Seth Godin starts a recent post by asking us a question -- "How much do you care about authenticity?". And a question is a great way to start because it draws you, the reader, into a dialogue. It makes you begin to formulate your response. And that response would be? A story, of course!
Of course, we all like to be "real" -- we all love being the first in a group to discover a new restaurant, some new music or even a new blog. But are we addicted to the fame of finding or are we truly interested in the process and act of discovery? (the question of course is ... does this post trackback to Seth Godin?)
Seth seems to like living on the left of the bell curve, a place that he calls the "Authentic Fringe". But as time marches on and the fashions of the alternative become the daily grind of the masses (think Grunge as pop and Nirvana as middle of the road), there is a blurring of those boundaries. And just as I rolled my eyes listening to my mother's music as a child, so too will my children roll theirs as I reach for the iPod to play another classic from Nick Cave.
But in the end, we like to mythologise our experiences. And at some point, the story takes over. After all, you can only have the experience once, but the story can be retold many times. And as our "real" memories fade, the stories become stronger, taking over from the experience. So while the experience may lead the charge, if it is not transformed into a lasting memory, both your story and your experience will fade.