TL,DR: The BigTable Memphis Pilgrimage is right-sizing to a two-day, pay what you can event. Learn more.
When I first stumbled into First Congregational Church of Memphis, I thought I had died and gone to shared-space heaven. Everything I talked about and preached about and dreamed of was right there before my eyes. I was just looking for a cheap room overnight on my way to my mom's house in East Tennessee. That was four years ago.
I decided to stay an extra day, and called Taylor Sherbine to get a daypass for her coworking space.
"Wait, what? Where is is again?" I asked, puzzled. Yep, it was two blocks down from First Congo. On that two-block walk, I fell in love with the Cooper-Young Historic District. There was a real bookstore and a real record store and a cat sanctuary rescue store. 🐈 Of course there were cafés and shops and galleries. And a restaurant that used to be Priscilla Presley's beauty shop. And craft beer and the LGBTQ+ resource center in a funky old house.
The only thing that would make this better? If my wife and all my friends were here.
Taylor's coworking space was spectacular, of course. She said, "Hey, you might want to check out Crosstown Concourse while you are here." I'm thinking, "I don't even understand what she just said, but ok!"
Your body arrives before your brain at Crosstown. You feel it on your skin - an energy buzz that your brain needs a minute to catch up with. I feel certain that I stood there with my mouth open for a longer time than is socially appropriate.
I thought I knew what innovative re-use of historic space was. I had been doing it for years. Nope. I didn't know a thing until I walked into Crosstown.
Again, the thought, "Holy moly! Everyone I know needs to see this!" Faces flashed through my mind. I could see them talking and laughing and pointing out things they noticed as the place began to reveal itself.
We are the gatherers that know our spaces have a life of their own. Anyone else tell their space "good morning" on arrival and "see you tomorrow" on your way home?
I began to plan a Gathering of Gatherers - an experience that could not be replicated on Zoom. It was about the taste and smell and feel of the place. It was about placemaking and changemaking and vibemaking.
It was going to be just the best part of any conference I have ever attended - the in between. My friends were the best experts at this and any one of them could be on stage for a speakers panel. But they also want to learn and experience and level up. It wasn't a conference. It was a pilgrimage.
I pulled together a small team for a scouting trip in May 2021. They saw the vision and jumped right in.
And then . . . self-doubt . . . covid . . . blah blah . . .
I'm told, "Yeah, but what about the programming. People need to justify it as a business expense." That is really true. But, no.
"What will the takeaways be, though?" Um, joy?
"Ok, but can it be about mental health and reflection and ... and ... " Absolutely.
"Well, it's not going to be for everybody." Damn - you got that right!
So, here's the deal - it's three weeks away. At this point, it will be an intimate group with unconferencing and plenty of face time with some of the Oracles of Coworking and shared space partnerships.
Hey, you. Yes, you. It was your face I saw when I had this vision. If you don't come, you are going to have some killer FOMO when you see the pix. I'm pretty sure this is going to be a one-time gig. (Too much?) 😂
For some of my dearest friends who really can't come, I'm going to miss you. I know you wish you could be there. Big Love.