I confess I enjoy Instagram, the online gig for posting pics and videos, even live events. I see creative and playful, inspiring and innovative work displayed. I say “confess” as in avowing the obsessive pull of the scroll, the annoying culling aimed at removing me from myself, and knowing in the end this online business is not good for us. I see they’re letting the big Tease back into the fold, a financial call that makes sense from an advertising perspective, where the more is more but you can never get enough. I didn’t know he was ever on Instagram. I don’t recall seeing any personal pics from the Mar-a-Largo club. Maybe you have to be his Instagram close friend. The Instagram close friend feature is duplicitous by design.
One of the folks I follow on Instagram regularly posts vintage pics of veteran literary writers accompanied with insightful quotes. For example, this morning, at 4 am, I noticed a pic of a youthful Anton Chekhov with the quote: “I don’t understand you, you don’t understand me and we don’t understand ourselves.” Like William Carlos Williams, Chekhov was a doctor. I don’t know if either would have downloaded Instagram given the chance. I wonder if Williams would have posted a pic of “a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.” It’s almost certain though that the pic would not have had the same influence his poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow,” has had.
These days when I’m up at 4 unable to sleep but also unable to read or get up and get something productive going, I find myself often as not reaching for the tablet and opening Instagram, but I hear in my mind’s ear the aching Leonard Cohen song, especially in winter (if it were summer and 4, I might get up and get a coffee and walk outside and watch the sun rise over the climbing rose):
It’s four in the morning, the end of December“Famous Blue Raincoat,” 1971, Leonard Cohen, from the album “Songs of Love and Hate”
I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better
New York is cold, but I like where I’m living
There’s music on Clinton Street all through the evening
But what happened this morning was, seeing and thinking about the Chekov, I grabbed my little notebook and jotted down a few reminders of what I was thinking that I might later this morning share with you here online.