<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d12585839\x26blogName\x3dthe+old+SHLOG+(moved+to+shaungroves.c...\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://readshlog.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://readshlog.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-6606949357892583233', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

4/12/2006

MORE THAN WORDS

"I was censored," I laughed when a friend asked me last night, "What happened?"

This friend happened to be reading SHLOG.COM in the hour and ten minutes that a lengthy post about Gospel Music Week in Nashville was up for viewing. An hour and ten minutes after it went live Rocketown's publicist, also a friend of mine whose opinion I sometimes ask for and respect, said it came across as "whiny", "arrogant" and "hypocritical".

Ouch.

I pulled it immediately, knowing that I wasn't writing from a whiny place, was not feeling particularly arrogant, and believing wholeheartedly that I was not a hypocrite. I've been all those things, rarely all at once, but I wasn't when I wrote the post in question.

I pulled it. And I got asked why.

I trust my publicist. She's never steered me wrong before. And even though SHLOG.COM was paid for by me and is maintained by me and not my label or friends, their opinions matter. So I pulled the post and it's been saved as a draft ever since, waiting revision or deletion.

I value her criticism in part just because she gave it. Most people kiss my butt, not by telling me I'm great but by not telling when I'm not. There's a real shortage of people in a soft rock star's life who'll shoot straight with him. She does. And she shoots hard. Hard enough to convince me others would have had similar thoughts on the post even if they'd never tell me.

So the post is gone. And it should be.

The problem is that in that post's hour and ten minute little life span it was read by Third Day's touring posse, discussed on their bus, batted about friends' and fans' offices, printed out in a publishing company cubicle, passed around homes and dorm rooms and linked to twelve times. Twelve times! That has got to be record. And of those I've talked with who did the linking, batting and reading none of them had negative things to say about it or me. They got it, or said they did, laughed hard and got the bigger point I intended to make. No mention of whininess, arrogance or hypocrisy.

How can this be? How can it be that so many people saw this one post so differently - one group finding "inspiration" and something to "laugh my #$$ off" about and others (for surely my publicist would not have been alone) wishing it had never been written.

Perspective.

I'm realizing more and more, the older and grayer I get, that truth is a squirrelly wriggly thing. Perception really is reality on many matters. And what affects perception more than perspective - where you're sitting, where you sat? It can alter the colors on a canvas, the shape of the human form painted upon it. It can make objects seem larger than they are and turn sentences prickly that were penned with humor or stoicism.

Perspective.

And this is what I loathe about blogs, about e-mails and books. Perspective is king, bias rules, when words stand alone without the extra definitions faces and bodies and tone bring them in real human conversation. Printed words stripped of eyebrows and flailing hands, or slumped shoulders and puffed out chests, of red face or tear streaked cheeks - they're too shape-shifting, too malleable, too left to the interpretation of the reader. And they can therefore easily offend or provoke when they want to merely describe. They can bore when they were born to shout scandal.

Wordsmiths of course - authors, poets, some song-writers and, yes, publicists - assume sometimes that everyone uses words as well as they do. They assume - I assume, and maybe we all do at times - that the meaning we hauled away from a paragraph was precisely what it's writer intended. That would be nice: everyone able to communicate to all people exactly what they intend at all times. Truth is though that very few of us these days, in a world swirling with shorthanded e-mails and Instant Messages coming and going like trains to and from Grand Central Station really craft anything written any more. We settle for short I-know-what-I-meant-to-say-and-so-will-they communication.

And few of us truly read anymore either. Not skimming. Not skating across a paragraph that's too long to bother with. READING. Savoring every word. Putting ourselves in the author's shoes. Thinking critically. Feeling what the writer felt. Reading again.

And again.

I don't take the time to read thoroughly or write clearly often enough.

And that's dangerous. I'm finding out. It's dangerous because of perspective. Our dictionaries differ, influenced by our past and present living. Our affections, our hates, our geography and upbringing, our faith, race, economics and education all color our interpretation of every word we read, with nothing else but the words themselves up for interpretation. No tone. No place and time. No expression. Just words easily recast by every reader into a new meaning.

