Saturday evening I was feeling down from a recent disappointment in my life; thus being me, I wrote poetry to work out my feelings. I plugged my headphones into my phone, started up the Pandora app on my phone, and the first song to play was B. J. Thomas’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.” Given that I had just had a relationship disappointment, I found this song uncannily fitting to my feelings. Because of this, I decided I wanted to record that this song played, and thus I took a screenshot of it.
It is the next step that I wasn’t sure about doing or not: I shared it on Instagram. It wasn’t the sharing of a private feeling with others that I was uncertain about. Rather it was whether it was appropriate for my intended use of social media for promoting my art website, The Liquid Roses. Up to now I have refrained from using my social media accounts for The Liquid Roses for matters not directly related to my art.
So should I have posted a personal thought to my Instagram story? I think that before I can attempt to answer that question, I must explore what the purpose of my art is. I think at the heart of my work is feelings. My poetry, I am coming to see, is usually where I express the darkness in my soul and the pain I rarely talk about in person. On the other hand, my photography seems to express more how I see, what catches my eye, and how I connect emotionally to my world. Each of these art forms are quite personal and the creation of their pieces is often experienced alone, much the same way my personal experience with the song was.
My reasoning for posting the captioned screenshot was I wanted to share how I was feeling and the song that had played, but not having a personal, non-art-related Instagram account, I posted to @theliquidroses under the justification that I was writing poetry, what I feel is what I write, and what I write is what I call my art and share online. So am I the art? Is it who I am, what I feel, what I think, what I want to say that is my art? In some ways, yes. My art, especially my poetry, is the expression and revelation of who I am and what I feel and think.
Yet in contrast to this, I also care about politics and social issues. However, at this time I do not want to use my art website and social media to comment on the state of politics and society directly, at least not in prose. Should I instead have a personal Instagram to express the things I do not feel meet what I define as my art? Probably. However, does any of this answer the question as to whether I should have posted about what I was feeling on my art website’s social media? In the full context of what I did, I posted three images to the story section of my Instagram: one about feeling sad, one about other music I was listening to along with Christmas music, and finally a snapshot of the draft for a poem that I finished that night before going to bed. I could argue that these together were not only a personal expression but also a more personal view into the world where I make my art.
Perhaps I will know the answer to these questions when I when I know something else: whether I will finally post to my website some of the most personal poems I have written about my feelings and personal experiences, such as “As I Am” and “Eighteen.” Perhaps the question is not so much whether I am the art, but whether I want the art that I publish to be so intimate and vulnerable. Do I want to, as the Anna Nalick song “Breathe” says, “…[F]eel like I’m naked in front of the crowd/’Cause these words are my diary screaming out loud”? Truly, I don’t know the answer yet.