It cannot be SHARED on FACEBOOK

It cannot be shared on Facebook. It will not lend itself to a pithy mock-humorous one-liner. Or a filtered photo. There is no brag-drenched status-update that could conceivably capture it.

With each passing day, it becomes more and more un-shareable. It exists. There are words and things and photographs to prove it. And it evokes powerful emotions and reactions — of love, of fear, of nostalgia and excitement and hope. It can be touched and smelled and tasted and heard. Sometimes it is light like dust. Sometimes it weighs like sin on soul. It is not esoteric. It is mundane like daily bread.

It cannot be “liked” or go viral. It cannot be turned into some sort of ephemeral, temporarily important arising and passing of momentary mob interest. It is sneer incarnate. It is cold stare central. It is skeptical of any agreement that encompasses more than 3 minds. It waits and waits and then — it just gets up and walks away.

It is possibly shy. Maybe it is hideous. It has shame. It cannot compete with the needy-child-style clamoring for approval on display. It yearns acceptance. But not in a scripted, pre-formatted manner, like choosing emotions from a restaurant menu. The approval it seeks is like itself, unutterable, un-shareable. The approval it seeks goes beyond likes, goes beyond mere momentary acknowledgment. It seeks to become unforgettable. Its ambitions are staggering. It seeks to change, to wreak, to alter, to disrupt. It wants to be like the chicken stuck between teeth, impossible to dislodge, impossible to ignore. It wants to be returned to repeatedly, brooded upon, mulled over, carried from continent to continent as the first item to be packed in a traveler’s suitcase. It will settle for nothing less than being everything, than being the world.

Sometimes it thinks, ‘Ah, screw it!’ It feels it must descend from its ivory tower and launch itself into the market place of opinions and status updates. It stretches its arm and selfies itself while enacting learned expressions of self-aware self-love. But then it embarrasses itself. And it presses backspace on half-written updates. And then it loathes itself for willing to settle for so little — a few likes or shares, some perfunctory words of appreciation or encouragement from friend-fiends who will expect to be repaid in kind.

It recovers from the momentary madness. It regains its all-too-real realness. It grows bigger than some paltry, word-limited, nuance-challenged social media outpouring. It swallows abstractions and intuitions. It grows baggy with notions that implode like black holes. Its convictions are spewed out the other end, their flesh of certainty stripped and scarred, the bone of doubt gleaming white through the gore.

It no longer knows. It is no longer sure. In a world of all-knowing, overly-informed normalcy, it is the imbecilic abnormality. In a hyper socialised, ever-sunny virtualised society, it is the morose, insistently analogous soloist. It wants to be possessed by each, not shared by many like some park bench.

It always needs more time. It needs to be spoken to slowly. It sleeps over everything and even then it remains undecided. It is consistent in its doubtfulness. Its inarticulateness is like the silent yawn of a wide open jaw trying to swallow the abyss whole. Silent, unknown and un-shared, it is like the tree that falls unseen in the forest daily, only to be resurrected every night for hooting owls to roost on.

It dreams of the day it will be ready to be shared. But it knows that day will never come. It is not a book or painting that can be finished and mounted on social-media display. It can’t be YouTubed or Instagrammed. Every day it is made and unmade, built and demolished. Process, not product. Work in progress, never a work in full. An invitation to witness it is an invitation to look into a mirror. What stares back? Something fractured, churning, the vortex. It is the poised pen, the mouth framing a word, the blinking cursor on a blank page, the never-ending tuning of tablas. It is self-forgetting, self-obliterating. It is nothing. Nothing. It is nothing. For now.


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Altaf Tyrewala Written by:

Altaf Tyrewala is a novelist and instructional designer. He is based in Dallas. He is the author of critically acclaimed novel "No God in Sight".

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