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,
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,
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
are there wise people
Something that my friend,5
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,
in that liminal space of conference
as our minds do not sum as single blocks,
but create new 3rd and 4th opportunities
that would never be possible apart.
We are more chemistry than physics.
With networking interactions happening at speed,
(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
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,
In some ways,
that TLCC is such
an emotional experience.
 aka TLCC
 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.
 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.
 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.
 and saviour and idol
 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