I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2018 (all of my submissions can be found here).
Today’s prompt is: AUDIENCE
Ed. Note: I did today’s prompt by sharing my thoughts for five minutes on a Facebook live, mostly unscripted. Below this embedded video is a loosely transcribed version (because I didn’t want to listen to myself a second time to dot i’s and cross t’s!).
I am at the point in the 31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes challenge that I start thinking, “Is there some way I could do this that doesn’t involve writing?”
…which I realize is ironic, but I got there last year too, and here I am again.
Today’s prompt is “audience.” That got me thinking about three things, and we’ll see how many of those I can fit in within five minutes (I’d probably be better off staying with one.)
The first is: I love an audience. I enjoy performing, and I’ve really missed my involvement in FSU’s Film School as a background actor and volunteer. And I don’t really have the chops to do live theatre. I could get my fix that way, but it’s not really in the cards right now. I love it and hope to get back to it.
What I don’t love is an audience when I’m working. I thought about that often over the three months that my mom was in the hospital, especially the periods when she was in the ICU, because those ICU nurses do incredible things that require deep concentration while family members are asking questions and are not always in their calmest states of mind.
I would always think about how challenging that is, and that’s probably why, for a period of my life, I was in career planning, because I always wonder how people got there — got to that point in their careers. I had an assessment one time when I was at Healthy Kids that was extremely on target, and one of the findings was “you like to work alone.”
So … props to a life now where I can work alone at home, doing something I love, and get to be part of a great team but not be putting an IV in someone’s arm while five family members are asking me if I’m doing it right … and while someone’s life is on the line. That probably wouldn’t be my finest hour.
The third thing is … I just came back from volunteering at a warehouse in Donalsonville, Georgia, where they are collecting items for victims of Hurricane Michael. It’s the central warehouse, and from there the items are taken to three places: Colquitt, Bainbridge and Donalsonvile. It was staffed by Adventist Disaster Response teams from Blairsville, Georgia, and I don’t really know how ADR structures its teams.
I don’t know if the ADR teams are volunteers, if they’re compensated in some way. What I do know is they were incredible. They had quite a system set up. One guy — it was his 60th disaster being on a team. It made me think a lot about how — clearly they’re doing this out of a faith-based rationale — that it’s part of their faith to do this and to serve others, but they did not care who the audience was.
I suppose to them their audience was God; I suppose their audience had some further reward than getting past the hardships this hurricane has created. But it really struck me how they had a plan, they welcomed us in as volunteers, told us what to do, but they don’t want any personal glory for this.
They just wanted to do what was a fit for their faith and “do unto others.” It was a very thought-provoking stance that they took on how to help best. We don’t always want an audience. Sometimes we try to attract one when we really should keep quiet and mind our own business. We sometimes do things that we might be seeking some kind of notoriety for ourselves when the real reward is in doing the job quietly.
But whatever the case, I do encourage you to become aware of what your style is. For me it has a lot to do with my style and what work environment is best for me. But it is also — having been with these Adventist response people today — it’s a reminder that there’s an audience beyond us, beyond social media (and I know — I post a lot!). There’s an audience beyond the pictures we post and the sentiments we share that is watching to see if we are making choices that benefit the greater good.
My thought for the day is: think about who your audience is; work in a way that is the best fit for you and do some good in the world. There are people out there who need it.