I love kitchen table conversations, with family and friends, with new people, sometimes just with myself or with people I'm emailing.
Even though I have an office space in my home, when I want to do anything, I bring what I need from my office to the kitchen table, and work on it there. (My office is a storage closet for my kitchen table projects.)
When I had offices in various office buildings, I brought in a round table and what was needed to make coffee and tea, so that it was more like a kitchen.
And - to move from the kitchen table for a moment, to another domestic space - when I wrote grants (difficult work that I no longer do), I would sometimes bring everything I was working with into my bedroom for a week or so, sometimes staying up all night as the due date drew nearer, and feeling like I was "birthing" a new project. (It was actually "our" bedroom, and my husband was kind to accept that I had to do it that way. He was the "midwife" for our three homebirths, and has an unusal ability to honor women's work.)
A friend in Vermont, Cheryl Mitchell, wrote about Parent-Child Centers (aka Family Resource Centers) and described women going from "kitchen tables to boardroom tables" and taking their good thinking with them, along with the attitudes and habits of nurturance from home.
Another woman told me about the book Bitter Milk: Women and Teaching by Madeleine Grumet, that told the story of children being taken from their mothers by the factory-style education system that was indeed developed during the industrial revolution to produce factory foremen and factory line workers.
And another woman who influenced me, Mary Field Belenky, wrote about "public homeplaces" in her book A Tradition That Has No Name: Nuturing the Development of People, Families, and Communities. Public homeplaces are centers out in the community that invited women to come from their homes to a public place, with their children, and to develop their public voice without giving up what was most important to them in order to fit into the prevailing order.
I chose Kitchen Table Conversations as the name for this website, in hopes that it would allow me to share some of my kitchen table conversations - the faces, the words, the ideas - and to connect anyone stopping here with others who are thinking about similar things.