Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Year in the Tower

It was August 12th last year that I launched MizB’s Views From the Tower and in the usual manner of the computer/ Internet/digital world where one year equals seven in the speed of change, the blogosphere has gotten much larger and more powerful in its social impact. For me, this blog has been a personal catharsis, a welcome platform for my opinions, and a very happy adventure in writing for myself (as opposed to writing for hire), something I’ve done precious little of in recent decades.

It occurred to me as I was contemplating this anniversary and examining my blog with as much of an objective eye as I could ogle, that I’ve said almost nothing about myself as a writer. (If I were in therapy, I could spend a small fortune working that out.) So, for the record, here are the Cliff Notes of my credits: After writing lots of poetry and songs in my teens and with no serious focus on becoming a professional writer (I was too busy being fixated on the turmoil of the times and having fantasies of being a singing/songwriting star), I fell into my third full-time job: a junior publicist/talent coordinator for a company that produced traveling photo trade shows. For many years, p.r. was one of those professions that people fell into, like Alice going down the rabbit hole, a step down for journalists, a step up for writing wannabes. These days people go to school for it, but either you have a gift for language and the art of persuasion or you don’t.

That was the start of a 30+ year career as a p.r. and business writer/consultant that eventually included stints as a staff writer at HBO, the director of editorial services for the PBS flagship station Thirteen/WNET in New York, staff writer at a few entertainment p.r. firms (becoming vice president at one of them), running my own freelance writing business for 11 years, and teaching p.r. writing at NYU’s School of Continuing Education. I co-wrote a book on the promotion of independent film and worked on behalf of scores of A-list clients/projects in live entertainment, television, social service and civil society. I wrote hundreds of press kits and executive/ celebrity interviews, and thousands of individual press materials, as well as numerous op-eds, client proposals and campaign strategy plans. I was extensively published, often verbatim, but almost never with a byline; a well-established ghost. Then I got sick at the end of 2003 and went into hiding until I started Views From the Tower last summer.

A good friend recently said he thinks my blog is an incongruous combination of the genuinely profound and the outright crazy and I should separate them into two blogs – and, of course, I understand which subjects he feels fall into which category. This is precisely the sort of sensible counsel I myself gave to a number of difficult clients over the years. But having spent my writing life doing the bidding of others, I’m now taking great pleasure in doing my own thing and expressing the real me: an incongruous combination of the genuinely profound and the outright crazy. I’m at that liberating age where I don’t particularly care if people think I’m one or the other or both. And considering that life as a whole in 2008 is dangerously short on profound and absolutely drowning in crazy, I’m not sure it makes a whole lot of difference.

I’ve put virtually all the time I’ve spent on this blog into writing/designing it and almost none into promoting it which, given my background, is both revealing and stupid. I plan to get the word out this year. I don’t really know who my audience is, but I suspect I’m an acquired taste, like olives and sushi. No doubt the coming year will reveal who’s out there. Meanwhile, I thank those of you who have been visiting me in the Tower this past year and hope you’ll continue to stop by. And please leave comments more often, if you would; I’m eager to know your responses and to learn what’s on your mind in your tower. Anniversary greetings!

1 comment:

Erin said...

Mazal Tov! glad to see you are a "year old" and a new Barack Obama supporter! Weird but true, Hope your next year is gorgeous and prosperous.