The corner of tell and don’t tell

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy mother isn’t on Facebook. She never will be. She comes from a generation when people kept things “close to the vest.” Is it a Caribbean thing, or generational? The new world of social media and tweeting who you just saw on the subway, or uploading a picture of yourself complete with a red-flagged map of your location to your Facebook friends is like a foreign land fraught with pitfalls.

“They” will use it against you, she tells me. I ask her what they will use, and how they will use it. I don’t bother to ask who “they” are. I know. It’s everyone. She asks me if I haven’t had enough trouble already. I have. But I live in a world where people give me a thumbs up when I say I’ve gone to Magnolia Bakery because I’m having a horrible no good very bad day. I live in a world where a tweet can let me know that a revolution is happening half-way around the world. In real time. I live in a world where there is so much noise from everyone saying everything at once, that the real trouble is filtering it all out. I read more than I say. I do keep some things “close to the vest” but they are quite different from what my mother would filter out. She would tell you nothing. I would tell you that my body feels maimed by scars from cancer surgery that hurt like I was cut yesterday, that my writing career feels directionless and pitiful, that I often wonder how I made it to be this age knowing so little.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you these things. But I don’t know if I can help myself. I’m a writer, after all. I’m all about the telling.

[Image kr062008_09.jpg from morguefile]


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