Social media has exploded since “45” came into office. Not that we weren’t a nation of addicts before—in 2016, 79% of all Americans regularly used Facebook and 67 million people used Twitter each day. But now, late night tweets about “covfefe” and complaints about #fakenews seem common. That’s why Kate Carroll de Gutes’ new book, The Authenticity Experiment: Lessons from The Best and Worst Year of My Life (Two Sylvias Press), and this blog of the same name, is so relevant, as it focuses on Kate’s attempt to be completely authentic on social media.
An award-winning writer already, her debut memoir, Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear (Ovenbird Books), won the 2016 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction, a 2016 Lambda Literary Award in Memoir, and First Place in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in LGBT Writing.
The Authenticity Experiment: Lessons from The Best and Worst Year of My Life promises the same searing, lyric prose that won de Gutes so much praise and rings with what author Sallie Tisdale calls “funny, hard, sad, sweet, tough, confusing, tender and sharp truth.” And it won an Independent Publishing Award for LGBTQ essay writing.
The book’s genesis began in 2012 when Kate found herself at a rest stop “ruined with anxiety. And when I say ruined, I mean in a car, in hundred-degree weather, with all the windows rolled up, sobbing and crouched in the passenger’s seat rocking and waiting for the Ativan to take effect. I posted on Facebook, ‘Hello, Redding. Dear gods yer hot.’ A funny post that let my family and friends know where I was, but not how I was.”
Kate didn’t yet understand how insidious social media had become—with pictures of risotto and bike rides, images of nights at the theater—all of it curated to show a wonderful life, regardless of what was really occurring. But when her editor, her best friend, and her mother all died within ten months of each other, Kate could no longer keep up the charade.
She began The Authenticity Experiment as a 30-day challenge, wondering if she could be more honest about her days. She used social media as her new back fence, a place where she could stand and talk to her “neighbors” about the good and bad. The blog resonated with a wide audience, so Kate kept writing, chronicling the dark and the light, and putting it out there for everyone to see.
Here, you get to read new posts that are published on an irregular basis.
Go ahead. Be authentic. You know you want to.