Whenever I speak with people about openness and sharing, I feel the need to preface my philosophy by saying, “Well not everyone will feel comfortable sharing as much as I do.” It is almost as if I am doing something wrong, and to be honest I am not sure if sharing my every thought on the Internet is the best idea. I too struggle with my own demons, and I am not so naive to think that I am impervious to a break down, much like this, at any time.
That’s the thing about all of this; we don’t really know where we are headed. Those who say they do, the experts, publish article after article presenting research to prove which ever side suits their argument best. Each of us needs to take inventory of our privacy and intimacy and weigh it against openness and community. Is what you consider to be private more or less valuable to you on the inside or on your sleeve? There is not right or wrong answer. All I know is that I have had some amazing experiences over the years by being open and having faith in the goodness of people and trusting in the power of creativity. I have written about the Heart of the Internet, Trust and Community,and Peaking Out From The Edges; I have spoken about Life as an Open Book; others have written about stalking me, or shared stories about my work at conferences. Even after all of this, the connections seem to be becoming more complex and sophisticated. After four years of living online, I am still surprised on an almost daily basis by the generosity of the human spirit and our need to be creative collectivity.
For every paranoid news story about the Internet that forces parents and teachers to cry privacy, I feel the need to populate the web with a story like this one- I recently discovered a great site called SoundCloud, which is a great portfolio for my music. I use the word portfolio, but my music is not anything that can be classified as professional, but it is mine and it makes me happy. Each song, like my photos, my films, my blog posts is an illustration of my journey. I am not concerned with value judgments like good or bad. Like I tell my students, learning is not about success or failure, it is about growth and change. Learning is at the heart of evolution. I suppose we could grow and learn and evolve in privacy and in isolation, but where is the fun in that. We could be scared or insecure to share any aspect of our creativity for fear of being judged, but I choose bravery instead.
Sorry. Back to the story, I have begun to upload my small catalog of recorded music. Why? Because experience has taught me that if you share yourself with honesty and passion and love, the universe will send back echoes and reflections that remind you that you are not a single lonely self, but a pixel in the larger picture of humanity. I don’t write too many original songs. I am not good at it, and I find it extremely difficult. I can take a decent photograph; I am getting better at turning a word or two, but when it comes to music- I am weighed down with doubt. I know what music does to my soul, and I know that my singing is awkward and insecure. I can hear the doubt and tension. I play with apprehension, which ironically is the opposite of what music should do.
Sorry. Back to the story, I upload music anyway. I guess in a way I want to set an example. If I ask my student to express themselves online, I cannot with a clear conscious not do the same. It takes a lot of guts to allow the world into your heart and by singing online, I am able to assuage my fear.
No words could express how amazing it feels when something that you put into the world so tenderly could sound like this:
This is a song I wrote and sang a few years ago. I posted my version on SoundCloud a few days ago:
and Leslie took it and made it her own. I am not sure what this means. I am not sure I know. I am not sure if I can articulate it. I am not sure you need it explained, but there is magic in what has happened here. There is beauty in these acts. There is love. There is community. This sharing and connection and creation brings me joy, and honestly that is all I have ever wanted. Please take these songs, the photos, the films, the text, the pieces of me and make them a part of you. We are echoes and refections posing as individuals.
Update: (This was written a few days after original post)
Of course this story didn’t end there. Once Keri Lee got wind of the project she added her own brand of loveliness.
Curious to see where it goes now. Take it and run….