Terra Nomad

Every day is like survival. You're my lover, not my rival.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Opening the Photo Album

My mind is a photo album filled with pictures from my past. Some of them are blurry and unfocused or have someone’s thumb covering the left half of the scene. A few of them are overexposed, leaving the viewer only bright spots and shadows to discern where the faces were and who was laughing while I was crying. Some are portraits where everyone is posed in their Sunday best with hair recently cut and lipstick freshly applied. Lots of them are candid shots that depict some sense of movement or laughter.
There are some landscape or postcard shots that remind me of places I’ve traveled, and there are yearbook photos to remind me of my own painful adolescence. Doesn’t everyone have at least one school picture that they hope no one ever sees again? Some are family pictures that were obviously taken just minutes after some well-meaning third cousin shoved everyone up against the wall and demanded that they smile. Many pictures are from weddings or birthday parties. Some were taken on holidays and some are actually more like video clips or montages that depict several days that were all alike.
When it’s time to write about something that happened, I take out the picture and examine it. Fears, laughter, memories and joy come spilling out of each one. Remember how he wore his hair? Remember how cute she was when she was a baby? Who could forget that sweatshirt that I wore everyday for three months? I can easily get bogged down in the details and forget the big picture. So, it helps me to outline what I want to say before trying to write. I think some of my favorite exercises were the ones that involved imagining an event from someone else’s point of view or if it had happened in another way.

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