You never know what you’ll learn at breakfast!

Well, I’ve been here at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival for a day now and I’m getting adjusted to the time zone change.

I’ve come to the 2-week festival so many times that that I feel like I’ve just come back from a 50-weeklong vacation!

Already something amazing has happened. They had an outdoor breakfast for the “guest artists” as they call us, and after I got my food, I looked around to find a seat. You know how it is at those moments. You look around for someone you feel comfortable with and hope there’s an empty seat near them. But yesterday I felt a little different. I felt bold, daring, adventurous. Yes, decided to sit with people I had never spoken to before and start a conversation(!)

So yes, I sat with a few musicians who I had heard perform last summer but had never spoken to. And as you might expect, we had a wonderful conversation. Actually it was better than wonderful because one of the “breakfasters” is a great banjo player and told me about a historical connection between bebop jazz and bluegrass music that I had never suspected. (I’ll write about it in another blog post.) In fact, it pretty much floored me. I had no idea about this particular musical connection!

Here’s the “takeaway:”

Get out there and meet people. It can be online or in person, but go out and have conversations. Real conversations with “give and take.” Put yourself in social situations where you must listen to what someone else has to say, even if it’s not what you think your “cup of tea” is. Do you like jazz? Great, now go talk to a country music fan. I hope there’s an empty seat there for you, too, because a conversation like the one I had can be expansive. This casual Sunday gathering reminded me of the need to keep broadening my perspective.

Thanks for being here. What an opportunity for us all!

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