Q: Tom discussed the importance and power of writing and the steps to get over our amnesia. Does he have any books he recommends to help healing past wounds or unlocking the writer within?
A: Books-War Of Art, Pressfield and Traveling Mercies & Bird By Bird Anne Lamott. Honestly reading great fiction (think your high school English reading list!) is the most inspiring to me. Such as Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Old man and the Sea, Of Mice and Men and so on.
Q: I would ask whether faith is not sidelined if history is a question. Why does faith need to anchor in history?
A: Faulkner says “The past is never dead. It’s not even past”…each life is a history lesson, your past is not a series of random acts as there is a plan as they say if we don’t learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. Instead of compartmentalizing the sorrows, embrace them, learn from them. Those lessons will lead to acceptance/surrender and maybe even joy, your past is not a poison it's a gift. Tears turn into wine over time.
Q: John Lennon has a great lyric "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". As you think about rehearsing your history and its impact on your life, how does planning for life, particularly in the short term, cause us to lose perspective of the long term.
A: I am not a long term planner. My motto with my art, is create and share with anyone that will receive. I believe if I focus on that simple premise each and every day, the long term takes care of itself.
Q: Tom in his talk said that “lies tend to lead us to isolation and loneliness and amnesia.” What can we do to bring truth back into our public life?
A: The culture in which we find ourselves certainly seems like an unreliable narrator. I believe truth is public life happens. Person to person, brother to brother, sister to sister, neighbor to neighbor, block by block, city by city, state by state. Truth trickles up not down.
Q: So much of our history is what you have referred to as memory- it is skewed based on opinion and perspective. It has then been taught to generations (Ex. Christopher Columbus "discovered" America). Who is to say that your history that you rehearse is accurate and how do you make sure you check yourself and your biases?
A: The critical ingredient in rehearsing your history is doing it with friends, your community, not family. You will tell your story inaccurately, that’s okay. Your friends will help correct the false narrative and the truth will emerge.
What is TEDx?
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxNashville, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxNashville event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.