Saturday, June 9, 2007

Relatively Speaking

Call me Blogger.

Some years ago--never mind how many--having taken on an editing project I came to have no taste for, I thought I would surf about the web and see the cyber part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and stirring the circulation of interest.

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the newspapers and news magazines I read; whenever it is a damp dreary election settling over the country, I account it high time to read political blogs, wherein lay deeper political truths and assessments, equaled only by the periodicals of our cousins in the UK.

Okay, enough of Moby-Dick, which is always good to revisit for its opening and for Father Marple's sermon. Were it not for Liz Kuball, I might still be using blogs to catch up on political news, contributing an occasional piece to the writer's blog Inkbyte, and content with my weekly book review at the MJ. Watching Liz set up her own site, to her own satisfaction, I became curious, then more than a little proud of her industry and talent. The thing that tipped me over was the added focus Liz showed in deciding which photographers she would link to and, indeed, which in turn linked to her. Bingo--a crash course in photography for me, a sort of cheat sheet of interesting sites to check in on from time to time.

By my reckoning, I begin my own blog on March 1 of this year, envious of Liz's resolve to post at least a picture a day. My goal for my own blog was to write myself out, to express all the theory and nostalgia and critical vector whirring around within me, curious to see how long it would take before I approached the daily blog with no preconceived notion of what would come tumbling forth, more or less like the contents of Fibber McGee's closet. This was my goal because of my conviction that this state, what I call the surprise state, is where creativity and originality begin, where one--well, where I take a theme and begin to work on it, improvising, inventing, surprising myself.

So far, so good. During this time I began checking writers' blogs, looking for that community just as Liz Kuball began checking out the photographic community. Ah, some lovely misadventres, not the least of which were individuals wanting to sell me various software to enhance my story-telling abilities, or editorial services to jump-start my narrative technique.
For every twenty writing blogs I read, I found perhaps a paragraph or two worth. I had become, to extend the metaphor I recently thought to forswear, a cyber Ahab, looking for interesting writers' blogs. Meanwhile, checking out Liz Kuball's links, I found any number of photographers who had ways of looking at people, items, and events that seemed to agree with my own.

On one particularly boring afternoon, I indulged myself by enjoying some of the images of the Alaska-based photographer, Ben Huff, who was being gently chided by a fellow from the sunnier clime of Australia. Checking out the work of pod, I was suddenly at another plateau, admiring some of his dramatically moody shots of buildings in varying shades of darkness. I said so in comments and checked back on him with some regularity. From pod, I got a nice referral to the remarkable Lettuce in UK, who seems to have abilities in everything she touches, with an uncommon grace in her ability to write about her life.

John Fox, a recent student in one of my classes, let it be known that he blogs, becoming one of the few consistently interesting writing blogs I have found. A chance encounter with a writing instructor in Oregon also produced some gold and the coincidence of our having done undergraduate at UCLA.

The happy conclusions from all of this activity is the sense of still being interested in Liz's link list, but of having found my own as well. There is the growing sense that looking at the images of some of these splendid photographers has literally had effect on the things I write and the way I put them down on paper. Oh yes, and this: I am eagerly awaiting a small package with an item I heard about third-hand, through a classmate of Liz at a photographic workshop. The item is a Panasonic DMC FX-30K Lumix.

I will know I have arrived at yet another plateau on this amazing journey when I am waved off a scene or challenged by someone who resents my attempting to capture an image on the Lumix instead of trying to remember it and catch it on the page.

No comments: