Audience — Another Personal Note

There is a principle in quantum physics whereby it is understood that the act of observing a thing changes the thing. (It makes it awfully hard to learn what’s going on in there.)

In music I have worked with a number of artists who started from nothing more than an idea, a vision, and then became successful. Success means there is more at stake because there is now something to lose. There are more opinions to contend with as the artist is pressured to consider her audience. That’s usually death to the art. It may be lucrative in some cases, but once the vision gets tainted in this way it’s often a matter of time before the success diminishes. I’ve seen artists completely lose their way trying to interpret what they think they need to be. The visionary ones can forge ahead in spite of the audience, but it’s hard not to be influenced by it to some extent.

Writers have the same problem. Once one has a successful book, he is tempted, encouraged, perhaps even coerced (by the publisher) to do more of what they perceive made it successful. It can be lucrative, but usually not inspiring. You can’t listen too much. You have to follow your vision.

As I have become aware of some of the people who read my pontifications here I, too, have been forced to think a little bit about the content I put out. Those who read it with any regularity have no doubt surmised that it’s pretty deeply personal at times. Why? There are three big reasons:

  1. I find it somewhat cathartic
  2. It makes me think through things a little more carefully
  3. I hope it is helpful, or at least interesting, and perhaps even…entertaining…

In my ‘band days’ I learned to be a closed book, for reasons beyond the scope of this. Suffice to say it’s a necessary part of being in that kind of role, especially with lots of sycophants around. You learn to be slow to trust, to keep things protected. People had to work their way in — a challenge not everyone is up for. Safe, but limiting. Recently I have been influenced to open up more. It’s dangerous and risky, and heaven knows I have done some serious damage flailing around, but ultimately it seems necessary because….what we (think we) want from people is to really know them, not some concocted facade of who they think we want them to be…at least up to a point. A friend once said, “If you’re intimidated by transparency it means you aren’t transparent enough.” It requires trust in people, and therein lies the risk. It has proven to be costly on occasion, which naturally makes one question the wisdom of it.

I have been taking more risks, although in these writings I admittedly have to be somewhat guarded because I could do some real harm if I threw all caution to the wind. So yes, unfortunately, this blog is tainted (restrained) to some degree because there are readers — an audience. But it’s pretty bold (for me) in some ways, and I think that’s what makes it interesting, and potentially helpful.

One person asked, “How do you think it could impact your career to be writing things like this?” (There are valid reasons why it could.) It’s a calculated risk. At this point I’m not sure how much I care. Again, it requires some trust, which is difficult for me. But it’s also just the backbone to stand up and say what I think. Because any other way is too contrived, and therefore useless. Why bother?

A person I know once asked if I was torturing her. The idea seemed so preposterous to me I couldn’t hear the question as anything other than a light hearted jab to be sloughed off. What if it was a serious question? “Torturing” certainly isn’t how I’d want it to be put, but if you’re in my life then to some extent it’s possible for your views or interactions to (anonymously) leak into this forum. I try to do it in a helpful and constructive way, but…all I can say is that if the shoe fits, you can decide whether or not you want to own it. When you hear a song, and it seems to resonate with you, then…well…you have to listen to that, eh? If it came from someone you know then obviously there is a chance it’s about you specifically, but that really shouldn’t change anything if you think about it.

I really do appreciate all the feedback I get, most of which has been off line. Send me more or comment here. Dare to speak up and speak out. Challenge or encourage. I really want to know what you think. Yes, this means you. I’m learning and muddling through like everyone else.

David

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5 Responses to “Audience — Another Personal Note”


  1. 1 David Stewart October 12, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Folks, it appears a number of comments over the past few weeks got caught in a spam filter. I’ll try to sift through them and pull out the real ones. Sorry about that. I really do value the feedback so don’t let this dissuade you.


  1. 1 Turns Out We’re Not That Interesting | Just a job to do Trackback on February 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm
  2. 2 Personal Note — Why Publish it? | Just a job to do Trackback on March 25, 2014 at 10:21 am
  3. 3 4 Parameters for Communication | Just a job to do Trackback on March 29, 2014 at 11:22 am
  4. 4 Passion | Just a job to do Trackback on December 18, 2016 at 7:09 am

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