Living in TV Time

Some of you might be aware of the profile that aired on February 18 on the Channel 13 Evening News. It briefly featured The Serenity of Knowing and The Plain Bible Project. I found my part in the process intriguing indeed. I was fascinated by all the elaborate equipment, the people, and the microphone that was fastened so discretely to my clothes. When the dust settled, I was the absolute center of attention for an hour and a half. (No smirking please.)

The whole interview took place with a camera man filming me up close and personal at my writing desk at around 10:30 a.m. By early afternoon I had already been notified that the segment would appear at 5:05 p.m. that very same evening. (How precise, I thought, if not also quick.) It would be insincere to suggest that I was not intoxicated with heady excitement to see mine and Laura’s efforts represented on television for all to see. By the same token, there was something unsettling in the quickly flashing images.

I fully expect emptiness to prevail once the writing, and the stitching, and the binding are complete. And while there are other projects waiting in the wings for The Serenity of Knowing, The Plain Bible has been my daily companion for about six years – give or take. Thankfully there are still months to go before the final covers will be applied, and the end papers chosen and set; for it has been nothing short of a relationship, if not actually a love affair. The words have often been passionate and filled with inspiration and awe. Other times I’ve experienced tumultuous storms and rage directed at the violence that seemed so casually presented on those gossamer pages. Nevertheless, I will miss the tempests, and the gentle rains, and the sunshine, once the rainbow has faded. But perhaps it doesn’t really fade, for there are always my memories. I guess I’m counting on that.

So why be unsettled over two minutes of passing fame on television? Certainly I haven’t felt that way over the piles of newspaper coverage that we’ve received. Maybe it’s because with those I can mull, and pause, and ingest, at a pace that suits me. At the other end of the spectrum I’m barely able to keep up with the velocity of the information that just goes whizzing by at the speed of pixilated light.
Perhaps the fleeting TV images are too much like actual life.

I turn 63 this month and I hardly know how I got here. Yes, it’s been great, and complicated, and fulfilling; and I’m banking on at least another 25 years. However, it seems that only yesterday I was an 8-year-old molding Easter Eggs made of dirt and twigs with my sister in a backyard mud puddle. The only siblings left now are brothers. A longtime significant other poses forever young in memoriam on a shelf that he himself had painted. I have no doubt that we will all rise to the eternal occasion asleep amidst a cluster of other beautifully framed markers of time on other shelves.

At this end it is not my intention to sign off on a maudlin note. I think what I’m saying is that it all goes by so quickly – the two minutes of televised fame, this project, as well as the project of life. The Channel 13 piece might only have been a microscopic blip in the entirety of my personal saga, but it gave me a moment to enjoy a modest accomplishment, and to be able to see myself through a lens that was not of my own invention. Ha! How cool is that?

As published in the March 2013 issue of "St. Peter's Press," the monthly newsletter of St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, New York.