If there’s something that connects the various dots of my posts here, it’s my interest in storytelling. I don’t mean the technical aspects of telling a story, although those are important too. I mean the reasons we tell stories, the way they change us, and the roles they take in our lives.
There are many ways of telling stories, some more obvious than others. Telling a fairy tale is storytelling, but so is writing a novel. Or the letters and emails we send to family and friends. Or the photos we take. The books we keep around, the pictures we hang on the walls, and our social media presence are also ways of telling a story about ourselves.
Three months ago I wrote about blogging and about the importance of starting from the reality of the present situation. I’d like to follow up on that. In fact, I’d like to revisit some of the things I’ve written there and add some new points.
It gets late and the tide is coming in strong. I am at the water’s edge, watching my feet slowly disappear under water.
The breeze is carrying smells of faraway life and death, of drifting away and never coming back.
Seaweed. Decomposing creatures washed ashore. Salt. Cold. Fear. Calm.
Fantastic shapes in the sand, resisting until the next big wave washes everything over. Water, the big equalizer.
This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, hosted by Sylvia, is all about doors and doorways.
Doors. We open and close them dozens of times each day. We use them to organize our space. To get access. To open to the world. To protect from the world.
But there are also doors that won’t open. They are not in use anymore or they’ve never been in use. They seem to be there to hide rather than reveal something.
Let me cut straight to the chase: I’d like you to tell me how, in your opinion, I can improve my blog. What would you like to see more of and less of? What options could be added? What sort of layout and organization of content could help?
Almost anything can be improved by removing stuff. Simplifying it. Getting rid of the clutter. Then getting rid of even more clutter, which at first glance may have seemed important.
It works with books, photographs, relationships, or lives.
We are compulsive hoarders of sensations, emotions, objects. We commit to impossible schedules and we have impossible ambitions. We want to be everywhere and part of everything. Not miss out. Not be left out. We live on the run and then, from time to time, we inevitably break down.
In my native language, one standard formulation to start a folk tale is “There was, once upon a time, because if it weren’t we wouldn’t tell about it”. There are different versions of this formulation, some of them going on and on about a miraculous past and place where the events took place.
“If it weren’t we wouldn’t tell about it” is about the substance and reality of stories. Obviously, folk tales are not descriptions of historical events (although they may echo such events). But this doesn’t mean that they are not rooted in the real. They are “real” insofar as they condense and distill the lived experience of past generations.
All this unchecked wild growth. This gracious abandonment. These plant seeds flying around, offering themselves to anybody, offering themselves to nobody. This whirlwind of life coming together in this very moment, unplanned yet fully in sync. Not asking for a witness, not needing to be acknowledged, just being there.
This is my contribution to this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Light and Shadow, hosted by Patti.