For the sixth day of the sixth month, I thought I would create a list in my Twitter account about the six degrees of separation. I refer to the phenomenon all lower case so as to distinguish it from the John Guare play of the same name, though the concept is big. If I have this right, the idea that there are “six degrees of separation” means I am connected to everyone alive by no more than six degrees. In other words, I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows the President of China.
If Twitter were working for me right now I would have posted this mix of no-pretense and pretensiousness. It is my short list of important people with whom I have enjoyed live and direct unmediated conversation during my life on Earth (and what we discussed). This makes us first-degree connections whether or not we are Linked In or my phone number is in any of their handheld devices.
1. John Guare (Three of the five Boroughs of New York City, three of the thirty-one towns in Berkshire County, Massachusetts)
2. Brian Eno (drums, robots, airlines, contingency, irony, and solidarity)
3. Cecil Taylor (Elvin Jones, telephones, jiu-jitsu, home-made stew, home-made balms, CD-ROMs)
4. Amy Tan (Palo Alto, San Francisco, Macau, Shanghai, coffee, tea)
5. Zeljko Ivanek (Sandra Pearson, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, Tennesee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, goulash)
6. Blythe Danner (Ballou Lane, bicycling, school, Summer, daughter, tea).
There we go; a couple of writers, couple musicians and a couple actors. It’s a typical New York dinner table except we’re missing architects, dancers and painters, nottomention no civil servants or physicists or surgeons are represented. Let’s remedy that in the second degree if we can.