Photographic Memory

Throughout the course of human civilization memory has been transient, plastic. The girl who broke your heart can, in time, become simply the girl you lived with ten years ago. Given more time she becomes either the one who got away or the one you can’t believe you almost married. But now, in the reign of the photographic image, the past is no longer malleable. It can no longer shift meaning in order to facilitate the narrative of your present circumstances.

We are now, all of us, cinematographers for the movie of our own lives. Not the star. Not the director. Not even the writer!”

There was more to that tirade – part of a speech given by a character who hated photography, in a book I read recently. It’s far too weighty a subject for me to cover in one post, and certainly on a day like today when I am so easily distracted. But while it would have been easy for me to dismiss the whole notion, there was part of me that could see where the character was coming from, and even agree with parts of his reasoning.

For me, photographs have always been more of a way of retaining memories; of capturing and chronicling moments in time to preserve for the future. Not even, like, future generations, per se. But in large part because I am afraid of forgetting my life, and in seeking to retain as much of it as possible, I’ve always taken as many pictures as I can. It was different back when you couldn’t see your shot until you’d had the film developed, and the little counter on your camera told you how many photos you had left to take before you needed a new roll. I was more economical then.

Now, my freaking phone has a camera in it, so I take pictures of pretty much everything! And then store them in a digital space, invisible to the naked eye. That’s a transition I’ve made more slowly than most, and I still have a crap-ton of photos printed out and kept in albums all over my apartment.

However, delivery and storage methods aside, the pictures I take are usually done with the same intent – to preserve my life. Also, to show off my cool, creative eye. But mostly for the sake of retaining memories in a visual way.

I remember hearing or reading somewhere that taking a picture actually makes a moment less retain-able in the memory banks than observing it with your own eyes. As in, not through a lens, and not on a screen, but actually watching it and even interacting with it. That statement made me worry that I may have been doing things wrong, so just in case, I now try to do both – to watch and also to chronicle the important moments I want to keep.

This book’s character goes even further with it, however, and suggests that we’re not even a part of our own lives anymore; that we’re merely filming our lives instead of living them and forging them and creating them. That goes well beyond being able to remember things down the road, and instead states that we’re actually outsiders in our lives. Just watching life happen between the frames, so swept up in what’s passing that we’ve forgotten to exist in the now; to take hold of and manifest our own now’s.

Not the star. Not the director. Not even the writer. Memory is all but carved in stone via a photograph, and we’re unable to grow and change and evolve past things that happened, because we’ve made them permanent fixtures. We’ve made the past – and all of the emotion caught up in it – a permanent, unchangeable part of the present. The stories of our lives are being told through the eyes of everyone else.

Maybe all we’re really doing is watching it pass by.

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Ghost Radio Fun

The ole timey radio play we did last night was so much fun!

I kind of think it might have been my favourite so far, but I hesitate to commit to such a statement, as all of them have been ridiculous and had just as many laughs.

This one also had wine, though, so that might be part of it.

One thing about this one was that the script had far less racism and sexism and all the other -ism’s that make people uncomfortable these days. The scripts we use were all written and performed in the 30’s and 40’s, and while they are always a fun and fascinating glimpse into our past, they also highlight so much of what people now try to cover up – that we just aren’t very nice to one another. That we say less out loud now doesn’t mean we’re not still thinking things sometimes. And just because some laws have changed, practices are not as easy to alter. They are just less overt much of the time.

Unless you’re paying attention, anyway, which the majority of society seem not to be.

Anyway, there was less blatant racism and sexism, and more body shaming and ghost story telling in this one. And there was real life red wine to go with it. And an incredible cast of some of my favourite women on hand to perform it! Two of them had never done this with us before, and while not everyone knew one another going into it, they all played so well together! It was actually so amazing to watch that I kept missing my scant few lines in the script, and just enjoyed the show as performed by everyone else. I’m assuming it wasn’t really written to be a comedy, but they way these ladies played it was pure brilliance. Comedic gold, if I’m being honest. I’d love to get that same group together again sometime and see what else we can come up with, because they all worked off of one another so perfectly!

There were, of course, technical difficulties, and I am pretty sure we lost the whole night of footage from the tricaster. That means nothing from the microphone on the table was recorded. We did have a backup recording going, thank goodness, but only for the “official” read, so the practice read is, I believe, gone forever. It’ll just have to live on in the memories of those of us who were fortunate enough to be in the room.

As well, the audio from the backup recording was not likely able to pick up some of the quieter dialogue, but the majority of it should be okay, I think. And Tim did an audio-only recording with his phone on the table, too, so that will go up on iTunes, but again, only the official read, not the practice one.

Still, that final read was even better than the practice one, and so long as the audio turned out more or less okay, I think it’ll remain a favourite of mine for a long time to come. Those ladies all just killed it, and I am so thrilled with how it went!

I just wish the evidence of our evening had been better captured.

Also, Flynn is sick again with a urinary tract infection and I think the cold I had mostly fought off is roaring back with a vengeance this afternoon. In addition, I’m trying something I haven’t done in easily 2 decades. More later, maybe, after I see how it goes.

