surface tensions

Before media became the subject of my academic work  - see the Collegiate tab for details -  it also shaped the subject of my memoir about media: Surface Tensions: Searching for Sacred Connection in a Media-Saturated World (Hendrickson, 2016).

From the back cover: “For some, our media-saturated culture points to the decline of Western civilization; for others, it points to the dawn of a bright future. For Nathan Roberts, the mediated landscape is a place to thoughtfully engage with these tensions. This unique memoir, meditative and philosophical, chronicles Nathan’s absorption in the vital, inspiring, and often maddening power of media and entertainment. With wry self-effacement and raw honesty, he calls us to conceive of media not only as an abstract, postmodern phenomenon, but as a digital architecture that creates real meeting space. Exploring social media, music, film, art, theater, standup comedy, and more, Nathan shows us a world of entertainment that reflects the universal hunger for connection.”

From the Foreword by Alissa Wilkinson, Senior Correspondent and Critic at “I’ve known Nate since he started his undergraduate work at NYU, and I always knew he was a smart, thoughtful guy. He read books and philosophy and stared at a lot of screens, studying movies. But I didn’t realize the half of it. And I was delighted to encounter him on the pages of this book. Surface Tensions is a wonderfully allusive name for what works equally well as a small primer on media and a memoir of growing up in a thoroughly mediated age.”

“Reading Surface Tensions, I was surprised at how deeply I identified with Nathan and his beautifully articulated struggle: to connect in an increasingly anonymous world, to cope with absence and presence, to care, to take the chance to be known, to wrestle with the question that all of us are asking: do I matter?” —Ashley Cleveland, Grammy Award-winning recording artist and author of Little Black Sheep