And it's only getting worse. Read any good blogs lately? Really? When's the last time you saved an e-mail because it was such a masterpiece? No. We're lazy. Or maybe not lazy - maybe we're just in a hurry. We're thinking fast, writing fast, and deciding fast what someone else who thinks fast and writes fast meant when they wrote what they did.

We need to slow down. I need to slow down. As "community" moves on-line, coffee houses are replaced by chat rooms, churches are replaced by video streams and message boards, I'm afraid we'll miss something - miss each other - in translation.

Can anything ever really replace me looking into your eyes, watching your lips and your hands, speaking words brimming with inflection caught by your amazingly sensitive ears? Can anything?

Until something does, I'm being more careful. And I'm listening to friends when they say I "came across" as something I'm not. And I'm slowing down.

I'm thinking.

Writing.

Reading.

Revising.

Reading and revising some more.

And more and more I'm deciding to turn the computer off and just talk to people the old fashioned way. With more than words.

25 Comments:

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I want to make very clear - ironically - that no one called my arrogant, whiny or hypocritical. It was said that the POST came across as those things. Don't want anyone upset at my publicist/friend for doing her job as both. It came across in a way she knew I didn't mean it to.

Wasn't sure that was clear. Still not.

Oh well. Point made again.

4/12/2006  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,

I think you're right. As technology advances and my life gets "busier," I seem to be lazier about genuine communication with others and too hurried to listen as carefully as I should a lot of the time. I hope I would be friend enough to criticize you when necessary and have you accept it for what it is, and you'd better to the same for me. I need you and others to hold me accountable because I sure do screw up a lot.

Perspective is such a powerful determinate in all of our lives and something that's not easily overcome or changed. My son's English teacher is thoroughly convinced that he will never succeed in life because he's struggling to write a term paper (he's in the 10th grade and special ed.). During our recent parent/teacher conference, I smiled and said I'd support him any way I could. My first thought was however "are you crazy? He's 16 years old, a good, safe driver, doesn't drink, smoke, swear (on rare occassions he does), have sex or hang out with anyone who's going to get him in trouble. He's a passionate Christian, active in church, an faithful volunteer, Scout and guitarist for kids' worship. He's ALREADY succeeded and didn't have to write a term paper to do it!!" His special ed teacher agreed with me. It's all about perspective and priorities too.

We'll see you in a couple of weeks. No term papers, but we can show you some fancy taekwondo moves.

Beth

4/12/2006  
Anonymous Stephen said...

For the record, your post did not come across as "whiny", "arrogant" and "hypocritical" to me.

In fact, I thought the opposite. There were several places in your post that my first instinct would have been to criticize more, but instead you cautioned against throwing out words without thinking. When you mentioned that your blog and comments were talked about in several interviews, it made me rethink a sarcastic comment I started to post. While sarcasm certainly has its place, it can also be overused just to make your point without consideration of others. And it is, of course, much easier to criticize a faceless person. So thank you for that reminder

I hope you will repost that entry, after you've had time to think about it and maybe change some things.

4/12/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

I wondered what happened to that post. I didn't get a chance to read it, only see that it was up, and when I came back it was gone.

I think what you are saying about words kind of strikes home right now. Because the funny thing is, a huge chunk of what we have left from Jesus ministry on earth to teach us is the Bible. (obviously, the Holy Spirit is the other) and how messed up that can be by perspective! I mean I can read one verse to mean one thing and someone else understands something totally different. And since I'm not fluent in the original languages, I trust those who have translated the Bible. and those who have written about it, to try to get to the heart of it. And of course, I trust the Holy Spirit. Lately, I've experience some frustration. How can I know anything for certain? There has to be a good number of people for any viewpoint I might wish to take. How do I know what Jesus meant? And I realize, in the end, it comes down to faith.
And I guess in written communication there is a huge element of that as well. It's certainly not without its downfalls. There are times when things are misunderstand, misread, misrepresented. But I guess when we put our written word out there, we trust that the one reading it will read it with the best possible heart toward us...with the aim to understand.
The computer has opened a great many doors. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to read your words and be challenged on a near daily basis. I have met some wonderful lifelong friends from message boards. I have learned to see things through another's eyes from online community/blogs, etc. It of course can't be the only way we communicate with other people, but I think it's a gift that occassionally has some downsides. My thoughts.

4/12/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

chicken.

