Saturday, October 04, 2008

professional experiment

I’ve taken a one-day magazine assignment to do “live blogging.” And now I realize this is a mistake because I’M DREADFULLY BORING.

I’m going to take a shower, sort my clothes and start to pack, while I consider my boring self. Writing has been such an enormous adventure for the past four years—how do I say this without sounding a) naïve, b) naïve like a fluff-head, c) like a clueless housewife who doesn’t get out much? Or worse, naïve-seriously-naïve.

Monday I will be live-blogging in New York. First I will carry my laptop (my most valuable possession) around the New York City subway system in a simple messenger bag, trying not to radiate the word “victim,” trying to look like I carry my most valuable possession every day and I never worry about it, and trying not to break my shoulder. Next I will walk into a hall full of well-dressed skinny women who are about to master the world, and I will subsequently remember that I’m from Farmland, Indiana and I’ll check to see if I’m wearing bib overalls and pigtails, or if my forehead reads “hayseed.” (It might. No way to avoid my wonderstruck-face.) Third I will say I’m headed to the green room for my press pass. Fourth I’ll figure out what to wear without sweating—jacket? No jacket? Fifth I’ll remind myself to eat something healthy so I don’t pass out. Sixth I’ll try to talk professionally, calmly although I’M SO EXCITED I COULD BUST. Seventh, I’ll try to feel EVERYTHING and write from the heart, which is what I’m hired to do.

The trick: how do I bring my whole life experience, in all its seriousness, to bear on a day blogging in a posh hotel? We all know I’m not dumb. How do I sound not-dumb while writing on-the-fly?

If you are a praying person, or a meditative person, ruminate with me and remind me who I am, that my story is worthy of attention. (It is worthy of MY attention. It’s my job to voice my experience as best I can.) Writing is a form of prayer, and what I need to do is to pray, and pray deeply, and to listen for the rumble below the crowd noise, feel the solidness of the earth even though real soil may be far, far below the floor. I need to listen for what others need.

Shaking off the nerves, packing a suitcase, remembering where I’ve come from and who I am, wondering how on earth to write this, for these people, tomorrow and Monday.

And maybe for you the day after.


meghan leigh said...

...Are you kidding? You're the most capable, energetic, confident and grounded-seeming person I've met in a year, bar none. You radiate positive energy and quiet confidence in your abilities. So, some reminders for you:

1. You're an excellent writer. You're already part of a prestigious creative writing program, and have the backing of acceptance and participation in that program, not to mention the backing of that program's participant's extreme enthusiasm for and belief in you and your abilities.

2. Denise, you walk into a room and things light on fire.

3. Your perspective is something you own, and something that, clearly, the folks who asked you to come to this conference already valued, or they would not have asked you to come.

4. You're incapable of being boring, underprepared, or irrelevant. Relevance flows through your veins.

...And those are just the first four things I could think of.

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

Yup - Meghan is sooo right. You have been invited because you are exactly what the organisers are looking for. So Just be yourself

Lisa B. said...

You'll do fine! Just be in the moment...all of them...and capture what you see and feel. That's what it's all about. Live blogging can't be expected to be the same as writing something that you have time to ruminate over for hours or days. It'll be a good exercise, if nothing else, sharpening a new area of your incredible skill set. Enjoy the day and the experience, Denise!

Denise said...

I'm here-- I'm posting like mad and hoping everything gets on the blog in a timely manner.

But so far, it's all charmed. I'll keep you posted. Batteries are in the red and I need to go plug in!

Lorna Harris said...

I was really pleased to see that MORE magazine had a live blogger at the event. Great job! I do admire anyone who can live blog, there's so much information to take down, it's overwhelming.

Andrea L said...

Even though I have only become acquainted with you via technology (lo, those distant miles from one side of Farmland to the other....!) I have learned that you have an enviable dedication to your professional calling! I love MORE Magazine and am so excited for you as you embark on this awesome assignment! Your live Blog was fun to read, and your perspective as a "real live woman just like me" -- a bit of info, a bit of humor, a ton of excitement for the moment you are in -- entices me to check in again tomorrow. When you get home, please drop by your little local library soon -- I would love to meet you in person!

Denise said...

Andrea, are you visiting from FARMLAND? You know The Farmland Public Library means a great deal to me-- spent a lot of hours in the old storefront library, next to the city building...