How Precious Is Attention: A Writer Wednesday Post

November 21st, 2012 | Posted by Irene in Essays | News

To listen to this post please click: How Precious Is Attention 

I had already planned to offer thanks this week for you, my readers, and the gift of your attention. Today, an untoward experience gave me even deeper appreciation.

In anticipation of my forthcoming e-version of Glad To Be Human, well-meaning and helpful people have advised me to learn to use social media. No one’s writing can stand alone now, I’m told. Writers must create “platforms,” built tweet by tweet and blog by blog of comments logged, to lift our writing from the flat and populated ground, that we and our words may be more easily seen, discovered, and shared. Even if you have a publisher, as do I, writers are expected to become architects and marketers, or else cry in the wilderness.

So, to serve the words vouchsafed me, I have been dipping my toe into these public streams of consciousness ribboning through social cyberspace. Like our physical world, they flow with whimsy, creativity, outrage, persuasion, boredom, love, humor, and passion. Admittedly, from time to time, I do question the necessity of this daily bath.

This morning I opened my Twitter stream to find a sardonic headline that hit me in the solar plexus. I won’t share it–it’s not worth the electrons. Suffice it to say that it fulfilled its intention to shock. I felt alkaline in a world of acid. Peculiarly, it hurt my feelings.

Was it the end of the world? Of course not. (It was, however, the end of my following that hip, influential magazine.) And being offended is a risk we take when we move in society, virtual or otherwise.

But the intensity and physicality of my response gave me pause. People speak about the social fabric, but for me it’s flesh. It’s alive, and responds to being grabbed or caressed.

Attention is as precious as a body, and should be accorded the same respect. Like a body, we can usually choose where we place it, how we nourish it, whose energy it shares. Occasionally it gets caught in social weather.  Which makes the warming fireside of friendly regard all the more valued.

So I have decided to send my own counteracting tweet out today: Treat attention like a body tenderly. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tweets…

Cathy, Steve, Mark, Cecile: First Video Shoot
all text ⓒ Irene O’Garden 2012

This week I say goodbye to The Art Garden, a very beloved fireside. I continue to be grateful for your gentle attention, which I endeavor to repay in kind. Please have a joyful, attentive Thanksgiving.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

  • Mana

    We give thanks for you, Irene. You are a true treasure of the heart. Happy Thanksgiving to thee and thine from me and mine <3

  • Scott

    Thank you for reminding me to FEEL the communications in this social media world. I’m going to make sure that I am as tender in this powerful internet world as I can possibly be. It is fun to be dipping my toes, too, into the Irene O’Gardens streams of consciousness – analog, digital, or in the flesh. GIVING THANKS!

    • Smiling your way–


    Derest Irene.,

    I do give thanks on this day of remembrance for all the friends, family and other beings — human or not– that give me a sense of unconditional love… that mirror the serenity of the ” I AM” .Certainly,at the top of my list you are one of the beings I hold highest / am so very grateful to have in my life. Happy Thanksgiving!

    A word about your tweet experience: One of the most important movements in our society right now IMHO is the realization that bullying in our schools has led to real violence i.e. Columbine shootings etc.. There are social networks being used in an organized fashion to harm children through the use of facebook, tweeting, etc.. Fortunately, there are also new spiritual leaders pointing out that violence is not merely physical but also verbal/ emotional. Not only is the pen mightier than the sword it can be just as deadly as the physical blade, inspiring angst, anxiety, hate and, finally, for others to express rage in a homicidal way or hurt themselves… just look at the Lgbt youth community and their high rate of suicide. Further, the laws of the democracy we live in do not recognize the ‘ violence ” that those in power in the workplace/ priveleged sectors of society can sometimes send —their emotional violence is often unpunished and not always subject to the same”rules of acceptable behavior” in “normal” society nor are they punished in the same manner that an equal physical expression of violence would be punished. .

    So I am also giving thanks today for this new consiousness rising that seeks to point out the violence that is verbal/ emotional so that man’s inhumanity to man can begin to be addressed. Its a recognition of a new type of bondage that we can come to understand and eliminate… and a reminder to myself that when verbally assaulted ( As I experienced from a total stranger this summer) that violence only begets violence … and, for me, better to just walk away … but keeping aware that the offender does sometimes need to be confronted in a sane manner in the hopes of inspiring some change or recognition of their emotional assault.

    • Glad you are experiencing and creating peace these days, Mark–

1show current page