Oz, and trying to convince her family that a magical place really exists.

From the emotional wave of ‘feels’ on social media, the dulcet tones of the Tessiturians (that majesty I was talking about), to the Campbellan journey of Jen Skelly’s lanyard2, it could seem pretty baffling. Even for those of us there it can be a lot to unpack.

On the way home I took some R&R  in San Francisco while trying to wrangle my head and heart, like a parent collecting sugar fueled kids from a birthday party. With no small irony, I  found some focus at a late night Jazz bar that serves (non-alcoholic) Kombucha cocktails.  Yeah, I was that guy, minus the man-bun and ill advised facial hair.

Anyway I wrote some loosely SQL structured poetry over two nights, on a mini laptop at the bar (eating my vegan sliders).  As I was in San Francisco (and had rewatched Mike Myers in “So I Married and Axe Murderer” again on the flight in), I went the full mile to gave it a spoken word recording.  Given Andrew’s keynote unveiled his new love of great poetry I thought it’d be fun to share. 

TLCC (In some ways)

In some ways, 
            I’d forgotten 
what TLCC was like. 
Just how intense and overwhelming, 
                        joyful and exciting, 
                                    frightening and sad. 

The experience is something perhaps less like life, 
and better explained in Norse saga; 
            breathed into existence by Walt Whitman; 
                        found in an attic 
                                    as lost sketches for Picasso’s Guernica 
                                    or Brett Whitley’s alchemy. 

Feelings at TLCC seem taller, 
            and broader.
Like things that belong on the stage, 
            poured from the musing of artists; 
not from the office that supports it3

And perhaps TLCC has answers to that as well. 
(the) Andrew Recinos quoted Lao Tsu in his closing address 
            The wise have no minds of their own,
            
finding it in the minds
            
of ordinary people.4
And anyway, 
            are there wise people
                        
at all? 

Something that my friend,5 
            Mary French 
            and I 
            talked about, 

when people say
            (sceptically or) in flattery, 
            “Are you the smartest Tessitura person here?” 

the answer is no 
            … but also yes. 

We are not the smartest, 

except that we are, 
            because we have the mind of the community behind us.  

We are a gestalt;

An incredible hive mind of ordinary people, 
            that do well on our own, 
but attain genius when we join together 
            in odd harmonies. 

And this becomes magnified, 
            geometrically, 
                        in that liminal space of conference 
as our minds do not sum as single blocks, 
but create new 3rd and 4th opportunities 
            between us 
                        that would never be possible apart. 

We are more chemistry than physics. 

With networking interactions happening at speed, 
and relationships 
            (previously existing in green lines of commented SQL 6
            or the brevity of forum assistance, 
                        between people at organisations, 
                        continents and hemispheres apart) 
are filled with both the details of real life, 
            emotion of people who understand 
                        your most frustrating predicaments and 
                        greatest achievements.  

In some ways, 
            TLCC is like 
                        meeting your parallel earth doppelganger. 
That person with a similar experience; 
the same frustrations with “that” department; 
that has won “that” personal battle 
            you’ve been fighting so long that 
            you’ve lost the image of success; 

and they can give you the key to success. 

They are that person that also struggles to be seen 
45+ hours a week, 
that validates all your experience.  

They are your reflection, 
            your potential energy, 
                        your soul. 

So,

In some ways, 
            It’s unsurprising 
that TLCC is such 
an emotional experience.


Spoken Word “In Some Ways”

[1] aka TLCC

[2] I’ve talked to my therapist extensively about the existential dread of wondering at the fate of Jen Skelly’s lanyard outside of the bubble that is pre-during-post conference that borders on the nature of quantum mechanics. Nietzsche said that we should live life as if the material world was all we could know, but if Jen Skelly’s lanyard only exists in the boundaries of a relative conference bubble, what is the fate of its existence post conference? Is there a post conference at all?  Could all the lingering feels that we have post conference be the first evidence of quantum superposition in social media. Scary stuff.

[3] I really don’t agree. I see art everywhere. Art is in the person not the job. Like Jack (Rubin) said everyone is a little bit manager and a little bit leader in differing ratios. Punching out into the great blue yonder and mapping the path behind.

[4] not that I think Andrew is “ordinaryifying” Lao Tzu, at least that’s not his primary point. Regardless, I think that Lao Tzu who was aware of the conundrum first, and in essence, was setting himself up. I imagine he’s giggling at his clever joke still.

[5] and saviour and idol

[6] I had the pleasure of thanking Brian Wilbur Grundstrom for the number of times he appears in code comments in my database from stored procedures I’ve gleefully poached

Wrapping up

So this is my last week at Sydney Dance Company and in rather than doing a big card and big gift we had individual cards and gave some money to a couple of animal sanctuaries that I really wanted to support.

The past 5+ years changed me immensly. When I started I definitely did not have qualifications of a unicorn. But the support from the incredible women who I’ve been lucky to call my bosses and mentors, and the unconditional love and support from my community at SDC and the #tessituranetwork has changed my life.

I will always be grateful for the opportunities to strive and push, grow and change. Opportunities to make small changes the in work life of colleagues with automations, or strategic inputs to the growth of the business be, it data driven decisions, silo removing technology, or EDI.

You learn a lot about your best self through goodbyes. Things that you overlook in your day to day struggles. I’m thankful for the inclusion and acceptance, never being patronised, compitence assumed. The lack of barrier between artists and admin at SDC proves that we are striving for the same goal

“We believe that dance changes you. To experience contemporary dance is to go on an inspiring and fulfilling journey. More than simply witnessing something beautiful or engaging with an art form, it is to be positively altered.”

Whether that’s through teaching dance to youth remotley during lockdown, choerographing exceptional works of beauty and relevance, or mentoring new DBAs that need support; we are working off the same playbook. To leave the world in a better place than when we found it.

Thank you for never treating me like I didn’t belong, thank you for giving me space to have a voice, thank you for allowing me to change and make change.

#SydneyDanceCompany #TessturaNetwork #ActuallyAutistic (at Sydney, Australia)
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