There were good times, there were hard times, and then it was over. Beers. This wasn’t that kind of climbing story.
– Jeremy Collins, Drawn: The Art of Ascent
Why does it matter how a story is told? We get the point, the gist, the idea. So let’s move on. Right?
Not for me. It’s not even as simple as “getting it right” with the right words and all that. There’s something mysterious going on in the creative act of narration. Writing can change the way you perceive the world. Writing slows the pace of my life and lets me first immerse myself in the richness of sensual detail, and then strive for the elusive harmony of synthesis. To say the same idea with less elegance: we all have vices which enable us to cope. Mine is writing.
If you encouraged me, offered feedback, suggested ideas for new entries, and in other ways let me know that my writing means something to you, then you have my thanks. You will also have my writing. My colleagues and ex-friends tend to see me as a workaholic, constantly scribbling, photographing, breaking away from the group, finishing or arriving early, seeming in one moment open and interested in people, then aloof. My friends know that my temperament is marked by an intense sensitivity which renders me aware of a quantity of detail, and they understand that I need time to process, reflect and synthesize. In this documentation project, I’m focusing on process, not perfection. I still have many unanswered questions about how to approach creative non-fiction and immersion writing, and I begin to answer them by writing about and taking photos of the things that matter to me. I am still much too shy of a photographer considering where I want to be in my visual work. But I will continue sharpening my skills.
What is invisible is the ever-changing canvas of my mind, upon which I continually have five or six simultaneous projects. My writing, which is for me my most important work, involves specific, personal connections to people in my life, and without these connections, I have difficulty motivating myself to complete or even begin working on an idea. You are my many muses.
I take photos with you in mind, write poems based on details I noticed about you, and craft my narratives hoping to take you with me to places we cannot now experience together. I pull away in order to complete the vision, to fulfill the promise, and also to experience the gift of the support I have received. I am most often dissatisfied with what I create, but I put it out there, homely and ill-nourished as it is, because something is better than nothing. And because I want to improve. Having an audience, having muses means that someone is waiting to read what I have to write, and this spurs me to produce. I know myself. Without an audience, I would spend more time talking about writing than actually writing. Thanks for letting me stumble around with you.