Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How Do I Measure a Year?

Just like I promised, I gave my manuscript away to another reader on December 1. The other day this reader said, "I always envy writers because they can invent such engaging scenes, images, and details. How do you come up with all that?"

If friends or lovers were to ask me, "what do you think of when you think of me? What details?" I would come up with rich little vignettes, full of sensory experiences, this time real and not imagined. I remember by scent, touch, the particular slope of the outside corners of eyes. I remember tiny gestures of love long forgotten by anyone but me.

What I remember less are pictures. For example, winter in Pennsylvania is less a memory of pale gold mowed fields against purple December skies. It's the thick quiet-sound of night with nothing but trees surrounding me. It's wood smoke carrying on cold air that crackles in my lungs.

But sometimes we want to show others what we see. Words paint most of my pictures, but photographs can tell a story not so much about what's there in front of eyes and lenses, but what our hearts and minds can see. I hope that any photograph I take of winter in Pennsylvania will say wood smoke, will say night pulling against your eardrums.

Sometimes I talk too much. Photographs provide a place for thoughts to linger, where we don't need to craft layers of explanation.

I never felt this about photography more than when I worked on this series of nighttime photos:

Night (#2)

Even wandering my own house, absorbing brand-new warmth after days with no heat, I'm still enamored with my ability to see.

Naturally, completely unembellished, this is how I see.
I know it should look this way, but I'll always know the flattened and
semi-mysterious,hazy-shape-and-color truth.
These are the dust and shadows I study when I'm trying to find my next
What do you remember? Are there sounds in that space? Words? Pictures? What do you remember about a defining moment in a relationship?


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