Friday, July 28, 2017

Cross-century connections

While I am indeed a Victorian at heart, (witness my slightly mad desire to immerse myself in the 19th-century Chautauqua Literary & Science Circle experience), I still appreciate and enjoy today’s communication conveniences. So, when I got an email from the CLSC Veranda manager informing me of an upcoming meeting to appoint class officers for "my" Class of 2018, along with selecting a class motto, banner, flower and other mementos of their moment in the sun, I immediately emailed back and asked if there was any possibility that the meeting could be Skyped. My on-the-job and off-the-clock logistics (and my vacation-weary budget) made it unlikely that I’d be able to join my cohort on the Chautauqua campus in early August.
Altogether, a pretty darned interesting intersection between Chautauqua’s past and its future. And when you think about it, it’s really not so crazy. Victorians embraced new technologies as fast as inventors could crank them out. Phones, electric lights, patent gadgets of all sorts—the Chautauqua founders were proudly progressive and encouraged attendees to reach towards tomorrow while staying true to their spiritual roots.
BTW, the CLSC manager seemed especially tickled with my list—it’s the first one this year, she said, with so many “old selections” in it! I wonder how many people are in my class thus far? I wonder if I can drum up any interest in a primarily 19th century booklist? I'd love to locate others who might enjoy a literary fossil hunt to seek for any still-living DNA of Truth.... 

Since my first book will be Isabella Alden’s “The Hall in the Grove,” my next challenge is to locate a contemporary book about a disparate group of essentially unschooled people who find their purpose in life at a shared spiritual and educational gathering. Anyone have any suggestions?

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10

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