Yesterday I gave a lecture up in Midland, about an hour and a half drive from home. I was a bit nervous about the day because I'd been asked to recreate a lecture that I had thought was a 'one time only' one that I had written and delivered at a major conference. Luckily I had my notes and even more fortunately they were still legible. Sometimes I write notes in a code that makes sense to me only for the time it takes to deliver the lecture - then, even a day later, I'm completely lost as to what I meant by "OH YA!!".
When we got to the lecture hall it filled slowly with arriving attendees and I was able to relax a bit, they are just human after all. I have never really grown comfortable with the role of lecturer. I still have fear of presenting in front of others. I require a strict routine and even stricter mental control. Then there are the rituals that I put into place to make myself feel comfortable with the job that needs to be done. Poor Joe has to deal with these but at least he understands them and seldom complains.
The thing about the lecture yesterday which was a little different was that several people came up to me, several being more than 10, to say that they had never heard me lecture before even though they'd ... heard of me, read my books, read my blogs, studied me in college. They all said how 'honoured' they were to be there, to hear me and to meet me.
All this is nice, very nice, indeed. But it's a tad odd to me. I guess because I live with me, know me from the inside out, I don't get the slight bit of 'awe' or 'reverence' with which people approach me. I'm 'just Dave' after all. If you listen to my stories, I fail as often as I succeed, make a fool out of myself as often as not, learn from moments of bright insight brought one by personal dimness. So while I think it's wonderful that people have the capacity and courage to approach someone to say something really nice - I'm surprised when that person is me.
The only thing that worries me about this is that I think sometimes my words are given too much merit, too much weight. I'm very careful at work when expressing an opinion during a discussion because, while it's just an opinion, it can easily become 'Dave Hingsburger says ...' and that's the end of it. I don't want to be a conversation stopper, I don't want to interrupt the flow of ideas, I just want to participate equally and be able to say dumb things and have them seen as such.
The same is true here on the blog. I don't think I got yesterday's blog quite right. I know, in my mind, exactly what I meant to say but I don't think I said it in a way that made my meaning clear. That's OK, it's a blog after all, but a few people seemed worried about disagreeing with me, explaining differing points of view. This distresses me a bit. I started this blog so that there would be conversation sometimes controversy and that there would be contradictory opinion. I think I've always been open to that - I really think so.
So please, here at my blog home, it's Just Dave. If you disagree, do heartily, you need not apologize for saying so. I appreciate that I've been around the block, I appreciate that I've spent a lifetime of focus on what I do - this doesn't mean I don't make mistakes, don't have the occasional brain fart, don't need someone to say 'I don't agree with you ...'
To those who spoke to me at the conference. Thank you. It's nice to know that my work means something. It's nice to know that there are people with the capacity to encourage and to say 'thanks'. Just remember, for myself or any speaker, we're all still growing, still fumbling to get it right, still needing critical feedback.
Oh my, after this, I'm going to be afraid to open my comments! Oh well ... onwards.