Meeting Dynamics at the Paper Cut Zine Library Collective
James Herod, March 20, 2006
Last Monday, March 13, I went to the collective meeting, at a member's invitation, of the Paper Cut Zine Library, at 45 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, to present my pamphlet publishing and distribution proposal. There were ten present, including me, a visitor. Eight were women, one was a man, a thin, smallish, quiet man, who spoke only three times during whole meeting, once to tell a joke. The dynamic of the meeting was definitely different. It was the first nearly all women meeting I've been to in a long time. It was rather extraordinary. One thing I noticed right off was how fast and smooth the transition was between one speaker and the next. Hardly a second in-between, I would guess. Yet there were no interruptions, no cutting off of anyone. They must have learned to be incredibly attuned to when a person is about to finish. I can't even begin to understand how they did it. Maybe it was some kind of intense listening. Anyway, it was rapid fire. Everyone talked at least several times. There was a lot of spontaneity, and talking out of turn. Actually, there were no 'turns,' no keeping stack. It just happened. The facilitator was good, and she also took the notes. There was a lot of laughter. Not much tension, that I could see (of course I might not be able to pick up woman to woman tension). They didn't vote, but somehow reached decisions. The facilitator didn't even ask if anyone disagreed. Yet the decisions seemed solid. I don't quite understand it. It was a most unusual, fascinating meeting. I'm quite puzzled by it.