Reflections on publicity

I used to use this space for rumination, poetry drafts, signal boost to other blogs, and it gradually unconsciously became a PSA hub and advertorial for organizations I’m involved with.
I went silent for a while for taking on too much, including house-construction and moving to another province. Probably no one is left reading but that’s fine. It’s how it began. One earnest voice using the internet to see if there was another mind to listen out there. Nothing to do with selling, only signalling.
Last night I went to Tree and forgot my camera. I know the phone is useless in such lighting so didn’t even try. The password for the venue changed so I couldn’t livetweet. It was relaxing.
How much of the last 20 years have I been present with events without part of my mind watching for The Moment for a photo that catches a characteristic energetic facial expression and gesture, without listening for a tweet-length quotable to promote what I’m at, whether it is an architectural lecture, conference, festival, street fair, birthday, wedding, family reunion, concert, reading, or even reading a book, looking for isolated paragraphs that can stand along as essential.
Add to the automatic publicity role I take on whether I’m involved with the organization or not, and I have to ask, what is that?
I’ve been on school newspapers and yearbooks since I was 15. Some of my original university plans were journalism here or there.
But why? It is overextension of the adage that if you learn something you have an obligation to reteach it, thus a teaching career and thus poetry?
Is it a method from good place to counter my nervous nature by focussing in some way, or by controlling in some way? Is it a protestant work ethic to never be idle? Or is is resistance by default to resist and filter stringently whatever I perceive so nothing slips in unannounced?
Letting things wash over me rather than trying to take it all in, taking notes at a music concert, or while reading, trying to hold it all, is that not cling? A variation of hoarding? And does that not come from insecurity, a fear of loss?
I thought I converted my ideology to a system of ampleness and capacity to deal but this suggests the pressure I put on myself still runs. Is it a desire to please and assure others that their acts and words don’t fall into a vacuum. It is a paying attention, a kind of honouring expended effort.
My bent as an archivist of stuff all try to preserve, which is a looking backward and expecting the future will want to look backward?
What if we want to move, and trust there is a forward that descended from that route but the route has no need to preserved? Each path forward creates a new past. Pasts are infinite. They aren’t in opposition to allowing a future but how relevant are they?
All photo albums become books of the dead. Especially as someone with no biological heirs, who are photos kept for? Is this the best use of posterity? Or is action more of use? There’s an opportunity cost to saving the past. It hits my own reward centres, which is a fine and useful thing chemically speaking. It has some use. But what costs are incurred?
Being what I call “civilian” (rather than camera-twitter cyborg) I could hear more complexity of tone of voice. I could let things unfold rather than anticipate and be disgruntled at predicting. I could perceive people without causing flinch at trying to capture souls.
I could frame photos in my mind as by habit, but let them pass and float around mentally untethered. I could listen without planning to speak. I could be silent the entire night. I dodn’t need to write up an event report, or encapsulate what I’d convey to someone else.
That brain that’s not seeking to frame is a rare state. I’m always scanning for lines of poems, for metaphors, for something to convey to the page, which cares as little as a wall does for my words, and has as little use for them.
I suppose a few things add together, a book we read where the pov seemed forced into an effective plot frame, but all seem caricatured and contrived, still funny, but false. It begged the question of real sight vs. seeing what you expect. We all risk doing the latter.
A tenet of my life is that I fly towards that which scares me because otherwise I am crushed by fears which amplify like the bullies they are. Avoidance makes it worse. Self-imposed exposure therapy makes it easier. Thus my aunt saying for a lifetime she eats no ice cream because as a little girl she found glass in it so she gets fear, 60+ years later when anyone eats ice cream…it makes me angry at her loss. It says that I will not do that. If she is susceptible to it, I need to defend more against the walls falling on myself. What if all my force of opposing my energies or not opposing the energy would have ended up with me in the same place either way? It is ego that says ones choices cause change but there is visible pattern of cause and effect.
When I got PTSD flashbacks after a car accident, even flashes of light reflecting reneacted the accident in my body. Walking past a car bumper. Any sudden acceleration or deceleration to turn or respond to traffic lights made me flashback and go rigid and call out. For years. This meant I had to keep getting in cars, not hide in my room. Accept when stress made me twitchy and shut off. Once I recovered, I had to at least walk sidewalks, be a passenger, drive and deal because it’s a non-starter that I could let this rule.
As a corollary, crowds overwhelm me. They are loud, in my personal space, are full of scents that can trigger migraines, scents that can spur panic attacks, among too many unknowns of people who may act erratically, and with poets may talk from any trigger while we all applaud politely. So naturally, I had to go until my system’s reactions calmed the heck down. But I needed a crutch to cope and screening out people is helped by a camera and a purpose. An excuse, a reason. And to be validated for “your good photos” kept me engaged and countering the risk of pushing my own boundaries. It lined up with my historian’s ideology that selective bits of history should be kept, and my publicist, journalist instinct for a story to sell.
But I said a few things came together to persuade me that posting about events was a good thing.
Pragmatically I published and to publish to sell, people need to know these good ideas packaged on paper exist.
And Garry while I sorted the garage said, why not bonfire it all? I said, but look, I found a photo of my mom in the 80s I didn’t know I had. He replied, but you already know what she looks like, and after you’re gone, it won’t matter to anyone else. That boosted energy to be more selective and less clingy on what I kept.
More recently, we listened to the podcast Accidental Creative, episode on Selective attention how we need downtime to process and convert to new patterns, transformation, and wisdom, not just take in more noise and information.
A Tree workshop exercise last night was with Rachel McCrum. A eureka of understanding more my own motivations, strengths and interest in communications. And why.
I am introverted. People take a lot of energy. To put myself in front of people drains not energizes. Face-to-face can wear me out, which is worth the cost in getting to know people, but I have to pace myself, and actually get to know people, instead of just being exposed to people.
But the exercise: We were to read and look away from the partner, then look into the eyes of the partner. What effect does performance vs. performance to one person have on the weights of words, the critique, the intimacy.
What do we need to share? Why do we need to share?
What else could I hold space for? Downtime, processing time, space to see what comes and where I might like to go if I wasn’t pushing myself towards certain places of habit.

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