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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-04-05 04:24
Subject: [process] Part the sixth and last of Consumers and Producers
Security: Public
Tags:books, calamity, cars, green, odms, process, sins, sunspin, texas, whips, writing
Here is the final installment of this little series. I apologize for the delay in drafting and posting this one, but life got more than a little bit in the way. Once again, I'd like to extend my thanks to everyone who's involved themselves in the discussion to date. For reference, and if you'd like to catch up on the various comments:

Part 1jlake.com | LiveJournal 

Part 2jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

Part 3jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

Part 4jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

Part 5jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

As I said before, Sunspin has caused me to completely re-engage with my own habits and practices as both a Consumer and a Producer. This series of posts has wandered pretty deeply into my experiences working on that project. Now I want to tie it back up with some thoughts, and some questions for you, who have been patient and kind enough to follow this far.

I value being a Producer very highly. It's become a core part of my social and emotional identity. In the same vein, her mother and I have put a lot of effort in raising [info]the_child with a sense of what it means to be a Producer (I am a writer, Mother of the Child is an artist working in several media), so that she can have this set of choices available to her as she sets her paths through life.

But being a Producer definitely comes at a cost. As discussed, if nothing else, it interferes with one's place in life as a Consumer. For me, at least, the energy and focus come out of the same time budget, out of the same emotional and creative spaces.

Being a Consumer is also a creative act, because consuming Story requires participation and interpretation. But origination, now that's where the holy fire is for me.

Being a Producer has also influenced my life choices with respect to social activities and how I spend my time. I've mentioned before that I gave up television in 1994, and gaming in 1998. Those are forms of Consumption, forms of Story, but they're also things that would quite readily and happily eat my brain. My sense of social scheduling is influenced as well, and the ways I allocate my time on a daily basis.

None of this is to complain. I love what I do, I love being a Producer. My writing has sustained me through some very difficult times in these recent years of cancer and life turmoil. But the cost is real, both directly and in terms of opportunity cost.

The rewards are more real.

My conclusion is that this is a choice. And surely Producer and Consumer are not a crisply dualistic set of contrasting choices. Surely they are a spectrum, and everyone falls in a different place. But I find the concepts a handy tool to use when analyzing both my life and my work.

As for you... how would you define yourself? Does this idea appeal to you or put you off? When you Consume, what are your choices? If you aspire to Produce, what trade-offs do you make?

In a sense, these are the prototypical questions underlying the writerly cliches of "where do I find time to write" and "where do I find ideas to write about".

In a sense, this is real life.

Read more. Write more. Be well.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-04-05 11:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think I want to be a Participator, both when I write and when I read. My model is about diving into something, creating/experiencing an Other space, building something that is (in my head) somehow collaborative. As a reader, the author has provided me with all these wonderful images and guides into a world and I get to colour it, hear it, taste and feel it and find some kind of version which blends their words and my headspace. As a writer, I'm following and making my own set of tools into that Otherness, and hoping that someone else will follow that trail.
Trust me to be awkward.
Kari xx
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mlerules: bunny clock
User: mlerules
Date: 2011-04-05 16:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:bunny clock
Yeah - PARTICIPATOR. THIS is something I wanted to say.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2011-04-05 12:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If I were not producing writing, I'd be producing jewelry and other stuff in stone bead art. I still toy with the idea of occasionally doing jewelry stuff, because damn, it was low-level successful much more easily than the writing. I could sell the stuff and get it admired a lot faster.

But...the writing is where my heart lies.

Or, in another facet, I could be producing well-trained horses (besides my own). But age is closing that door.

I am quite picky about consuming any more. I simply don't go out to a lot of movies (if something drags me out to the theater, it's got to be good...last movie I saw was True Grit and I honestly can't remember what the last one was before that--oh, wait a minute, it was Teton Gravity Research's 2009 "Recession" premiere in Portland. Ski pr0n). I may watch TV if something is on when I'm winding down, but working out while DH is watching "Scrubs" or "South Park" isn't exactly consuming. TV's more an adjunct to doing something else.

What I do miss consuming are books. I simply don't read as much as I used to, even in the summers when the day jobbe doesn't intervene. Just not enough time.
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mlerules: bunny clock
User: mlerules
Date: 2011-04-05 16:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:bunny clock
Hmm, a bit torn here when trying to answer these qx. In the 1st installment, you (TMM) define Producers (for the purpose(s) of this series/discussion) narrowly to include only "formal" (or TMM) professionals) ones*. Thus, it seems as if you're only asking these qx of fellow-professional Producers (or those who aspire to do so and/or to be(come) such). I guess I'm a bit put-off by this idea insofar as it's exclusionary (of me**), although I do notice that you make a point of noting "In a sense, this is real life." (I also understand that this distinction (C/P) works well for you.)

