Have you ever watched a stage play by local, unknown performers and been wowed? Walked through an art fair, filled with interesting creations, but returned repeatedly to the same artist’s booth, deeply moved? Perhaps even found something in a garage sale that actually seemed to speak to you? Picked up a book in browsing boredom and were then unable to put it down?
With the internet, we now have constant entertainment at our fingertips. We can find exciting new talent from around the world! Moving and flashing images catch our eye, provocative headlines draw us in, answers to every question are readily available. Words can be made readable on screens smaller than a mass-market paperback. Content can be tracked and stored forever.
But even as we embrace the possibilities in this brave new world, we still need the connections that bring us new discoveries, we need to be at the right place at the right time, even on the internet. Search engines and artificial intelligence may direct us to what is likely to engage, we may follow the collective enthusiasm for artists and talent, but what we remember will depend on how we experienced it, who shared it with us, and its rarity.
I remember reading Ray Bradbury’s short story, “In a Season of Calm Weather.” I remember so many stories and performances whose author’s and artists are unknown to me and who will never know the impact they made. Eternal and yet ephemeral. You don’t have to be famous to make a difference but you do have to share.