This is an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head for some time now. I think the genesis had to do with traveling around the country at the beginning of the “Great Recession” to see firsthand what people were experiencing. Witness for myself the world beyond the veil of the media and network filters, mainly because I can;t stand bullshit and lies. I’m a Doubting Thomas by nature and certainly have no faith in the twisted view of the news machine.
But now the concept has taken a different shape, mainly due to spending more time on Facebook and watching what happens and the effect on our lives of the whole Social Network thing is having.
Of course, there’s a bunch of debate over whether or not relationships on the net are “real” or some, as Jaron Lanier, the virtual reality pioneer believes, devalued interaction cheapening true human relationships.
I’m not too interested in arguing either way. It is what it is and has become an integral part of modern life. What I am interested in though is taking my relationship with my Facebook “friends” and Twitter followers out of the virtual and into the real.
I have a bit over 1700 Facebook friends. More than some and fewer than others. The number’s not important because I’m betting the makeup of that total is pretty much the same for everyone. Part of the total is actual friends, people you know and maybe even interact with on a regular basis in the real world. Others are family members, some close, others extended beyond ever having met them. Then there are friends of friends and friends of their friends, those who get pulled into your orbit by your posts & updates, commenting on your food pics or shared videos or political links. And in my case, I have fans of my time in Dire Straits whose memories are far better than mine.
What I’ve found fascinating is over time I’ve begun to have not exactly friendships but on-going dialogues with people I have never met, people who have become involved in my on-line life and because I do share much of what happens in my world on a daily basis, they’ve become part of my life. I look forward to their comments and their opinions. I’ve come to expect them to be there and honestly become concerned when they’re “no shows” for a day or two.
So I began to wonder what it would be like to actually meet some of these people. Folks who comment on my food pics, “Hey, you can come cook for me any time!” or after seeing a post of me playing guitar somewhere declare “Come sit in with my band!”
And there are friends who I follow, a host of interesting thinkers I’ve come to enjoy and look forward to their posts. The writer, Mikal Gilmore, Dangerous Minds blogger & musician, Marc Campbell, photgrapher/writer Jennifer Fields-Summer, HuffPost writer & rock n roller, Binky Philips, just to name a few. But I’ve never met them. At times, we converse in threads as if we were sitting at a bar chewing the fat and I have the sense we’d be “real” friends given the chance to hang.
And in some cases, we have traded private messages and phone calls and made plans to get together some time soon.
Which is what I want to do. Not only to satisfy my curiosity – which is boundless when it comes to people – but because I’ve realized the best times in my life, the moments I am happiest and most satisfied are the times I’ve spent gathered with family and friends, eating, playing, talking, sharing ideas and just being in each others company.
Over the course of the past few years I have lost several close friends, spent anxiety-ridden months as my sister and brother-in-law have been diagnosed, battled and thankfully beaten cancer & helplessly watched my father slowly disappear into the nightmare living hell of Alzheimer’s.
I’m not alone. Life has a million ways with fucking with us all. As if the lesson of grasping every second like it’s our last needs to be continually repeated until we get it.
Life if short. Tomorrow is not a given.
Yet we talk and dream and make plans and say we’ll get together and actually believe the words that come out of our mouths but it so rarely happens.
The older I get, the more I’ve come to embrace one singular thought.
Live Life Now. Not later.
Simple, obvious idea that is so very hard to live.
And when I was a kid, dreaming of rock n roll stardom, the life I wanted to live was being surrounded by interesting people, sharing ideas, art and la la lalala la living for today. That was what rock n roll was going to give me.
My list of friends contain artists, musicians, writers, housewives, salesmen, corporate executives, right-wingers, radical liberals, famous names, unknowns, professional chefs and amateur cooks with equal passion for the culinary arts, winemakers and wine drinkers, doctors, lawyers, financial wizards and broke-ass students.
Every one with a story.
And I’m thinking the best way to hear these tales is to get face to face and share them with you via blogs, videos, streaming events, pix as I travel around meeting with some of the most interesting people I know.
Now. Not later.
Jack On The Road. A movable salon of friends, family, music, ideas, food & drink….what a rock n roll life looks like at 56 years old.