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chasing answers newsletter #70
The Creator's Quandary
“I don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower.” - Banksy
Is it possible to be a creator when you don’t want to be seen or heard?
That probably sounds crazy.
What I’m trying to say is, I don’t like to share.
I don’t enjoy telling people about what I am working on or what I am doing. And by default, I think less of people who do.
There, I said it.
That sentiment sums up a major struggle of mine since I began writing a year and a half ago. I have hesitated to say it out loud because it goes against the “build-in-public,” "your story matters," or “write for the person two steps behind you” mentality that is so prevalent in the writing groups I have been a part of.
My biggest issue with writing, distribution, and being an active member of platforms like Twitter (X) comes down to that fact. It’s not that I’m afraid to publish my thoughts or worry about what others will think.
I’m worried about what I will think. Of myself.
I think less of people who make their private lives public. Even those who share tactfully have always had a special place at the bottom of my "people I hope to hang out with" list.
And yet, for the last year and a half, I’ve used my writing to do just that: share parts of my life (in fact, by telling you my feelings on this topic, I am doing it right now.)
And it makes me like myself less.
Not only do I have a natural disdain for those who overshare, I have an equal level of admiration for those who do the opposite. Those individuals who could fill a New York Times best-seller list, but you would never expect it.
During a summer in college, I met one of these people. He was married to a lady I worked with at my summer job.
One day, at a company gathering, I found myself sitting next to him, sharing a bottle of Jack Daniels. He looked like a cowboy, and as our conversation progressed, I discovered my initial impression wasn't far off.
He was into horses. Not million-dollar thoroughbreds for breeding or racing. Just regular old horses that he traveled the country and even parts of the world with so he could horseback ride and camp in places many of us will never see.
He didn't exactly volunteer most of this information. My nagging questions (along with the help of Jack) pulled most of it out of him.
At one point, I made a statement along the lines of, "You must have some incredible pictures of all of these places."
His answer was quick and succinct but has stuck in my head for over two decades.
"Nah, man, pictures wouldn't do it justice."
"So, you don't have any pictures?" I asked.
"I don't own a camera," he replied.
I had one other conversation with that gentleman in my life, for a total of two. And I can tell you, I've thought about him way more often than anyone I've ever seen on social media.
There is something incredibly noble to me about doing something for the sake of doing it, without the need to share it with the world or, for that matter, anyone else at all.
For most of my life, I like to think that's how I lived. No social media. No sending my thoughts to complete strangers through email. And no feelings of having to capture something worth sharing.
Since beginning this newsletter, there have been times when I have caught myself, in moments that should have been personal, thinking, "This will be great to write about," or "I need to get a pic of this to use at some point in the future."
And I don't like it.
All of our lives are becoming marketing material. Another cog in the social media machine that is underlying our economy.
I don't know if I'm built for that. I want my life to be enjoyable, meaningful, and memorable. For me and those closest to me.
I don't want it to be marketable, shared with the world willy-nilly, and valued based on views and likes.
And most importantly, I just want to like myself.
Photo(s) of the Week
Invisibility IS a superpower.
I hope you all have a great week!
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