I'm more interested in viewing your qx re: balancing C/P choices in the "real life" arena. To this end, I'd ask these qx (hmm, this may be better suited for the Interview Qx portions of your LJ/bloggery): (1) what activities (Consumption of media solo or w/others and/or other activities) work best to feed your soul and/or fill your well and/or best facilitate the process of you getting the stories within yourself out and down onto paper? (2) what else do you need in your life to satisfy your deeply felt desires and needs and how can you balance these w/those?

All that being said, however, I do have some thoughts re: how I balance choices when I Consume. I read for many reasons: to carve out some time/space to escape from everyday life and enter into another world (not of my own devising), ideally w/something that also satisfies another of my reasons for reading: obtaining good food for thought aka brain fodder to keep my wheels turning (not spinning ;-).

My Consumption choices also include consideration of who's recommended something to me, as it'll give me some insight into how that person ticks and/or what s/he likes (and thinks I'd like/enjoy/get off on).

Another reason behind choosing some what I consume: both reading and less frequently watching DVDs of TV shows serve a similar function in promoting and maintaining social connections by allowing for discussion/meeting points when chatting w/others, 'specially when hanging out at the watering hole/coffeeshop/office lunch room.

Re: yr "where do I find time to write" qx, I'm twisting it a tad to "where do I find time to read?" If'n I go too long w/out reading something, I start feeling antcy. Reading often serves as an emotional/mental/soul palate-cleanser for me...it's a bit like shaking an emotional etch-a-sketch upside down so I can start over fresh w/Life. Music can serve a similar function, although it's different and I'm not gonna go into the diffs now b'c they're not well-formed (and even more off-topic than I've already highjacked this reply ;-)

*"[I]n modern, Western/Western-influenced society, we also have categories of activity and employment that are more formally Producers. Artists, writers, musicians, moviemakers, and game designers, for example. We generate Story in the form of entertainment that is packaged and delivered as media. This is a formal activity distinct from either the peer-to-peer flow of Story or from those occupations and pursuits where Story is a supporting behavior in pursuit of some other formal goal."

**I've toyed w/the idea of sending in some of my writing for publication, but at this point, I really do it for myself (and for those who care to follow along when I blog/share stories), with no regard/concern for its wide-spread entertainment-value or whether it'll end up packaged/delivered as media.

Edited at 2011-04-05 04:12 pm (UTC)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-04-05 22:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmmm, complex stuff. This will require careful consideration to respond to.
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User: e_bourne
Date: 2011-04-06 00:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It completely puts me off. I'm neither a producer nor a consumer. Both have meanings that are deeply loaded within our culture, and in use in a variety of ways within our culture, that make it impossible for me to accept them in regard to creative endeavor.

Let's give a non-writing example. When I create a knitted garment for a friend, I'm spending hours of time, creative selection of materials, designing a style, imagining the item on my friend, how they will look, how they will enjoy it, they way this will tighten the bonds of our friendship, a myriad of things that tied within me and between us.

When he/she receives the item, they are going experience feelings about it in relation to the colors, style, fit of what I chose, realizing what went into it, how closely I do (or don't ) know them to have made it it. And they'll have their own response to it and me through my creative endeavor. They may chose to alter it (add a pin, tie the scarf differently, have a doll wear it, give it away) that I don't imagine.

A machine produces a sweater. A consumer buys a sweater. Neither has much thought for the other.

I simply don't see that in the creative endeavor, whether that's knitting or writing or painting or arranging flowers or planing a garden or cooking a fine meal. There may be a production process. But that's not the part that I do (at least not so far, until I have my sweaters mass produced in Malaysia, oh happy-selling-to Nordstrom-day).

So the whole analogy makes me deeply uncomfortable, therefore I had to simply bow out. It wasn't me or my process you were talking about because those words are too freighted.

I am an artist. I try to take that to whatever I do (cooking, not so much). It takes time, and is often unrewarding (thank goodness I have a helluva job) and sometimes it's a frustrating place to stand, but it comes with a great view.
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LiveJournal: pingback_bot
User: livejournal
Date: 2013-09-30 03:33 (UTC)
Subject: [cancer] Writing, blogging and me
User besthdmi referenced to your post from [cancer] Writing, blogging and me saying: [...] | LiveJournal [...]
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