Five things : influencer, Loretta & Liszt, Busan.
I am special.
I like to think there are few people in the world who are capable of effortlessly switching back and forth from listening to Loretta Lynn to Franz Liszt and then back again, and I am one of those people.
I think one of the most embarrassing spectacles of this point in history, outside the realm of obvious political stinker at the highest level, is the notion of influencers.
The idea that some people, on the basis of having carefully-staged hyper-saturated pictures of themselves against colorful walls or "snapshots" of holding a half-warm latte they post to a social network that has gained them billions of followers for some inexplicable reason - and likely a bit of algorithmic luck - that this somehow qualifies them as...tastemakers, trendsetters, and somehow on a higher level of recommending products and services of some company paying them to promote? I mean, good on them for making a livelihood out of it.
But let's not mistake 99% of these for being visionary, innovative, or creating something that will last. I get the immediate gratification and adrenaline that comes from immediate feedback from the masses. But it will not last. Because these are not built on content that means anything significant (most of the time).
The best thing that can be said about the accounts of many of these 'influencers' is that someday many will recycle - or try to recycle - what they're doing now into a "can you guys believe I used to do that?' narrative as they're trying desperately to grab hold of their old glory. And grab attention again from their once devoted 'followers.'
I loathe these phrases we've come to use. Followers and influencers. The 18th through 20th centuries had beautiful sounding social stratifications you could write poetry or epic novels about.
They were loaded phrases, but they meant something.
I resolved long ago to try and not dismiss the new and different merely because it's new and different and I don't get it. But let's not mistake innovation for something just plain ridiculous, homogenized, and derivative.
Wanna be an influencer? Here's two ideas:
First, make good content.
And create it without the express purpose of making it simply to post onto a network and immediately get visceral satisfaction that you've somehow made something worthy. No. You probably haven't. Make something that is quality, that is unique, and that you are making or capturing because you want to and are making it first for an audience of one. Yourself and the high standards you should set for yourself.
Second, be a good person in real life and give your attention to the present.
Don't turn everything and every moment into a shareable one. The most generous and wonderful way you can be an authentic influencer is first by being present and giving your attention to those you're with.
Here's an influencer. From 2014 and still influencing. That is an influencer. The kind I want to be around.
Why did I teach our children how to pick locks?
The bathroom used to be a temporary refuge, a place where I might be able to absorb ten pages of the lovely
A Gentleman in Moscow*, or some such treasure, for a few uninterrupted minutes.
Used to be.
*thank you for introducing me to this delightful read, my dear sister Meilani - and letting me borrow your copy for a great length of time.
Train to Busan.
The 2017 Korean zombie film Train to Busan isn't genre-busting or outright incredible. But the first half, or maybe two-thirds, is really great. Cramped, claustrophobic undead on a train trying to throat-rip the life out of every living being, while a small cadre of friends and enemies across social strata try to make their way, car by car, to safety.
A little humor, a little social commentary, some great action pieces and suspense setups, and a slightly different take on zombie kinetic movements and reactions (spoiler: they're functionless in the dark). Enjoyed.
Sophie’s world choice.
If I could choose for our children to be sick, or not sick, then I would prefer for them to not be sick.
And if they were sick, and I could choose for them to have lovely temperaments while sick, or not lovely temperaments while sick, then I would likely choose for them to have lovely temperaments.
Of course this is all theoretical.
I will carry around the image of our eight-year old curled up on our purple couch, thumbing through a hardcover of The Iliad with a hint of self-conscious smile and barely hidden delight and wonderment.