Monday, July 4, 2016

At Least One Other Person


I watch the sea, it helps to anchor me.
—Geddy Lee

I've been doing a lot of podcasts lately, which is terrifying for me but also fun. As a writer I'm used to the comfort of working on my own and having the luxury of manipulating words, sentences, and paragraphs into the precise message I wish to deliver.

I don't subscribe to Jack Kerouac's alleged school of revision. I'm more with James Scott Bell's dictum that “the first draft exists to be rewritten.” Or as Justice Louis Brandeis put it, “There is no great writing, only great rewriting.” First thoughts are often best thoughts, but they're also often expressed badly or incompletely.

I like to revise. The inability to do so is a bug (or feature) of podcasting. You just let fly and hope for the best. I'll admit it's a bit of an adrenaline rush to know that I could fall flat on my face at any moment and turn the show into a complete train wreck. I'll also admit I'm not much of an adrenaline junkie and prefer to operate in controlled or controllable environments.

That being said, I've enjoyed doing more podcasts this year. And this is due almost entirely to my host and cohosts, who have all been knowledgeable, articulate, and just plain fun to hang out with. They feel like conversations with an audience that is there but not quite there.

It's like writing in that regard. I'm always pleasantly surprised when people have read my work. Similarly I get a kick out of learning that someone heard me on a podcast. “Oh, hey, that thing I did... people liked it.” It's gratifying to know that I'm not speaking in a vacuum, that these words somehow connected with at least one other person in the world.

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