Ode to Instagram

I stayed away from the thing for a long time. To me, it was just another waste of entire days, something that got in the way of reading poetry or having coffee with a real human being across the table.

And, it is, or it can be. But, that’s a question of self-discipline.

I stayed away from it, ignored it, thought of it as something only for people under sixteen, until I saw a few of my friends on there. And it was as I had suspected: their photos looked slap-dashed, showing up every two weeks in an exhausting attempt to join the new medium. They’re all in their fifties, so, I get it.

Finally I got an account. I tried to do Instagram on my laptop. It took six months to figure out, you can’t do that. Finally I found it on my phone, and, like my middle-aged colleagues, started slap-dashing. A picture of Michelle and me, smiling at the camera. My kids on a hike. My cat.

Then I learned that, whoa–you can make movies on Instagram. Most of them out there are crappy, casual shots of a man doing a handstand or a flock of eighteen year olds jumping up and down, their breasts flying all over the place, with the guy filming yelling “Higher! Jump higher!”

But there are those few out there who stop to think about camera angles, lighting, where people are standing or sitting. Those inspired me.

I once made a movie. It was a departure from novel writing in one way: I moved from my 1941 Royal typewriter to a camera, microphone and editing program. Every other way, it was the same: I was searching for a story, a narrative, and telling it, instead of on paper, through celluloid.

I’m not writing a book right now, and don’t want to; I just finished a manuscript, one that wore me to the bone. It’s with my agent now, so I’m waiting for her critique (the heartbeat suddenly leaps into fifth gear).

But, I still want to create. I want to tell stories. Instagram is a great tool for this–short stories, fifty-eight seconds long.

Here’s something I’ll post in a couple of weeks. The format is for Instagram (which is why it’s tiny).


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