Thursday, July 10, 2008

Exposed as a Puppeteer


I’m struck at this moment about how much I am exposed on the web. I formed an acquaintance the other day with three puppeteers who had all seen this blog and followed the pictures to my account on Flickr. One of them mentioned that I love my cat…on Flickr all cat, puppet, origami and Greenwood pictures are open to the public…there was nothing could say but, “Why, yes, I do.” That’s when this feeling struck me.

Now I was the one who put it all up there, and I don’t mind that strangers go and look at the stuff I put up. But it hard not to fear the idea of someone unknown to me judging me by what is up there…and I don’t post personal stuff. Not at all…my blog is only about puppets and nothing more. A lot of my friends tell me they don’t read it for that reason and I’m okay with that. It’s not their hobby. The stuff I post and talk about has a very specific audience. Here’s the rub: I am a hobbyist, perhaps I might make a good post one day and the next day I post about something that I am trying which may or may not work at all. Think of a fellow puppetry lover who comes across my blog when I write a great post, so they bookmark me. Then I post a bad or wild idea and this stranger I don’t know somewhere is disappointed with me. Even worse, what if that person comes along for the first time when I post a bad or wild idea…do they ever come back? Maybe not. Suddenly I think being judged…both positively and negatively are equally bad.

Also, let’s face it, some folks out there consider puppetry playing with dolls so if I am googled by a client or coworker…they might find a reason with which to look down upon me. With all this in mind, I am just floored by the people who maintain personal, journal blogs. What could they be thinking trusting strangers with such deep insights to their characters? On the other hand, by sticking to my favorite subject of puppetry, I am much more likely to be found and read regularly by strangers than they are. Also, I have another disadvantage with those strangers…I go to Puppetry Festivals. When I do, I can’t help but wonder, how many of these puppeteers have both read and judged me. They take a look at my badge…connect it and suddenly I am “That know-it-all dilettante hobbyist who thinks she’s so special that she has the gall to post a boring little blog.”

Now I must admit I fear only one audience…my peers.

Sure, I get jitters and nerves before any show but it’s all excitement. I’m safe from most typical failure nightmares…my nightmares usually include stressful situations where I’m missing a key item or traffic is in my way or the fliers didn’t get out or some other stressful thing is keeping me from performing. I call them “running in place nightmares” and I get them all the time. Puppeteers don’t get that other typical performer nightmare of showing up on stage naked…because it’s never about our own bodies like it is for actors. Well maybe a ventriloquist might, but I don’t even show up at all on my stage like a ventriloquist does. For me these nightmares are instead reflected in the puppet…a dreadful puppet that the audience hates or a puppet that breaks or moves badly. But when I get those nightmares, they always include an audience of my peers. An audience of puppeteers is the only audience I fear—the judging audience—the audience hip to the art and able to see the flaws. That very audience is the target of this blog! This is what stunned me. I have lain bear all of my puppetry for the perusal and judgment of my peers. Not only that, but I get no comments on this blog…the other half of that puppeteer audience nightmare includes no applause…and suddenly no comments is beginning to feel like that deathly silence.

So what now?

Well, I’m stunned but not overpowered by the idea. Plus the lovely thing about ADHD is that I’ll stop worrying about it much more quickly than you would think. I’ll come alive by a wild idea or I’ll be struck by something I’m building and I’ll just have to share it with you. I’ll suddenly be very grateful that I have this forum. My little soap box with which I enjoy my freedom.

1 comment:

floppy tripod said...

you should visit me.