Thought Potpourri

This post will just be a hodgepodge of things – a mix – a potpourri, if you will, because there are a few things on my mind that I should probably delve into deeper at some point, but which for now I’ll just gloss over so I remember for later.

Since I got a phone with a camera, and for every phone I’ve had with a camera over the years, I stopped taking an actual camera with me in day-to-day life. Special occasions, I might take one, and the zoo I always take one, but I find that the best photo opportunities come when least expected, which is problematic, because I never have a real camera with me. I always, however, have my phone. It’s just the photos aren’t that high quality beyond sharing on social media, which is usually fine, until I want to do something more than that with them.

Take Brody, for example. I am always taking pictures of him, especially when we go for a walk, because he’s so flippin’ cute I can barely stand it. Just this morning I took this sweet shot:

Brody 2

However, I’d love to have a photo that was so awesome it ended up getting picked to be in, say, the annual Pet Valu calendar. He’s easily handsome enough, but my phone isn’t skilled enough to get a high quality snap, nor do I have a real camera handy when I am indoors. I tried over the weekend to take pictures of him with one of my actual cameras, but this was the best I could do, so I entered it on their website here.

P1080868

Not a horrible shot, but far from the attention-grabbing amazingness that he deserves.

Some day, maybe.

There are times when I feel like I am put in the position of arguing one side of a debate, simply because I can see more than one side, but whoever I’m talking to can’t. I kind of hate that, because I feel like it takes away from my ability to move past that level of comprehension and onto the next. I mean, I suppose it’s my choice, really. I could instead choose to just agree with whatever the other person is saying, because I can see their point usually, and usually even agree with some of it. But I also hate not challenging things when I can clearly see other points to be made, as well. To me, it seems like blind acceptance to not challenge something when it’s obvious that the issue is not so black and white as someone else may think. I try to push them, but for the most part, I am pushing myself, as well. Which is good, except when I get so frustrated at arguing the other side – a side I also don’t fully agree with – that I end up just playing Devil’s Advocate and lose sight of my actual thoughts involving all sides. I end up feeling angry and silently blaming the other person/people for putting me in that position, but not-so-deep down I know it was my own choice. I like to be thorough, I guess.

It’s interesting, my buddy that I hung out with over the weekend, I’d forgotten what our conversations could be like, and how much I loved them. His brain works a lot like mine does, in that we have our own thoughts and opinions, and those don’t always mesh, but our desire to talk things through from multiple angles is…rather invigorating. It really is a wonder we ever got any work done, sometimes.

Last week, a current co-worker asked one day if I had any writing projects on the go, because we hadn’t talked about any of it recently, at all. This was my response, more or less (including stuff about this blog and the possible resurrection of The Mind Reels podcast):

Carving The Light – My intent is to re-write the whole thing as a feature length screenplay. I also want to add in more unpredictable drama to flesh it all out more. The end will be the same, but the journey there will be more emotionally harrowing.

Ebon Black and the Seven Dryads – I keep toying with the idea of re-writing it in some way, skewing it for either a younger or older audience, maybe. Or turning it into a cartoon-type of format. Or maybe just shopping it around to agents and/or publishing houses to see if I can find a home for it. Regardless, it’s far back-burner at the moment!

Untitled Young Reader book about Ellie Skye – This is only a very rough first draft right now, but I really want to go back and take another pass or two at it. Eventually it’d be targeted at readers aged 9-12-ish, I think. Especially girls who need more heroes and adventure stories involving girl protagonists.

Suffer The Fury – My first attempt at a young adult novel, and would make an excellent series. I have done a few drafts, but it still needs more work before I can really try to do anything with it. I entered it in ABNA back when it was still going on, but didn’t make it far enough to get in-depth reviews of the whole manuscript. I got pretty good reviews from readers of the first 10 pages or whatever it was, though!

To Whichever Comes First – I wrote my first screenplay for a short film! I wrote it for a contest because I wanted a deadline I was forced to meet, but I also kept it super simple, so that I might actually be able to shoot it for a very low cost, if I ever get around to it! It all takes place almost completely in one room, and there are two main characters with, like, two other side characters that they interact with briefly. It could totally be done, I think! In my mind, I’ve even been casting it with people I actually know!

Sometimes I See Hearts – My first attempt at writing a picture book for children, again with a little girl as the protagonist. It even rhymes!!! Not sure if I should keep it in its current writing style or go back and Dr. Seuss it up, instead, but I’m content with the first complete draft, so far!

So there you have it. A few of the myriad of things swirling around my brain right now, in addition to finally getting approved to make an official attempt at another Guinness World Record. Got that news this morning, so still have to find time later to really go through the guidelines and see what I can sort out as far as a plan of attack goes. We shall see! More on that in the coming days, I think!

Before my alarm went off this morning, I was dreaming that I was having trouble waking up. I woke up at work, for some reason, but then everything went backwards, in a way, and I was horrifically late for work at the same time. Regardless of where I was, though, I could not keep my eyes open; couldn’t focus on anything. I think there were Muppets at one point.

So exhausted on every level today in waking life, and yet no Muppets to at least make things interesting. Geez.

Life can be so unfair.