Last night we had company for dinner. Not just company…colleagues of my husband. Both highly trained and highly educated. Often when upon first introduction colleagues of my husband ask me, being polite, what it is that I do? it goes like this:
Mary: I’m a storyteller and a theatre artist.
Them: Oh. Really? That’s interesting.
… and the conversation then moves back to their own fields of expertise.
Last night was different. Apparently what I do (the story-gathering, the focus on the power of listening to other people for the kernels and nuggets of truth they drop) was fascinating to them. They asked lots of questions. They wanted to hear more. And more.
They were actually jealous – that as an artist I am able to work in a bit of chaos that allows for room for creative latitude. As scholars they often find that they are so constricted by the confines of the argument they are trying to prove that there isn’t room for the kind of open ended discovery that artists rather routinely make.
There is need and room in this world for both kinds of inquiry. I wouldn’t be able to so freely pursue my own artistic pursuits if my husband wasn’t toiling away on his own scholarly ones. After listening to his colleagues, and our new friends, I’m just glad that I get to work in the chaos side of the aisle.