PopTech Prevails; Postcard from Maine; Bach as Cosmologist; The Story of Your Voice; Autumn Inspires Omid + Courtney

Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 9:05 am

PopTech Prevails; Postcard from Maine; Bach as Cosmologist; The Story of Your Voice; Autumn Inspires Omid + Courtney

I’m writing this week’s issue from 30,000 feet as Krista, Lily, Chris, and I return to Minneapolis after an exhilarating week in Camden, Maine. Krista conducted the most lively conversation on-stage with two of our columnists: Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin. To our delight, the design-tech-socially conscious crowd erupted with applause and a standing ovation.
Up top you’ll notice Peter Durand’s sketch notes of the conversation from PopTech… We’ll be producing the event for our podcast in the coming months. Can’t wait? Check out the video of the entire conversation on our blog tomorrow (Monday) morning.

Postcard from Maine. The Megunticook River flows swiftly through Camden. Gorgeous music to wake up to before a day’s work. Take 15 seconds for yourself.

Scanning my Tumblr dashboard this morning, I was greeted with the gift of a new word: boketto, “the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.” Here are 14 other words with no English equivalent.

German President Horst Koehler looks at portraits of Johann Sebastian Bach and his father Johann Ambrosius at the Bach Archive. (Guido Bergmann-Pool / Getty Images.)

“Bach didn’t regard himself as an artist but as a scientist, a cosmologist of music. Just as Newton had worked out the laws of planetary motion, so Bach set out to discover the laws of the musical universe.”

Taken from Bernard Chazelle’s magnificent essay, the Princeton computer scientist shares his love of Bach and 29 magnificent pieces of the great composer’s music. This piece so inspired Krista that we’ve partnered with WQXR to do a live, public conversation with him for Bach Week in The Greene Space. I’d encourage you to join us and purchase your tickets. It’s only 10 days away! And it will include live performances of Bach’s monumental Chaconne for solo violin, and an excerpt of the Partita No. 2 in C minor for solo piano. Can’t wait!

(Antoine Walter / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).)

What is the autobiography of your voice? An invitation to write the story of your voice and allow yourself to be surprised.

(Nubobo / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).)

As the splendor of autumn emerges, themes of letting go, death, and rebirth are on our columnists’ minds this week. Omid Safi writes this beautiful meditation, “The Autumn of Our Existence,” on chlorophyll and the revealing of color, mortality, and divine presence that’s generated a lot of reflection from your fellow readers. With poetry from Rumi and Farid un-Din Attar, his essay sings with ethereal voice:

“That’s the secret: there is no turning, no changing. There’s only the death of what has been masking the colors inside. The beauty has been there all along. And we as human beings are like this. Each one of us contains hidden jewels inside.”

(Victoria Nevland / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).)

It’s fall and things are dying. Courtney shares five of her least productive practices and mindsets she’s been working on shedding:

“What little deaths are you welcoming this fall?”

To all of you who wrote with your suggestions for Nashville, thank you! We’ve got some fantastic leads now. Full steam ahead.
And, please remember, we accept guest contributions to be published alongside Courtney, Omid, and Parker. Please feel free to contact me at any time. My email address is tgilliss@onbeing.org. My Twitter handle: @trentgilliss.
May the wind be at your back.


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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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