I do not want to live to archive my own life.
I see it everywhere around me, especially with the popularity of web diaries, forums, and cell phones that take pictures. I do not want to fall into the subtle trap of truly believing I Blog Therefore I Am.
I see this happening at our shows, as an alien army of fans in the front row hold their phones up to my face as if probing me for signs of life in some twisted Outer Limits martian ritual. But I understand this feeling all too well. The picture that you will take home, connect to the interweb, mail to your friends and offer proof positive that you had an experience is almost worth more than the experience itself. And as I realize that more and more people out there read this diary, it haunts me in my life. Each good deed, struggle, mishap and geuinely weird experience I have gets simultaneously logged into an unhealthy mental card catalog of Good for Web Diary.
My friend who knows me best has the perspective and advantage of being older than I am, he saw me grow through my teens. We used to talk about a moment that never happened, but was a perfect metaphor for my self-consious narcissism.
It is summer. People are outside. I am lounging alone under a shady tree, in a beautiful sundress, reading a book. As people pass, I am more aware of this picturesque vision of myself than I am of the book I am reading. I am sixteen, and I know I am the Poster Girl of Youth and Beauty and Freedom, and that the middle-aged men passing by me in their polyester jogging suits take a long hard look as I focus on the page, pretending to be unaware that they are staring at me, the icon of girl.
This intrigues me. The pre-emptive strike is so easy, to denounce that “live to blog” urge as wasted life or narcissism or dysfunctional sociality. One should live in the moment, not as prelude to a scrapbook page, right? But Amanda at least entertains the notion that the feeling of “capturing” the moment could possibly be a greater feeling than living that moment. She also mentions the power of presenting one’s self as an image, and how that power can overwhelm the alleged “living in the moment” altogether. Life as souvenir and life as illustration.
What does that do to a person, going about one’s day with the mind’s eye set to snap the next cell-photo? Or constantly spinning a narrative to post on the blog later? Are you a person? A journalist? A story-teller? A performer? And is something wrong with that?
Sorry, just thinking out loud.
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