Thursday, February 5, 2009

To Dream, Perchance To Blog

Saying "Shut up," turns out, causes quite a reaction. Probably why I decided to stop saying it, and what I should expect for breaking my own rule. Even The Queen can expect to be called into question at times. Good, say I.

When writing Shut Up Hollywood, trust me, I considered that I could open myself up to being viewed as hypocritical. I went right ahead and did it anyway! Bold, ain't I? As my touchstone, Eileen, questioned in her response, aren't we all entitled to find a voice for our thoughts? A means of expressing our views? More to the point, doesn't the immediacy of communication options make it more accessible for the average person to share publicly? Yes. Yes. And, yes.

What's at issue here is not the right to have a voice and express it; God Bless America! It's more about how it's done. The underlying reason for it. Like Dad used to say, "What gets most people in trouble is not what they say, but how they say it." He was cautioning me to watch my tone of voice and check my attitude. But, it also applies to the mode of communication one uses to express their notions. Just because you have a hammer, doesn't make you a carpenter, sort of thing... If you don't use it correctly for honest reasons, mass communication tools simply help you make a quicker, bigger, more obvious mess.

Dad endured the trials of dealing with a kid who has a really fast brain and an even faster tongue. Couple that with the immature notion that the truth always needs to be said, and you're looking at a potential human nightmare. How do you keep that pup alive? Everyone will attempt to kill her. Quite a challenge.

One day, when he'd had about all he could stand from my 'mouth,' he looked at me dead calm and said, "Girl, you better get ready to go through life wearing a helmet." I laughed, "What the heck does that mean?" He continued, "If you don't learn to control your mouth, it's your only option. People who aren't your family don't have to tolerate it. They're only going to take your crap for so long before they'll simply try to mash you in your head. So, either learn to keep your mouth closed, or change the way you say things to people. Or, wear a helmet to protect your head."

Well, there you have it. He was right. Completely. And, obviously it made an impression because I decided to begin to use my powers for good instead of evil! Most likely why I decided to get into communications as a profession. Definitely the reason why I choose my words so carefully.

I am very good at what I do. I've learned to keep my personal thoughts separate from my professional ones. There's occasional bleed through, I know. But, I'm very clear about where the personal Holly starts and ends and the professional, Ms. Dietor begins and ends. I've trained myself that way. My professional responsibilities honed it even further.

As that relates to yesterday's entry, it's about knowing where the private you starts and stops, vs. the public you. Let's face it, we all have our public personae. And, we are the person we can be in the privacy of our own environment with our selected friends and family. For someone like me who was a spokesperson for so long, it gets so that if you're outside of your house, you operate under the assumption that your being seen and recognized. Even if you're at the store shopping for tonight's dinner. It's safer that way.

Once, I was standing in line wearing a sweat shirt and pants. No makeup. Hair was clean but not much else. It was Saturday and I was completely comfortable and messy. I'm waiting in line, the woman behind me says, "Excuse me, but didn't I see you on television the other day?" In fact, she had. I was on the news for a hospital related topic. I said, "Yes, that was me, and I think you have a wonderful career ahead as a detective because I sure don't look like that in real life, do I?" She laughed and said, "That's all right, you look fine. I just wanted to say I thought you did a good job."

That encounter and others, taught me to be aware that people are hearing, listening, and observing more than we might like to think. Nothing creepy, it's just the way of things. Even when you're hoping or feeling that you're invisible, someone probably 'sees' you.

I wish people, who live their lives in the spot light such as those in Hollywood, would understand that there are two parts to life and act accordingly. We hear so many bemoan that they have no personal lives once they become 'known.' But, a huge part of that problem is created for themselves when they don't control public access. Too often expressing their opinions in public when they could have smiled pleasantly and not shared. Catch my drift?

So, as it relates to a blog: Why does anyone risk it? I'm sure there are as many reasons as their are bloggers. Some do it to keep a group easily informed of what's going on, like Eileen is doing about her grandson, Simon. Another does it to blow off steam about various topics. As for me? I do it to keep my writing skills sharp while waiting for my next professional opportunity.

People think I'm a good story teller and I have a sense of humor about things. We all need to laugh more and I'm happy to oblige. I blog because I'm a natural teacher and hope to give us something to ponder and be curious about. To expand our thinking about things. To consider possibility. I noodle on the computer keys to entertain you. I blog to think out loud, as it were. I blog to keep my imagination awake. It's fodder for dreams which I invite you to share with me.

I suppose I do it for the same reason one keeps a journal. Except this one, I share with anyone who wants to take a peek. I blog to keep my spirit open to others; it takes courage to write some of the things I share about myself, or my point of view. Sometime I worry that it could change how you feel about me. But, that's a risk all writers contend with at times. And as they say here in Pittsburgh, "If it needs said, it needs said."

But, my blog stays fixed in one spot. You must come to it to hear me. I can't force my opinions off on your ears and eyes. Or unexpectedly upset your equilibrium. Another person challenged, "Can't you just change the channel when an actor is saying something you don't want to hear?" Certainly. If I react quickly enough, sometimes, I do. But, should I have to? I'm suggesting the need for all of us to think before we speak. And, sometimes not speak at all.

Not every thought or idea that comes into your head needs to fly out of your mouth. And simply because you're asked for your opinion, doesn't mean you should share it. There are times when discretion is the better part of valour. Or, as Lady Dorothy Nevill said, "The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."

I admit, I am not always able to resist temptation. But, I do try very hard. I think all of us, and most particularly those who live their lives as public personae, should all try a bit harder.

Now, where did I put my helmet?

Namaste' Till Next Time,


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why I feel compelled to comment, once again, on this topic because I largely agree with you. That said, were you asked personal questions when you were acting as "Public Holly"? Was part of your success determined why how people felt about you personally?

Right or wrong, actors, singers, and other celebrity performers live and die by how people feel about them. A popular actor will have more success than his less-popular but equally talented colleague. By making their jobs about who they are, or at least the public image of their "Personal Self", we have made the situation what it is.

If we are interested in who they are dating, where they are living and how much they paid for their houses, then they should be able to use that interest to promote their views.

Similarly, they should expect to be liked or disliked based on those views. I, for one, have stopped watching/listening to celebrities whose views I find distasteful. I've also found a new appreciation for others based not on their talent but on their personal views.

Holly said...

Well said, Heather. And, I doubt that my public success was based on people liking me personally since I keep them segregated. But, ask yourself this: As your teacher, how did you formulate your opinion of me? Was it how I conducted myself as a professional while sharing snippets of myself as a private individual? And, If I conduct myself as a credible professional, who is considered in my actions, doesn't that go along with how willing people might have been to return to me for my insights and views when professionally appropriate?

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