insisted that my cousin, a tiny fair-skinned naturally blond child with blue eyes
looked like Shirley Temple.
She insisted my cousin was talented and special in all things requiring God given gifts like singing and dancing and being charming.
I was not tiny or fair-skinned or blond.
I did not have blue eyes.
I was told my hair looked like a rat’s nest because it was dark and long and usually messy and that my skin was ‘muddy’ and that I had a ‘grating voice’.
But my Dad’s mother did offer me a bit of constructive advice.
She advised me to develop some kind of talent and to work on my personality because I concluded by the unkind smirk on her face, that was my only hope at not being a total piece of human wreckage.
I can’t tell you how successful I was, but I’m an okay writer and I’m great with dogs and I’m not afraid to take a punch and my best talent is that I can roll my eyes up into my head and I have no feeling in part of my face so I can stick pins in there and not feel a thing.
Combined with the eye rolling thing, it’s pretty spectacular.
As to my talented Shirley Temple look a like cousin, I have no idea how far her natural God-given talents took her.
She made it clear she wanted nothing to do with my Grandmother or the rest of her immediate family after her Mother died. Trust me she had her reasons and I don’t begrudge her that. She moved away in her twenties and never looked back.
I, on the other hand was there just before Grandmother died.
Me and my rat’s nest hair and ‘muddy yellow skin’.
I wonder if she was disappointed that my face being one of the last she saw and not one that belonged on a Christmas card.
It’s not one of the questions that I wonder about and it certainly doesn’t torture me because
Does posting quips on a comment thread or a few lines about an article that someone else wrote on Facebook make you a writer or a journalist?
I know that when writers and poets or musicians dedicate themselves to their craft they name themselves a Writer, Musician, Artist, Poet.
But a certain amount of passion and dedication brings them to that point. If you do it on Facebook all you have to do is whip your phone out and you are now in the same league as-( fill in the blank) .
I’ve noticed something else interesting and a bit disturbing on Facebook.
People aren’t just having conversations- they correct each other’s grammar, they fact check each other, they leave letters ( or comments maybe a better term ) of complaint to each other for saying the wrong thing- or saying someone is missing the point or for being on the wrong side of their issue. It’s not much different then how they react to news stories from the media outlet of their choice.
I like my friends- the real ones are pretty unique and interesting and the Facebook ones are amusing but I don’t look to them to tell me which way the wind is blowing and I also don’t use those newsfeeds as a way to gain some insight into what they’re thinking.
As a writer- granted I write fiction for the most part- if you want to get an idea about how my head works then my writing is the way to catch a glimpse of that process.
That picture I posted of the cat and dog praying over a piece of pizza they’re going to steal, well all you’ll learn from that is I like cats and dogs. But the WHY won’t be there. I won’t be there because not only did I not take the picture, I didn’t put the funny line to it.
I’m wondering as you can see, does Facebook truly inspire creativity or healthy conversations? We can share an idea or a picture and then the trolls come along and who is talking to each other anymore? Nobody because the trolls or someone who just feels like setting the world straight will make it all about them.
It happens ever single time.
Does Facebook really have the power make us who we want to be in real life -witty commentators, journalists or writers. Do we really believe that we ‘have the floor’ ( at last ) and that platform provided on a site designed as a marketing tool is on the only one that matters.
To me, the biggest question of all is, if you don’t participate on Facebook do you cease to be relevant, will you disappear, will what you say matter, will anyone know YOU ARE THERE?