The value of conversation
November 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
Between classes at Columbia on a lovely September afternoon, Schamus found a spot in the sun behind Dodge Hall to smoke a cigar. “For me,” he said, “the happiest place on earth is a well-run school. If I have a false nostalgia, it’s for an ongoing conversation in which anyone can say anything interesting, a conversation you have in public, and that includes people who are dead. To the extent that I have a management style, I try to replicate that environment.”
His conversations with students and filmmakers have in common a desire to get them to stop trying to please an imaginary internalized Professor or Studio Head and free themselves to say something original, fresh and useful — something constructively weird.
To get people past needing a conversation to have a specific goal is not easy. But important.