Why I (Sometimes) Love Social Media

On exhibit at Fotografiska NY in 2020:
Ellen von Unwerth’s photo of David Bowie and Kate Moss.

I can be a hero… just for one day.

Have you ever had a social media post go viral?

I experienced that on a small scale earlier today, with this Twitter post of a throwback photo of the epic Jersey City mural by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra:

Bowie’s artistry deserves universal praise, so tributes on what would have been his 75th birthday meant something to many.

What I particularly admire is how Bowie remained productive, provocative and relevant as he grew older. I only wish I could be as creative.

His song “Life on Mars” gives me chills. I parroted it (without reference to Hermione Farthingale’s hair) as part of a writing exercise this past April (read more here and here). New Jersey poet Alicia Cook had provided a prompt to write a poem with the line “life only exists where there’s water.”

I naturally thought of Mars. It was also days after the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Minnesota. So for my exercise, I wrote this “Eight Line Poem,” named after the song that immediately proceeds “Life on Mars” on Bowie’s “Hunky Dory” album:

Is there life on Mars?
Life only exists where there’s water,
in lakes hidden below the icy surface.

Here on earth,
it’s a God-awful small affair.
Life only exists where we let it:

Take a look at the lawman
beating up the wrong guy.

As I grow older, I’ve grown to appreciate the limits of my creativity… and relevancy. But every once in a while, I write something or post an image that means something to someone else.

I love the magic of that.

Social media — as dangerous as it’s proven to be — is also empowering.

One of the most extraordinary things in my life is that I’m able to publish without permission.

Originally published at http://varettoni.blogspot.com.