Sunday, November 24, 2013

What Would Jane Do?

By Leigh Stevenson

I had a huge realization. My return to the stage and the press surrounding it taught me something. Never has so much been written about so little. Really. The one-act play I did was funny, true. But articles in every publication in town, Facebook advertising, Twitter and then FRONT PAGE of the newspaper? Are you kidding me? Suddenly we were sold-out. The playwright, Robbie Robertson also our publicist/media guru, master of networking and blitzkrieg, was responsible.

I had heard for a while from professionals that getting your work out into the media, using all formats, is important. You create your own stir. I resisted this and basically ignored it. I thought, “Who would really read all the hype?” I guess I’m a throwback to Jane Austen. I just wanted to write. Not self-promote. Finally, a full year after a good friend said it was imperative, I created a blog. Slow study doesn’t quite cover it.

What Robbie taught me is, IT WORKS. However painful and makes me want-to-hide-under-the-bed-embarrassing, IT WORKS. If you create enough stir people will notice. I wish it was a different world. But it’s not.

Also, I wonder if the new technology intimidates anyone else. Is it just me? First, computers. That was a challenge, but I mastered the basics. Every time I talk with someone who knows more than I do (which isn’t hard), I pick their brain and take notes. In pencil. Remember pencil? By the way, do you notice that young people, I mean the ones that grew up with computers, are annoyed to show you how to do things on the computer? As if your ignorance wasn’t enough of a handicap, you feel dumb about being ignorant. I want to remind them; even they had to learn to read. We don’t spring from our mother’s loins with technology implanted. Or reading skills.

Next was email. I stuck a tentative toe in the water and then dove. I loved it. A fast, efficient way to correspond. Apparently it wasn’t fast or efficient enough. Then came (I’m not sure in what order, so don’t sue me) Websites for Everything and Everyone! Texting, Twitter, Blogging, Skype, Smartphones (what does that even mean?), Cloud technology, Nooks, Kindles, iPads, and on and on. I’m sure I’m behind on even naming them.

The point is, I feel I have to be a magician to keep up. I’m trying, heaven knows. I’m not sure, however, with all of this corresponding and sharing of information… if people are still talking. How’s the art of conversation faring with the How r u’s and LOL’s? How about handwritten letters? I used to love letters. Even a greeting card makes me happy. Oh sure, I love to get them via email, but there is something about holding them in your hand. Books, too. I don’t want to be a dinosaur about it but it’s true, there are things to miss. Some traditions worth hanging on to. I still love Jane Austen. What on earth would she have done?


Anne Carmichael, Author of "Magoo Who? Life Through My Eyes" said...

I guess since we attended high school at the same time and now are both writers, it isn't coincidental that we share the same feelings of 'dinosaurism'.
Recently, I experienced firsthand what social media can do. Because of Facebook, I have been recognized in public as 'the lady who wrote that cat book.' Recently a 'fan' (that's unreal) followed me all over the store and then when she pushed her way behind me in the checkout lane, proclaimed to the cashier, 'You have a celebrity here!' Well I'm still just me, with the same insecurities I had in high school. Technology has made me something I am NOT!

Jodie Cain Smith said...

1. I am pretty sure my smartphone is smarter than me. 2. I am relatively young, but my Twitter account still confuses and terrifies me.

Leigh Stevenson said...

Congratulations again on your success! I'm sure it's well-deserved. I'm looking forward to seeing your books. Sending good wishes for many more!


Leigh Stevenson said...

Congratulations again on your success! I'm sure it's well-deserved. I'm looking forward to seeing your books. Sending good wishes for many more!


Leigh Stevenson said...


Thanks for the support!