Bulletin Emailed Out After the June 17, 2016 Meeting
Here is the bulletin I sent out after the June 17, 2016 meeting, in which the idea of The Kindling was discussed. I share the bulletin for transparency's sake and to record some of the thinking that's gone into getting The Kindling up and running.
Bulletin after June 17, 2016 Meeting
Yesterday a group of us met in my living room to talk about The Kindling and what it might look like and how it might go.
Here are the numbers:
15 people were present (including me and my wife) and 9 people expressed regret at not being able to attend because of other commitments or events (anniversaries to celebrate, relatives visiting from out of town, babysitters unable to be found, visiting coastal states to escape Phoenix's heat, etc.).
In addition, there are 2 people who want to know more about this thing. And there are 4 people I've talked to about this who have maintained a not-too-stern-but-steady silence, whom I intend to pester one last time before the end of June.
On top of that, there are a few folks that I've not yet emailed or called about this venture (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa), but who might be interested.
Finally, I think there's always a few surprise connections just around the bend: so who know's who else might be about there.
Summing up the Meeting
How did the meeting go?
I thought it went very well, and I consider it to have been a succesful experiment. Here's what I mean: the basic idea of The Kindling is that it brings together Catholics who live in Phoenix, by means of writing on the internet, for the sake of strengthening personal connections and fostering lively conversation.
Boom. That's what happened.
The Meeting as a Metaphor for The Kindling
Last night, I was able to meet 2 new friends (one of whom goes to my parish) and catch up with old friends (with "old" measured by decades, in some cases, and weeks or days, in others.) I was able to witness the re-connection of people who knew each other, even though I had no idea that they had ever met before.
All of us, despite the varying degrees of acquaintance, were able to have a thoughtful and intense discussion about the enterprise and whether it would be doomed to failure. There was a civil, productive tension at times. Prayer started it all out, and alcohol infused much of it: both played their necessary part admirably. I found it enjoyable, and others said they did, too.
And it all happened within a real but loose structure: Hanson sent an email with a sketched agenda, Hanson made sure people knew when and where to show up, Hanson made sure the forum was relatively tidy (minimal debris and physical obstacles), but the participants were the ones who made it interesting, intense, meaningful, thoughtful, charitable, enjoyable, worthwhile, etc.
I think all that loosely structured goodness can be translated into The Kindling. Details remain to be worked out, but I'm encouraged by last night to continue working on them.
Call to Action: Sign Up to Be A Writer Before July 5
While I work on details, I think it's prudent to officially open up the roster for writers. Writers are at the heart of the enterprise: without them there's no vitality.
So between now and July 5, please ponder whether you would like to be a writer for The Kindling, based on what you know and what you've heard so far. The essence has been expressed; what remains to be expressed are the accidents of effectively bringing that essence into existence.
Details About Structure Forthcoming
I'm opening a window, from today to July 5, because there are those who are ready to sign up to be writers now.
There are some who will need to see more of the details and particular structure first. That's fine. More details and structure will follow between now and July 5.
Clarifying what an "editor" will be, and will not need to be, is a key part of that.
When you're ready, email me and let me know "I will write for The Kindling once every 4 weeks for 6 months." The first official 4-week publishing cycle will be August 22. If I have commitments in by July 5, I can give everyone ample time to start drafting early. And I can work out kinks in the system.
Remember, you're only committing to 6 months. Your tour of duty would end February or March.
Telling me you're going to be a writer means I can put your name on the website on some sort of roster page.
Let me know if you have questions. I'll answer what I can.
In amicitia Christi,