4/13/2006  
Blogger Leon van Steensel said...

Hi Shaun,

would be interested to see what you wrote. I'm working on an article based on our GMA interview and if that gives some more perspective.. oh well, don't want to get your publicist in trouble. ;) (say hi when you get the chance btw).

Greetings from Holland,

Leon van Steensel
(now with more hair)

lvslog.blogspot.com

4/13/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Leon! Didn't know you had a blog. I'll be reading that...if it's in English. Like I said, we're busy and lazy - too lazy to translate I guess.

4/13/2006  
Blogger stephen said...

Shaun, your post made me ponder written communication throughout history. How did the churches in Corinth and Ephesus interpret Paul's letters? How did the German church interpret what Luther nailed to the door? How has America interpreted the Constitution of the United States?

One of the areas that I think that I lack in is written communications. It seems elementary to clarify comments as I write them. But lazy is as lazy does, and I figure that people will get the general gist of what I'm saying, without clarification. (and if anyone would like clarification here, let me know)

But I am a good speller.

4/13/2006  
Blogger bdg.theTRu said...

ugh. i can't believe i missed it. oh well, this falls right in line with what we talked about as far as finding the appropriate "writing voice"... Would've loved to read what you had to say, wouldn't mind it in my email if you are so inclined...

(promise i won't post it in the CMC news ;) )

peace... love... bdg...

4/13/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Hey, you know bdg, we should redo that interview of ours. We didn't talk about much except that press release you guys posted on me a while back. hat's not an interview! E-mail me if you ever want to set up something without a twenty minute limit. Who thinks I'M concise enough to play in such a narrow time constraint??? Seriously.

SG

4/13/2006  
Anonymous Brad said...

Shaun-

I did read the entry and wondered where it went to hide. I hope it can come out to play soon...

You have handled this with such humility. I appreciate your heart in this! I'm not sure I would be able to do the same thing...

I share a similar frustration with written material, particularly blogs. There is alot of 'stream of consciousness' writing [I like to call it 'Morrisetting'] that leaves me wanting. Where is the creativity?

But I will say, I occasionaly come across those solid blogs or genius entries that gives me hope. And yours is one of them. I've just re-entered the blog realm myself and am hoping to keep the wordsmith crusade going.

There's never nothing left to write! Or is it, let's right the writing? Or let's write what's right, not what's left?

4/13/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

there's a lotta drama going on here...holy honking cow...

Good luck with whatever it is you're trying to do.

~*Amb

4/13/2006  
Anonymous Dan da Man said...

I have to admit, when I saw the title of the Gospel Music post I was really excited to read it. Unfortunately, it wasn't there anymore.

I'll have to see if somebody copied it somewhere. Then again, I don't want to get in trouble with your publicist either, I just met her last week while interviewing Hyper Static Union.

4/13/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

Well i can see that cheap taunting isn't going to get you to re-post so i'll do a little affirming instead.

What you said here:

"Until something does, I'm being more careful. And I'm listening to friends when they say I "came across" as something I'm not. And I'm slowing down."

is a hard lesson to learn for someone who is by nature pretty fiery and has alot to say, but it is great Wisdom and sets a good example.

I used to have these posted on my mirror in my bachelor days: "All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked. To discern all of them are right so they are faultless to those who have knowledge" and "the lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgement.- (in proverbs somewhere)

Good post, and hope to catch the other one sometime.

cheers

4/13/2006  
Blogger BethelTraumaRN said...

Hold, on, wait a second.
Didn't you just express your personal thoughts on that post? I mean, who cares...you should be able to voice your opinion no matter what.

If I'm off, someone yell at me.
Luv ya'll
Amb

4/13/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Consider yourself yelled at. We have no right to say whatever we want regardless of how it makes others feel or think as a result. There's something more important than me or you: everyone else.

SG

4/13/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Shaun and Others Who Are Also Important,

You're right on. Love. Trumps. Everything.

For fun, here's another factor in this: I LOVE batting around ideas, crazy ideas, wait-maybe-you're-onto-something ideas, ideas that put other ideas in a different light, whatever. Love it.

Not everyone loves it.

