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a crack in your ear through which sound surreptitiously slips, or an illicit substance which gives your ears immense pleasure while enslaving them to a crippling addiction

Thursday, October 27, 2005

post coast

I think conferences are an interesting social laboratory. You end up saying the same things over and over and over again to each new person you meet, but with radically different responses depending on the person. Just goes to show that it's not you, it's them. Really.

(Photo Credit: Jared Benedict)

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.

click on this picture to hear
Eye Contact

One person in the session said he thought the music should be taken out. Another person said she loved the music and thought it was great as is. In fact, everyone in the session seemed to have a different sense of what worked and what didn't. If anything, it gave me more confidence in my own instincts, because everyone's just going to react differently anyway.

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.


Blogger Muzachary said...

You mentioned wanting to be able to go back to change a lived through moment of your life. that reminds me of jonathon goldstein's piece in the "What I Should Have Said" episode of TAL. this is actually the piece that made me want to be a radio man.

10:16 AM


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