Saturday, May 12, 2012

At least...a voice. Of a generation.

"I don't want to freak you out, but I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least...a voice. Of a generation."
I finally watched the Pilot of Lena Dunham's show Girls, hailed to be the series of my generation.

I've learned that any show, movie or book that claims to be a portrait of a generation - On the Road, The Breakfast Club, Friends, even Glee - is never going to be completely accurate or inclusive, if only because each member of a so-called "generation" is a unique individual. Archetypes may provide some insight on common values and lifestyles we share, but they will never tell the whole story.

I don't point this out to criticize Dunham, rather, to support her. It's not her sole responsibility - nor anyone's, to fully capture a point of time in society, something I'm coming to realize myself in my own writing. "Portrait of a Generation" is an appealing ideal and a marketing goldmine, yet, like most ideals, it is unlikely to be ever fully realized, at least in the way we had originally imagined.

Notably, in the Girls premiere, Dunham's aspiring writer character, Hannah, shares her memoir-in-progress with her parents in an effort to help them understand her dreams and, particularly, support them financially. (Note that I, too, have done this.) In what was the most poignant moment of the episode for me, Hannah says, "I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least...a voice. Of a generation."

Which I think, in its simplest terms, is something we all desire. To feel our viewpoints are valued by others. I know I do.

Through my experiences writing Mug for Thought I have discovered some of the most fascinating, thought-provoking pieces of writing, many by others my own age or, as we've come to be known, the emerging Millenial generation. And while some comparisons can be made of our work, we each bring our own unique worldview to the dialogue, and more important, we inspire one another.

In short, I don't think any of us need to feel inadequate just because we haven't been identified as The Voice of Our Generation. We just need to keep nurturing our own - and each others' - voices.

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