You ever get the idea that your life is trying to teach you something? Recently I've had a bunch of separate things happening to me that, taken all together, is making me rethink what I value about relationships. I won't bore you with all the details of the individual occurrences, but still, I think I'd like to write about it a little if you don't mind, so I can figure it out a bit.
The past couple of years Bunny and I have put a lot of effort into trying to make The Pinky Show more popular. Especially this last year, we've spent an enormous amount of time writing e-mails or talking on the telephone with people making working relationships that we think will help get the word out. We think our message is important so we want a ton of viewers. (I hope that doesn't sound too arrogant, I just mean that we have an important job to do and we take it very seriously.) Recently we went over 6 million PS episode views, so it does look like something is working, but one of the things that I've been thinking about more is this: Are we approaching relationship building the right way? What kind of relationships do we want?
I ask this now because I've noticed I've been feeling weirder about people as our project gains popularity. It's not that people are becoming weirder (I'm not crazy - I do realize it's not everybody around me that's changed...), I just think the problem is I'm spending way too much time communicating with people I don't actually know. As our project has gotten more popular, Bunny and I find ourselves spending more and more time doing 'relationship building' with people we'll probably never meet. I'm sure most of these individuals are perfectly nice and in real life they'd be wonderful to chat with over coffee. But to be realistic, for 99.9% of the people we communicate with, we'll probably never have a chance to meet them face to face.
I know having allies is really, really important. We have common political objectives and I realize we all need to work together to achieve specific goals. But I also think I haven't thought enough about 'working relationships' via the internet and how that's connected to how I'm put together emotionally. Bunny, Mimi, Kim, and I are actually very private and introverted. We're not un-friendly but I know we all tend to like relating to less people more deeply, instead of a ton of people just a little bit (or not at all). And the latter is exactly the direction that our lives have gone in the past couple of years! My gut feeling is I think that's some kind of problem.
The bottom line is I think it's really important for me to keep 1:1 relationships the center of my life. Considering the nature of our work, I'm not really sure how I'm going to do that, but I think it's definitely a good idea.
I'm going to try to make it a priority to strike a better balance in our relationship-building activities. We're not going to stop working to increase our audience, because that really is a basic requirement necessary for the success of our project. But I also think I need to fundamentally change my mindset about how I interact with others. I need to be more picky-choosy about who we spend our time working with. I think it's okay if Bunny and I approach our work as if we are making all this stuff for ourselves and each other, and oh, by the way, it just so happens we have a few million people watching. Something like that.
Every day we get a ton of e-mails from people and a good number of them want something: can you do "X" for me/my organization, I need an answer regarding "Y", make an episode on subject "Z", and so on. It only occurred to me this morning that we don't really have a way to ask these people something simple like: "Who are you?"