A question for the EphBlog brain trust, from Matthew Swanson ’97

Hello Ronit,

I wonder if you’d be willing to raise a challenge to the Ephblog readership. Robbi [Behr ’97] and I (the husband/wife, writer/illustrator team behind Idiots’Books) are going to be the subject of an article about creative collaboration that will be published in the spring in a popular online magazine I’m not yet at liberty to name. The guy writing the article plans to examine the mysteries of collaborative pairs, trying to answer the question of what makes them tick. He’s focusing on a number of famous collaborators throughout history, but is including Robbi and me because we have expressed a willingness to be his guinea pigs. In short, he’s going to subject us to a number of evaluations that run the gamut from fully scientific to downright whimsical, all in an effort to get at the question of how we do what we do.

Robbi and I have already undergone a number of evaluations, including some psychological surveys, a visit to our home/studio by a Feng Shui master, and an examination of our written correspondence by a psychologist. We are in the process of creating drawings of our ideal work space, creating a dictionary of our “private language”, and are anticipating a trip to an actual laboratory, where we will be hooked up with sensors and electrodes that will evaluate our unconscious biorhythmic utterances. We feel thoroughly investigated already, but the guy writing the article will not be content until he has examined our collaboration in each and every manner imaginable.

Here is where your readers might come in. The guy writing the article has asked us to turn to the smart people we know for additional ideas for ways in which our collaboration might be measured, analyzed, tested, or scrutinized.

If you’re willing, please ask Ephblog readers to put on their lab coats and take out their test tubes. To dig deep and see what they can come up with. No idea will be unconsidered.

As an added incentive, we will provide a free print of an illustration Robbi did for the Alumni Review last year to the person who comes up with the best idea. It’s a townscape of Williamstown, and can be seen at the following link: http://idiotsbooks.com/?p=1450

Thanks, Ronit (and thanks, Ephblog readers).

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