Thursday, January 31, 2013

Trying to remember this.
Source: Paul Arden

Friday, January 11, 2013

You Can’t Instagram Moving Grass

Scene: a pocket-sized park down a laneway in a trendy suburb of Melbourne. The sun is warming me out of my coat, and I have a picnic rug, a croissant, a latte, and pages of blank paper.

This is writing time. ME time. I contemplate my split ends for a minute, the traffic a bare hum in the distance. What amoeba-like thought shall I pluck from my brain and cultivate into a scribble?

Before I’ve even put pen to paper once, however, I’m reaching for my phone, wanting to Instagram the juxtaposition of my coffee cup against the very blankness of paper I’m trying to defeat. Or better yet, the dancing shadows the grass is making as the wind trifles through it.

What exactly am I trying to capture? The sweetness in the warmth of spring’s first sun? The tranquillity of being alone with my thoughts mid-morning on a work day? Instagram can’t capture these details, and surely I’m bastardising the tranquillity if I go and share it with a few hundred people.

I’m all for social media - I tweet, pin, book the face, ‘gram. Probably later this afternoon I’m going to Google what Kik is, because it’s apparently the ‘new thing’  (actually, I couldn’t wait. It looks like a new version of Whatsapp). Instagram encourages me to keep my eye out for the sunshine streaming through a window, a piece of graffiti under an eave, the secret shapes thrown by shadows and the edges of buildings, and this is why I love it.

But how often have you been out with friends and suddenly yelled, ‘Stop! Wait! Go back! You all looked so cute a second ago!’ Conversation is interrupted, empty glasses are held as though full, and everyone reassembles themselves into what were natural poses a heartbeat ago. Social media is amazing for capturing life and sharing it, but what happens when we become too preoccupied in making life look pretty rather then being in the moment?

Do you ever find yourself marring a moment, in your haste to reach for your social media tools? Interrupting the living of life to document it? I haven’t managed to jot down these meagre few paragraphs without checking Facebook (SERIOUSLY PEOPLE POST STUFF I’M SO BORED). Like I said, I love social media, but at times it leaves me frustrated with myself – this need to perform my life, to gain affirmation through likes, loves, shares, retweets. To be part of the conversations going on all around me instead of taking the time to talk to my own little thought amoebas.

I actually didn’t try to Instagram the grass. I turned my phone off and sketched out this little ditty instead.