Sunday, November 12, 2006

“I don’t want to be a passenger in my own life.”--Sunday Scribblings

Tail End
Originally uploaded by skron.

What an interesting prompt. The strange thing is that the two things I am doing right now, blogging and taking pictures could cause this to happen. How so? They both make you observe your life through a lens of sorts.
Sometimes that lens sharpens things. For example, I have been thinking of late that I notice the structure of the world more since I have been taking more photographs. For example the shapes that tree branches take, especially now that the leaves are nearly fallen and the branches emerge more starkly. Today I drove through a part of Chicago only a few blocks from my home, but one I didn’t know well. I saw some lovely old homes and an interesting out-door art exhibit I had no idea existed.
On the other hand, if one looks too long through a lens, one may forget to join in on the action. At a party, the camera is an excuse not to interact. On a vacation one can forget to participate. For example, on a diving vacation I took years ago (before kids prevented this sort of play from happening), someone on our dive boat spent so much time with his video camera, he seemed to forget why he was there. He was so busy staging memories that during one dive outing he made us reenter the water because his first shot had failed. In the evening he wanted us to sit around and review the day on film.
Blogging, too, can make one self-conscious. Instead of reading an article, I am analyzing it for its bloggability. Not to mention the addictive quality that blogging can have. It is not just the time spent writing, which may after all be time well-spent, but the time spent surfing other blogs, responding to comments, and trying to drum up readers. Shouldn’t I be sleeping right now? I have been on-line so much of late that my right hand is getting tendonitis.
It is strange too, the dilemmas that blogging raises. There are issues of privacy. I shouldn’t write things that might shame my family members. I shouldn’t talk too openly about my work so as not to violate the privacy of my patients. And I may mention things in my blog that I may not choose to share with my patients, although I have no illusions about privacy on the web. In a way my blog is an alter ego that I share only with strangers. When I chat with other bloggers on-line am I living my own life or a fictitious one?
Nonetheless, Freud would have honored a life well-examined and blogging does fit that role. Writing is a dream I have had since I wrote my first story at the age of 5 or 6 (complete with illustrations). If this isn’t just a passing fad for me, it may help me develop a part of myself that might otherwise have been suppressed.So if I am a passenger, I am also the pilot of this vessel.

Quotation is from Diane Ackerman--and no I haven't read her stuff. But it should be on my "to read some day" list.


Kerstin said...

A lot of what you say here resonates with me. I notice details and see things that I wouldn't have before my interest in photography, which incidentially developed because of my blogging. I also share your notion on viewing things from a point of bloggability, it is interesting, isn't it?

By the way, in answer to your second comment on my blog, I have been blogging for well over a year and have participated in Sunday Scribblings pretty much from the beginning. Like you I love writing and blogging has been wonderful practice for my second language.

Take care,

P.S. Love your airplane photos, they bring back fond memories of my time in the airline industry

paris parfait said...

Lovely post. I have always noticed the details of things, but now - since I started blogging - I notice poetry in places both ordinary and unusual.

Pepper said...

I started "blogging" as a means of staying in touch. When I ran away from home and took my mother with me my children had a fit. I can understand because "mom" is stability, a place to run to when the world turns mean. I agreed to stay in touch by blogging. Then my cousin and my uncle found me which was so cool. Then people started commenting, pictures were requested, and I find myself setting aside time every evening to escape into the cyber world. Truthfully I enjoy it. It has broadened my world so speak, I have met some real nice people, a wierdo or two, and more importantly my kids can keep an eye on me. Have the tables turned or what?

Barb said...

I gave your blog a shout out today.

Repeater said...

I agree completely with you about the dangers and attractions with blogging. There are days I believe I may stop because it is too distracting. It is good to know, however, that we are not alone in our desire to write and pay attention to our lives as they speed by. Thanks for visiting me site!

Paula said...

this is one of the best posts you have made in my opinion. really good stuff :) gave me lots to think about and concur with.
when you decide to check out diane, I recall 'A History of the Senses' was fascinating. Which also reminds me of 'The Orchid Thief' in case you need another book to review...which reminds me to is the AdSense working? I am curious about that.
Great photos, not sure I agree with what you say about taking pictures though. Its not passive if it takes you to new places and opens your senses and mind. Perhaps if you are obsessively photographing every event of children or vacation experiences and not really DOING anything.

Julia said...

I agree that blogging does, to some extent, change one's perspective of the world. I wonder though if it's the act blogging or digital photography that causes this.

We can easily document a thought, write a poem or share an event, complete with pictures in a way that is by far easier than it's ever been. It's a wonderful freedom that we have.