Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Tonight was the final class of the quarter for the short-story writing class, a group of eight, consisting of six who really wanted to move forth with writing and two who needed the unit credits to graduate. An atmosphere like the June marine layer off the Pacific advances on us as we talk, I in the spirit of giving away the store as it were, giving away gifts of technique that were passed to me or discovered by me in long afternoons and late nights of writing and chasing dreams off into the shadowy corners.

All eight of them had some tangible sense of breakthrough, saying things about their work that were discoveries of what a joy the work can be, a pain in the ass much of the time but a joy in the long, shimmering abstract. If it hurts so much, why do you do it? Who said it hurt at all? Who said the very act of reaching doesn't trump everything.

And so once again, a series of farewells, a wrench away from persons you had come to admire, each for that particular, individual spark of individuality.

Perhaps this is what drew you to the need for a quick fix, a shot of enthusiasm and joy to burn off the emotional equivalent of the marine layer that was sinking over the landscape. And so off to your newfound discovery, the photo blogs. Liz Kuball nails a shelf in the Italian Grocery on De la Guerra Street. Pod has a giraffe that for all its color and whimsicality, reminds me of his iconic band of Easter brothers, the foil-wrapped chocolate Easter bunnies. Lettuce has been busy in Suffolk, nailing landscape as though the shots were old lovers, radiant with the soft beauty of being loved. Shawn Gust blazes out of doors into the heat, eager to get away from the one lonely bottle of beer in the refrigerator, capturing the lived-in magic of place and the people who inhabit the places. Ben Huff, daring Alaska to be natural and forget the camera. And, by chance, a photographer from the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, not all that distant from DeKalb and Flatbush and Junior's cheesecakes, posting a shot of a typographical error in a sign in Starbucks and in the process, being hassled by an employee because Starbucks apparently has a policy of not wanting pictures taken of its premises.

Life, these estimable photographers seem to be saying, goes on in its whimsicality, leaving these flashes of immortality for us to process, reminding us for more times than we can count that it is not so much technique we strive to achieve but process, our way of recording the whimsy of life with our lenses, our pages, our poetry.

1 comment:

Pod said...

thanks for the update!