Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Noise part 2 & Conclusion

I lost that first digital camera in a burglary. Perhaps the loss of that first digital camera was karma for the first 35MM camera. Let's be clear, the acquisition of the 35MM camera was suspect, yes, but I did not steal the camera. I came to it honestly, but the person I got it from did not. At any rate, I had lost that first digital camera.

My father, feeling bad about the burglary gifted me a new digital camera, and I still use it to this day. And this camera has brought me more joy than just about anything else.

This particular camera, a Casio xs-10, does pretty well. And up until I got back to Oregon in late 2010, I used this camera like all my other cameras and took pictures of everything. The difference was this, I used this camera for nighttime photography.

So much of my life had been happening during the night, and so much of my photography depended on the day. Now, suddenly, I no longer needed the sun for taking pictures.

I took the camera with me at night, and I recorded bars and roads and cities in startling reality complete with noise. And I was happy.

I also took to writing during the day, the mornings. And by this time, by 2010, I had become the writer I wanted to be and I became the photographer I wanted to be. Alone in the morning with pallid filtered daylight and alone at night with a camera.

Thank you for taking the time to read this series. I wrote these posts in late October as I was preparing for National Novel Writing Month. My preparation was mostly seeing how fast I could write something somewhat coherent. Traditionally, a blogpost takes me about 90 minutes to 2 hours. I wrote this entire series in one hour 15. Not being used to this speed, or this type of writing, it was a refreshing experience.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Noise part 1

I have not been back to New Orleans since Katrina. I'm terrified to see the place. I was in New Orleans, briefly, in 2001 trying to hustle a buck. I was back there in the spring of 2005 as my ex and I were pushing our way to the Atlantic.

In 2001, I had just come off a few years of trying to be someone else. Trying to be someone else so seldom ends well. The fall of 2000 had me knee deep in words. I had come back to myself for the first time in a few years. I had explained to all the people, the responsible people in my life that I just wanted to write, and living life for a paycheck and too many other stupid things was taking my time, energy and life away from what I really wanted to do, and that was write.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Grain part 2

The clearest photographs I've ever taken were the several rolls of 35MM film from my time in Portugal in 1998. By this time, all of the large manual cameras had made way for very small point and shoot models. I had a tiny Olympus. The blues of the skies at midday contrasted with the whites of old churches made me question that the reality of the journey was possible when the photographs afterward looked so different.

In Portugal, believe me, I was not looking for perfection. I was reading John Irving. I was writing pointless meandering fictions. I was trying to figure out in my post college graduation year of malaise what I wanted to do with my life. I came to only one conclusion: I wanted to write.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Grain part 1

It was one of those wet and rainy summers as I recall. These sorts of summers happen on the Palmer Divide out there in Elbert County, Colorado. It was the summer of 1987, thirty years ago, in my youth. I lived in a small cabin with 16 other camp counselors. It was a tremendous time, we were all about fifteen years old, away from home for weeks and doing fun stuff.

This was the summer when I really began to think about writing. My buddy Shawn and I wandered the hills and valleys in and around camp. We were probably shirking work, but at fifteen years old, how much work were they really wanting us to do? My time with Shawn was invaluable. Shawn was an odd dude, funny, imaginative and I loved him. Shawn wrote poetry. He encouraged me to write poetry too, and although I was not very good at it, I did my best. It was more of an exercise for writing and thinking and exploring creativity. At the time, I wrote more poetry than I read. My advice to young poets, or any poet: read more poetry than you write.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Grain and the Noise: Preamble

Jeez, the sky was so clear today, the morning sun coming through the crystal atmosphere and the colors on the autumn trees was a sight. Very much a sight. As I walked Lucian to school I doubted I had ever seen the world in such crystal clarity. I mean, not all the psychedelics could make such colors and shapes and clearness as I saw this morning. Impressive.

This is, of course, not the way I generally see the world. I doubt I see the world different than most. What I generally see is not a crystal clear morning, but the eerie and comforting glow of street lights. I have, at least for most of the last 20 years, lived almost exclusively at night. Even since the birth of my son when I have been forced to get up in the morning, I did not venture out of the house as early as we do now that school is in session.