Mark Llobrera

Chautauqua 2015

Swing in the foreground of a house.
Porch Swing

Last month we spent a week at Chautauqua, NY, as guests of my parents-in-law Mike and Debbie. Amelia and Sophie took part in camp; I worked all week but took time out to attend a few lectures. It’s hard to describe Chautauqua, this NY Times article does a pretty good job.

Three young kids pose in front of a school hall.
Cousins at camp

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay

One of the early-morning lectures (or simply the “10:45” in Chautauqua parlance) I attended featured “Selma” director Ava DuVernay. It was a Q&A format with one of the Chautauqua staff, and she was funny, incisive, and unapologetic about fighting for an artist’s vision. Numerous times she talked about making things for “the audience of one” instead of worrying about mass appeal. A few things I noted:

Emily St. John Mandel

Author reading from a podium.
Emily St. John Mandel

The other lecture I attended was given by Emily St. John Mandel, speaking about her novel, Station Eleven. She talked a bit about its genesis, and about genre fiction (specifically post-apocalyptic fiction). A few notes:

Pockets of time

In between work I took walks with Jordan, biked with Em to her afternoon camp, and took a lot of photos.

Floor mosaic reading “1912 Shakespeare”
Shakespeare Mosaic
Young girl riding atop a man’s shoulders.
Sophie and Pete
Chalk sign reading: Do Not Disturb
Stern warning
Backlit wooden window shade.
Morning light
Chautauquan Daily newspaper.
Chautauquan Daily

Slowing down

I think next time I’ll leave the work at work, though. The WiFi connection at the house hovered between 3G and DSL speeds; it was an eye-opening reminder of how sluggish the modern web has become (more on that later). The additional delay to work actions left me frustrated and underscored the feeling of being there but not fully present.

A lot of the photos I took are on Flickr.