BEFORE I WAS FAMOUS By John Watts (of course)

rear view mirror

Before I was famous and had made such a serious commitment to on-line communication—before I had amassed such an army of followers that LIKED my work so much—yes before all of this—I could still stroll down the lane by my home completely unfettered, without a care in the world.  Looking back now I wish I could go back to such halcyon days of innocence when thinking and doing were so removed from any thought of a target audience or any kind of social media legacy.  What an advantage it was to live so free of pressure and expectations.

For I can no longer be that natural or unencumbered again.  Put simply–I am way too jaded and maxed out with all the twitter, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and WordPress commitments.  Every time I make short lived attempts to pull out and work on some more legitimate work of art–the obligation of reading and responding to someone else’s post invariably pulls me back into the vortex. After all, we are all dream weavers on the same trip for stardom and distinction and need to

It’s as hard to get out of as the mafia.  It’s as powerful as a tractor beam from another space ship in Star Wars.

Now I am too acutely aware of my face and all of its corny limitations.  Like the accessibly agreeable actor David Hasselhoff, I realize that the last boat has probably left the dock for me when it comes to acquiring artistic respectability.  Now I have to simply make peace with being prolifically eccentric in a silly, escalating game of unending social media that only knows how to feed vanity in a never ending spiral.  All David and I can do is just smile and play the game.  For the record—he has about 3 definitive expressions or looks while I have about 2.

But years ago, before I had built my reputation for taking pictures of MYSELF in restaurants, forests, retail stores, driving a car or sitting on a train, I was just ME—a much better actor who never thought of the camera.  It was simply not an option.  I had not been introduced yet to such a devilish device.

Consequently I was a natural who could maneuver effortlessly through his environment with any thought of capitalizing on something or chronicling some idea or inspiration.

Now I am so self-absorbed that even travel doesn’t matter much anymore.  The real scenery and landmarks on a trip are no more taken into account than any google earth feature or live cam.

Instant communication has been a Pandora’s Box that I can’t seal shut.  Now I feel like I’m mugging for the camera by simply glancing at my face in the rear view mirror while backing my car up.  I am simultaneously appeased and frightened to death as I consider my next internet move even as my actual career remains frozen in mediocrity.

I am like the pathetically self-conscious, tongue tied DJ holed up in the catacomb of some college campus, too stricken with fear to speak into a CARROT that only broadcasts back to himself in his own room.


About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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