I remember a guy named Campolo (Bart) after a rocking, fascinating, is-this-guy-crazy seminar on media -- I totally disagreed with him, and LOVED the seminar -- telling a questioner: "You know, sometimes you just have say something way over HERE to get people to move HERE" -- and he gestured with his hand, moving it a few inches to the middle. Sometimes we have to be a bit far-out to pull people the right direction. (Of course, this can be done horribly, too.)

I argued with him the whole seminar, and we laughed and thanked each other afterward. That makes us both nerds, probably.

The more interesting you are, the more varied and difficult people's reactions will be.

People not only use words differently, but ideas, too. And I have to watch it, because I still enjoy having friends.

Best,
Brant

4/13/2006  
Blogger bdg.theTRu said...

interviews are overrated... i went into our time hoping to have a conversation and i think we did that... i'll be more than happy to have another conversation with you at just about any time, or even a more stuctured, formal, interview type thingamabob... i may ask you what king of circus animal you are though, or i may ask whether you want Acts or 1 Corinthians... you never know... once i clean off the bricks from GMA Week and can breathe a bit better, i'll certainly be in touch though...

peace... love... bdg...

4/13/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Brant, where've you been? Shlog has been half a blog without you.

hey, maybe you remember who said this...something like you don't learn until you're shocked or provoked? I read it somewhere recently? I think maybe Leonard Sweet said it. Anyone?

SG

4/13/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if that's Leonard Sweet, but I bet he'd sign on to it.

BTW, I've been here! Faithfully reading and enjoying, just not so often as I'd like to. It's an honor being missed, though.

One other thing I've learned about blogging, and comments: I shut off comments on my blog (actually, prompted by when you did it!) and have since been flooded with AMAZINGLY thoughtful emailed critiques of my ideas. Thoughtful, kind, stretching...and ZERO snarkiness.

I think the snarky comments (I've certainly left a few regrettable ones myself on shlog) are not real conversation; they're prompted by the idea that "everyone" is reading this, and an email really is more personal and accountable. I don't get any Political Party Talking Points anymore. There's a big downside, but that's the upside.

Best,
Brant

4/14/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Good thought, Brant. For now I have comments on but I delete those which go too far or in the wrong direction. Rare, but it happens. I'll post more on this later but I'm almost through a book on the Dean campaign by his manager Trippi. One of the ideas of the book is the power of open-source media like the internet. The conversation of SHLOG, to me anyway, is at least half of the draw for some people. it's the part I can't really control - so that's frightening at times - but it's the people's blog at that point. it becomes what they make it, whether I like it or not - and sometimes I don't.

As long as no one person dominates conversation - me included - we tend to create something here that attracts more people to the conversation like a campaign that empowers a candidate's supporters to recruit, fundraise, erect their own websites etc. The downside? Dean's message got lost by the minions acting on his behalf miscommunicating his ideals. If we ever miscommunicate Christ's ideals here to the extent that real damage is likely to be done to Christ's reputation or agenda - they'll be turned off.

I admire you bold move. It's one I've considered many times.

Honestly, blogs without comments get less traffic too - for many reasons and this blog (dirty little secret coming) is large part about attracting a crowd to promote not just ideas but my stuff in all forms: shows, music, books, action figures and bed sheets.

Ah, capitalism rears its ugly head once again.

4/14/2006  
Blogger Pat Callahan said...

Hey Shaun,

I have had to do the the same thing TWICE in the past month (dang!). Even though the blog is "mine," being the pastor at a church can mean "censoring" my blog to a degree.

The posts I pulled were harmless enough (by my standards) but may have been a bit to edgy since I am linked to from the church's website.

Just a note to say I've been there and I feel for you, baby!

-Pat

4/15/2006  
Anonymous c long said...

Nooo!! please don't turn off yur computer. This blog spurs us on to deeper thinking. So, you'll learn to slow down a bit in spilling out all that's in your head and you'll learn to go back and edit your thoughts. Hopefully we will too along the way. Our words hold so much power and we'd do well to respect that. One of the things I love about writing is that it's easier to edit than my lose wagging tongue. Carry On!

4/16/2006  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Aw man, I've been replaced as the chief Shaun slapper around here. LOL That's ok. That publicist in question is one tough chick and I respect her a lot. :)

nt

4/17/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

You're not replaced, Nancy; just not alone.

4/19/2006  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home