Friday, January 07, 2011

On A Lighter Note: I've Accepted A Challenge...

I had a poll over on my vanity photoblog the last few days of 2010... It's still there now, but not active--but I'll eventually getting around to taking it off.

I was just wanting to get a feel for what people thought I should do with it, once the year was up. I had a few choices that were pretty clear-cut, but one was "I'll message you my idea" or something like that. (Yes, I'll be going there in a bit to get the link that you've already seen, but I can't be bothered to go see the exact words. I may be a real piece of work.)

Anyway, nobody voted for that one (whatever it was), but a friend from church (Judy) suggested on Facebook that I make it new rules. One that no picture can be taken by me, and one that at least one picture a week must be taken by a stranger.

I can report I have made it through the first week working with those new rules! I don't know that I'll make it to two weeks, but I'll try!

Yesterday I realized after I got home from school that I wasn't likely to see anyone for the rest of the evening. My first idea was to just go to the store to get something I needed but didn't have to have that instant, and have the person who rang up my purchase take my picture. I'd already figured I'd have a stranger take a picture of me with Kathleen at her birthday party (tonight's picture), but if I got a stranger to take my picture Thursday night as well, that's okay, too.

Then I realized I had gotten the picture frame I'd ordered for Say that day, so I just drove out to Platte City to deliver it. While I was there got my picture taken. What a plan! It worked!

Here's the thing: I kinda like these rules. I for sure like the rule of me not taking any pictures of myself. I hated doing it, and I hate posing for myself. When I die, they won't find great chests full of wonderful literary works (those of you who read this blog regularly will not be shocked to learn that, I'm sure), but they will find kilobytes and kilobytes of pictures of me... and those won't be so wonderful, either. I tend to be much more willing to be content with pictures others take of me.

The other rule I like, but not as much. As extroverted as I may seem at times, I'm not thrilled with the idea of asking strangers to take my picture... and less thrilled with the idea of putting my camera in the hands of someone I don't know at all. Tonight, I had Kathleen ask a friend to do it (which was the plan), because it's still a stranger, but it's a friend of a friend, so the odds of her just up and running off with the camera were pretty slim.

I guess if I stick with check-out folks and store greeters and whatnot, maybe I'll do okay. Or maybe people who are visiting the church. I don't know, but I like that it's making me think about being more outgoing.

In so many ways, I feel like a plant that's sort of closing in on itself as it dies away. That was way more dramatic than I meant, but it's also... what I mean.

I had this blog before "the event" back in June of 2005. It was my only blog. I didn't write a lot in it, though. Some, but not a lot. Then came the photo blog, and then the vanity photoblog, and finally the food blog.

The photoblog was for a specific reason. I don't know that I've really gone into anywhere. If I have, I'm about to bore you with it again. If I haven't, I'm about to bore you with it for the first time.

As I'm sure I've written elsewhere (and as I know I've said when talking about "the event" of 6/05), there was that moment where I just resigned myself to my impending death. I totally let go. I don't know that I'll ever forget it.

I read The Idiot back in college, and I don't remember a lot about it, but I remember there being a character (maybe the idiot in the title) who was supposed to be executed and somehow the gun didn't go off or something. I have thought about that a lot since June of 2005. I probably should go back and re-read the book. It will be twenty-five years since I read it sometime betwen now and May.

Anyway, I still feel like that switch is flipped. I still feel there's a part of me that's very much just... "okay" with my impending death... even though it hopefully is much less impending than it seemed to be that afternoon. Maybe it's a switch that only gets flipped once, and there is no unflipping it. I don't know.

But I know "What do I do now that I got all ready to go and now I'm apparently not going to be going for a while?" has been the general lyric of the background music in my head since then.

I just went and looked at the first STILL: Life picture*. I remember very clearly taking the picture because I thought it was funny (and I just now realized Dora gets made fun of a couple of times on that blog), but then it all just sort of fell into place: I could take a picture every day, like that guy in the movie "Smoke", but I could take a picture to sort of say, "I'm still here. I'm still doing something, even if it isn't much. I'm not still in that ambulance in front of the school, waiting to die--at least not entirely."

And out of that general thought pattern, I thought of the name... since I still had to go through life, even though I'd gotten totally ready to have to stop going through it. I figured people would either think I didn't know how to properly punctuate "Still Life" (very believable) or that I was being very cynical about how great it is that life was continuing to go on (also very believable).

I just needed to remind myself things were still going on, and I had to remind myself there is beauty and mystery and strangeness and humor all around--so I should pay attention.

I went through a phase where it seemed like a huge chore, and you can see there was a huge gap there (after 3/28/08 there was only one picture until I started back up again on 1/1/10). I took a lot of pictures during that time, many meant for that blog. I guess there's something else people can find when I'm dead. STILL: Life (the missing days). I didn't take pictures every day. I didn't want to.

Now I'm where I like taking the pictures. I like trying to think of what to take. It does get old, trying to figure out what I can take a picture of at 9:30 at night, because nothing "jumped out" at me all day, but it does serve as a reminder that I need to be paying attention. There's always some beauty, or some humor, or some strangeness, or some mystery... it's just a matter of seeing it.

I'm so not going to change the title of this post, but I think it's total false advertising about the lightness...

*Side note: I don't know what the original title was--at some point Blogspot led me to believe I was going to have to start deleting posts in order to make new ones. I did, and didn't keep track of the titles. When I learned I could put them back up, a lot of the titles were lost forever. Tragedy!


Anonymous said...

"There's always some beauty, or some humor, or some strangeness, or some mystery... it's just a matter of seeing it."

Simply the best quote of the year so far. :)(must admit, I almost didn't make to the end to discover it)

EyeRytStuf said...

Any more I think I write and talk like I take pictures... just do a whole lot of it and hope at some point a gem comes out of my efforts! lol