Is it just me?

Things in this digital era seem flat. Dull, almost lifeless, locked inside a computer screen that we can’t touch or hear or smell or taste. Only see. You can only look.

That “I love you” posted to my Facebook wall feels distant, unreachable, but not in the good way like seeing the summit of a mountain from the trailhead. No, unrealizable because it’s not… well… real. That selfie with friends posted to Instagram, that was the 35th picture we took, plus we spent half an hour deciding which filter looked best. I wasn’t even smiling because I can’t smile through 35 photos, photos that I don’t want to take in the first place because I’d rather be discussing something, anything, “How was your day?” 

I want more depth, more shape, a protruding emotion and an in-your-face experience. I want more soak zone (without keeping the Killer Whales in small, depressive tanks).

An angry-faced emoji just doesn’t cut it; I want you to scream and puff up your chest. An “LOL” won’t do; I want guttural guffaws, spit lifting off your tongue and onto my cheek. 

This online version of reality, well it’s been sterilized. It’s boring and unempowering. It’s passive.

But a zine, a physical representation of my thoughts, you can crumple it up, make it into a ball and “Kobe” a shot in the trash can. Or try bouncing it off your best friend’s head when they invited you over for a drink but then are just sitting across from you watching celebrity SnapChat stories. You can write, highlight, scribble in it. Tear it. Use it as toilet paper.

Or cherish it. Just the way it is. But that takes some sort of mindfulness, some finesse, some strong urge to keep the thing alive, because it’s scarce.

And that’s maybe the core problem with the digital world, it’s abundant, never ending. But in all this plenty, the digital world puts something there for me to interact with without giving me the ability to interact with it in the way I choose, want, even need. It’s absolute, strict, authoritarian. It demands and I bow to its order, because really, that’s my only option.

Having spent the past five years creating in these digital frameworks, I’ve become a bit claustrophobic to its rules. And so I’m moving my work little by little into the real world.

*If you want to receive monthly copies of Dissent: Opposing What’s Corrupt shoot me an email at baileyreutzel@gmail.com. I’ll snail-mail you copies!