23) maker faire morning « Tidepool News

From the eleventh floor of our Queens hotel, I see new Manhattan skyscrapers, several bridges, and a row of cliffs along the Hudson where lies Alpine, my childhood home. Before me is a panoramic view of my father’s ambitions, with the vibrance and energy of New York emerging in his youth, then his agency on Madison Avenue, his move across the river to Englewood Cliffs, his commute ten minutes north along the Palisades.

We’re here for Maker Faire, a grand collection of DIY inventors and artists, all showing each other what’s possible with some found materials and a little ingenuity.  I’ve been talking Tidepool with many of them, including Stephen Wolfram, of Mathematica fame, and Gary Stager, a long-time collaborator of Seymour Papert.  In a few hours, I’ll show Paula and Isabel the nifty things I found yesterday.  I’m hoping Isabel takes away some of the shared optimism and motivation found here in abundance, that most precious of attitudes: that there’s nothing she can’t do.

Looking out on my father’s city, seeing the towers and roadways of my own young imaginings, I’m feeling less than brave.  Seeing the bright eyes at Maker Faire with Kickstarter hopes and wild ideas, I’m feeling daunted and exhausted.  Standing on the edge of Tidepool’s first public alpha, with hundreds waiting to use it, I’m feeling afraid.

In the womb I likely walked these paths at the 64/65 World’s Fair at which computers were first shown and Disney’s magical toys made their debut.  Now a half century later, though given every advantage for this exact moment, I feel not up to the task.  I’m wishing for more of the ego-driven arrogance of my father and his city.

For Tidepool to succeed,  I need to create beauty.  I need to build community.  I need to find play.  To make my dreams real, I need to spread my light like blazes all across the sky.  To achieve my life’s work, to make real my ambitions, to outlast my own life, I need somehow to find my courage.  On this morning, in this place, I don’t believe I can.

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