Friday, February 08, 2008

Glad I Could Help

Master of DistractionWhen first I launched this flimsy site, it was nearly upended by a tidal wave of praise. Cohorts, strangers and an ocean of new cyber-friends clicked on my drivel, leaving a rippling pool of congratulations. Already drenched in cynicism and leery of success, I shrugged off my newfound status to all inquirers. But deep down inside my crusty photog heart, I was borderline euphoric - for if nothing else, the clamor over my dispatches proved something I kind of always knew: I can write. Not in a Heming-way, mind you but certainly a notch or two above that of your average cat-blogger. As epiphanies go, it was well-timed. I was wrestling with the idea of leaving the business altogether when I stumbled into punditry. Soon I was spending every evening hour hunched in my upper lair, where I pounded out years of professional frustration into an endless series of bad snapshots and observational smarm.

Trouble was, I bought into the hype. Equating the raves of a half dozen readers with that of professional reviewers, I began to believe I might have a higher calling than chasing county commissioners and crackheads for a daily wage. So I redoubled my efforts, a nightly move which sometimes caused my wife to question what I was really doing on the computer after she went to bed. It wasn’t Donkey Kong. Instead I wrote endless posts, sold a couple of magazine articles and even attracted the attention of a benefactor or two. Then things got sticky. I found that as much as I love to babble on-line, the arduous task of re-writing was something I had little time for. Between the job, wife, kids, house and blog, assembling some grand masterwork feels beyond my reach. I haven’t given up on that dream yet, but I’ve pulled back a bit, lest it make me crazy. I may still lay down the lens one day, but for now I’m semi-content with being a TV news photog and a pretty good blogger.

Still, my literary aspirations weren’t all for naught, as evidenced by this e-mail I received yesterday...
Lenslinger, I recently found your blog. Great job. You missed your calling in life I think. Your efforts made me pick up the pen again…well actually a keyboard and write a few op/ed pieces. I submitted them to my local paper and they offered me a real job as a reporter and columnist! This after 15 years of tv news video. Thanks for the career "do over" button! TV news has become a cesspool with corporate ownership and I’m getting out while I can, although I will miss those fragrant news units with the sticky floor mats and soft drinks splashed all over the dashboards. Keep up the writing, I will keep tuning in to see what’s happening behind the lens.
I’ll be in my room if you need me.


Long time fan in Miami said...

I think you are making a mistake.

Judging what you do by old standards. Not that the old standards don't matter. However...there is room for this "new" standard you are involved in.

Your efforts are not going unrecognized. You already know this. It's paid off for you several ways. Not the least of which is pushing you to develope your already quality writing skills.

There is no timeline for success.

Your blog has an impact far beyond what you may realize. Much like Kevin Johnson in the early days of B-Roll Online. He, like you, ventured into virgin territories. He, like you, has established something special.

It's reaching the target audience you wanted...and then some!

Your frustrations and, dare I say insecurities, are normal.

What counts is that you don't stop.

That's the only way you will "lose".

You're not a loser, nor a quiter.

Continue to use your blog as an outlet for your thoughts and creativity. You have a very balanced sense of self which your continued writing efforts strengthen.

In the old days, a tv news photographer had only one outlet to impact on his profession. The NPPA. No longer.

You, Kevin Johnson, and a few others have proven there are other voices. Other opinions of value.

You are someone I admire. Both for your way with words as well as your way with people in general.

Keep up the good work.

Daniel said...

Um, I think the technical term for this is: "cool." But it might be "Fuckin-A."

Anonymous said...

Lenslinger fans unite. Me thinks Stew needs a hug from all of his fans around the country and world.

I'm from Memphis, read you every chance I get, I just don't hit comment but once in a blue moon.

Fans, friends, let's share some love, let him know where you are from and how far his inter stellar blog reaches.

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Go Stewart!
Get Busy!

It's your birthday!


Anonymous said...

all hail the lenslinger!

he reminds us that we are not alone
giving a voice to the voiceless

making observations i have not given notice to in years.

thank you

do what you want
don't write
we will read when you do ....

punky cameraman

susan said...

What Daniel said.

Duff said...

Lenslinger, when I first started reading your blog, I was some punk kid that liked sniffing pens. Today I run a multinational corporation and have three smokin wives. Thanks, Lenslinger!!

Also thanks for keeping me entertained between stories at work.

You can evolve or you can keep doing the same thing forever, but don't quit. My desparation for killing time during business hours needs you!

Corey Welch said...

I dont think lenslinger was refering to quitting the blog, I think it was more towards writing a book or "some grand masterwork" as he said. Either way, the blog does bring new insight to what it means to be a photog... keep it up!

newshutr said...

That former tv video person turned reporter is probably going to turn VJ soon for the paper.

Life is cyclical.