I was at the Third Coast Festival last week, and it was a great big pool of new people, all open to meeting one another, all with different backgrounds and reasons for being there. I spent a good 2-3 days with them, passing them in the lobby, making eye contact with the person I just spoke with 10 minutes ago... oh there you are again. Didn't I just pass by you near the elevator? Maybe we should just give each other a gentle nod, no need to say anything. In fact, maybe we should look away quickly and pretend we didn't see each other. I mean, how many passing acknowledgements can you give a person before it becomes ridiculous? Nothing personal, you understand. In fact, you probably feel the same way, right? I hope I didn't just offend you. Oh maybe I did... the next time I see you, I'll have to be extra nice, just to show I'm an ok guy and all... oh there you are again. Do you have a twin here? Because I'd swear I just saw you standing next to the coffee cart...
I often feel as though I'd make better social decisions if I could just go back and change one little thing I did, like in that movie Groundhog Day. I think one of the reasons I'm so drawn to recordings is that it allows me to share ideas with people outside of real time -- there's an editorial process involved. And I make much different decisions if I have the opportunity to reflect and make changes later. This blog post, for instance, has been edited many times. I don't talk like this, really. In fact, I'll probably edit this again after it's been posted. Whereas, if I were forced to just type with no delete key, I think I might come accross much differently than I do now. So which is closer to who I really am? Is the spontaneous, stream of conciousness me more true because it's a reflection of how my mind works in real time, warts and all? Or is the edited, thought-out me truer, because I've had the opportunity to reflect on what I've said and make sure that it's consistent with what I really want to say?
The thing is, even with all that editorial control, I still can't control how that plays to another person. For example, I was in what they called a "Close Listening" session, moderated by the Kitchen Sisters. It was 8-10 producers each playing a recent piece for the group, a really wide variety of work from a really wide variety of producers. I played a piece called Eye Contact that I produced for Weekend America last summer.
This brings to mind a perennial debate: how much should the audience matter? It came up recently in Rick Moody's discussion forum on transom. I think it was an interesting thread, you can read the whole discussion by clicking here.