A girl can dream can’t she? My current dream has little to do with fashion, culture, politics, money, art, romance and world peace, which are usually my "go to" topics. My dream is to edit out all forms of riff-raff. As social media players we are routinely publishing our thoughts, actions and all aspects of living online, making us expert story tellers and narrators. For many reasons we leave out details that seem inconvenient, distracting, or long winded. Making a long story short take intellectual cunning but saying it with 140 characters or less is a modern challenge. I wonder what American Icon and Author Mark Twain would have thought about Twitter since he once mused “he would have written it shorter if he had more time.” Time is what we always run out of or so it seems. It is possible that time is spiraling even faster as I age. There is some science behind that idea. It gives me no comfort but at least I can appreciate that there are bigger powers at play.
Today my elder painter friend remarked, “people are good at pretending and pretenders always make artists appear more authentic”. Hmmmm…. I will mull that comment around for a bit because being authentic is a core part of my dream. There are stories where rock legend Jimi Hendrix espoused humility because “even a compliment is a distraction”. Or when Patty Smith wrote in her award winning book “Just Kids” about her life with fellow artist Robert Mapplethorpe; as their successes were mounting, managing people who manipulated them through compliments was hard to do because it was too easy to believe it yourself. She seemed to weather it better than Mapplethorpe but then again we are talking about a music genius who heard Jim Morrison perform the song "Gloria" with The Doors and said to herself, “I could do that.” She seemed to have better self-perception plus of course, proved to have the artistic grit.
There are no more quiet epiphanies with the proliferation of cameras, who needs NSA monitoring every electronic transaction when there are so many media outlets for public display? We are becoming modern everyday broadcasters, manipulators of personal narratives, manufacturing idealized versions of ourselves, electronically staging our “good times” by ignoring our unvarnished selves. This is all understandable since humans aspire to be more than we actually are. Not one to be depressive but the slope is slippery. In our over-exposed time-stamped world it appears that the power of self expression is also an economic development concept. We are always trying to sell ourselves. As much as we blur the line between our original thoughts and scripted social media updates, it would be good to ask ourselves about our own authenticity. I am afraid that this blurring is unfortunately not pretty and that is too bad because there are so many ways of documenting it.