What Should I Do?
I need your help. I want your help. I've always tried extremely hard to interact with everyone who has shown any interest in Levi The Poet, whether that means listening to poetry videos that come in, reading through prose posted to Facebook, sympathizing with the pains of fans who have lost loved ones in ways that are similar to mine, or praying through addiction with others… All that to say, I love you guys, and I care about what you think. So I'm asking for your feedback.
Should I separate "Levi Macallister" from "Levi The Poet"?
Bear with me, because, especially for those of you that have followed LTP for a long time, this seems like a silly question. After all, Levi The Poet has only ever been an autobiography of my life. So what I'm not asking is, should I try harder to be someone I'm not? The issue is not the heart of the project, but the content released in association with it, especially regarding blogs, and social media.
For example, should I keep posting random thoughts on my Levi The Poet Twitter, or should I start reserving that feed to news, and content specific to the project? (After all, how many people care whether or not my cat helped me make lunch? Maybe you are only interested in new poetry, and couldn't care less about my cat?) There are plenty of artists that I follow for the sole purpose of seeing their art, or hearing their music. There are plenty of artists that believe constant posting and personal insight takes away from the nuance and professionalism of their art. What do you think?
Another reason I'm asking this is because I'd like to blog more, and I'm planning on beginning to post guest blogs once a week here soon. I'm giving guest bloggers free reign to write about whatever they want. If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I write about whatever I want, but I often struggle with what things I want to associate with Levi The Poet as an art project - a separate entity from my person. For instance, I articulated this tension when I wrote a recent blog about my pastor, who has been under a lot of heat since… he was born.
To be clear, the issue here is not disassociation from potential conflict. Honestly, I've pretty much always done the opposite of stirring up any controversy, and I could probably have a lot of fun if I'd treat this all more like an op-ed and just let my thoughts be what they are without constantly playing devil's advocate for both sides of my opinion.
The issue is more: going forward, how do I want to present Levi The Poet to others? I still have a desire for the gospel to go forward, I still want to be on mission in all that I do, I still want to be "realistic, repentant and redemptive". But I also think that I am in transitional stage with some of the art that I am going to be releasing in the near future that might provide more opportunities for what I've heard Timothy Keller describe as a more subversive gospel presentation that allows for expanding demographics outside of the Christian community that already rallies around what I have to say.
The tension comes from the fact that the person who I am is the person who informs the art.
If I change anything, it's not like my blogging plans will stop, I'll just do them elsewhere. It's not like my desire to model transparency has changed, I'm just trying to be a good steward of a position that I'm in by thinking through it. But, through the lens of a young man trying to expand and grow a business (you guys get that this is a passion… but it's a job… right?) and a Christian trying to be on mission reaching as many people as possible, do I want to risk inviting someone intrigued by a connection that they have with the art to a website whose blog might be so overtly filled with personal content that they feel immediately ostracized?
I had this conversation with my friends Andy Othling and Alex Sugg over a beer the other day, and haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Andy has done a good job of separating Lowercase Noises from his tech-talk blogging and sees the value in separation, because he understands that not everybody who listens to Lowercase Noises cares about what pedals he uses, or how they work. Alex feels more like I should keep everything connected, because those of you that have followed Levi The Poet actually care enough to get to the end of a blog post that is this long so that you can provide feedback. You've been through everything with me. Lows - porn addiction, depression, dad's suicide - and highs - tour laughs in your houses, my marriage, looking forward to a home.
So that's why I'm coming to you. Would you willing to take a minute or two to comment below and tell me your opinion? I am genuinely interested in what you have to say and hope that, whatever decision follows, you will be able to trust that I am making it within the context of a desire to grow and see others grow, and we will be able to stay connected for a long time to come. Thank you.