I went there expecting to see some big brains, instead I saw big hearts.
Last night I was fortunate enough to make it to the NYC Sci Tweet-up/Story Collider event and it was amazing. My friend Dr. D accompanied me. We both had to work late seeing patients last night but despite all odds (and perhaps some well-placed speeding along the highways of Long Island) we made it to beautiful Park Slope, Brooklyn and even found a parking space (albeit a tight one, I think I have now invented the 80-point turn).
Past the lovely, brownstone lined streets we strolled, smart phones glowing with our navigation app in hand until we found Union Hall. It was as I had pictured it, the lights on just enough to cast a warm, romantic glow on the many leather bound books. This place looked like a library you could drink in, a science geek's dream. We found our way to the basement and entered the small, bar room with staging area and a mic. It was crowded but a good kind of crowd, you could feel the energy in the room, filled with excitement, gathered for a purpose. No one was decked out in sequin tank tops and ready to bust a move, we were there because we all shared the same interest, passion and maybe the same obsessive, borderline-stalker-ish love. Science.
Did I mention we were late? Over an hour late? I was disappointed that even though Dr. D and I had prepared to get out of work early, I got hung up on my last patient of the night (isn't that always the way when you are scheduled to get out early?) and that had caused us quite a delay that my 80 mph speeding could not make up for. Upon flashing my credit card at the door to check in to 'will call' and confirm we had paid for tickets, I was ecstatic to learn that we did not miss the entire event and that it was currently intermission. Three acts left to go, Bora Zivkovic, Anna North and Carl Zimmer.
I am not going to review their stories, I don't really have the authority to do that and I fear if I try to summarize them too much it will not project the same as it would coming directly from them on that night. I guess the saying really does hold true, "you just had to be there."
What I can tell you is how I felt listening to them.
Their stories were not really the stories I expected to hear. I guess I assumed they would talk about how they first got into writing and offer some inspiration and wisdom on how others can do the same. They did talk about that but they spoke about much more. They delivered raw, heartfelt emotion sharing little stories not about how they became the writers that they are today, but about how they became the people that they are today. Giving us a glimpse into their very personal lives and how their trials and tribulations ignited something inside of them. Their passion, their courage, their heart.
Now as I said, I do not have the authority to review them in any way, I do not even know them and I actually just for the first time got to introduce myself to Bora Z. last night after a couple months of guest blogging with him. But I was pleasantly surprised to see they shared the same breed of passion that I do. Sometimes in life, we go through things that forever change us. They soften us to how delicate life is and how precious our individual perspective on things are. It lights a fire in us and we feel while the minutes tick away and the days roll past and the months turn into years that we need to share that perspective with others. That unique way we see things through our own filter of experiences. Sometimes things aren't always as they appear to us, sometimes someone you once put on a pedestal you later find out really didn't belong there. Sometimes you root for the underdog and through perseverance and passion the underdog becomes the champion. Sometimes you lose someone very close to you and after that, you look at life and everything in the universe in an entirely different way.
Everyone's story is different. The thing that we all had in common at Union Hall last night was that we were willing to share it. Whether it be on stage, or writing, or with each other. I think we all knew how important it was to not let your perspective go unnoticed. You have to put yourself out there and share it.
And with that sappy post, I promise tomorrow I will get back to vision science! Thank you Scientopia for letting me share my perspective on your blog for these next two weeks!