I use Twitter and Facebook like everyone else. But lately I've started to wonder if the familiarity they breed might cheat us of something important: the power of the aura that comes with a certain mystique. Usually, I know, this aura is reserved for movie stars. But--at least till lately--the best writers (songwriters included) have grooved on the aura as well...and some have cultivated it. We sense that we don't know a thing except what we're allowed to know, especially when they play the game and dole out biographical crumbs.
Our readings and hearings of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, J.D. Salinger and Mark Helprin, are enrichened by our ignorance about their secret lives. (Helprin, in particular, has rewritten his without end.) We can understand this better if we think how hard it is for others who live with us or know us well to appreciate our work. If they even bother to read it. Spouses will love it because it is ours. Friends who know us all too well will shake their heads, knowing that it can't be any good (after all, weren't we a mess when we went through that last divorce?). And the large crowds we seek online?
They're more likely to come through, I think, if we look after our presence online and don't grow too cute or familiar. too desperate or too anything else. With so many shout-outs for their prized attention, it may behoove us to pull back...to be just a little bit cooler, a bit less everyday. Though we're all spared, for now, the temptation to do the talk show circuit or be torn apart in the tabloids, we're not spared the need to do well by our work.
Behave like a king to become one.
So I'll close without reminding y'all that today is laundry day.