Keep going back

I don’t go out to snap photos nearly as much as I used to. But then again, that’s actually pretty normal for me. I go through these constant cycles of taking a bunch of photos, then taking a long break, then taking more, and then disappearing again…it’s a miracle that I’ve managed to stay afloat above 100 followers on Instagram for as long as I have. Really.

I blame Pokemon Go. It’s hard to take world-shattering pictures and catch dank ‘mons at the same time.

But despite how long the break, I always grapple with one thing in particular while I’m out taking shots, and that’s redundancy. The notion that I’ve been to a particular spot already, and any end product I can shape from that repetition is very much just a rehash of what I’ve already formed from that spot before.

For me, with certain spots, there are only so many times you can revisit a spot before you start thinking that you’ve already taken more than you can ask out of it. The seasons change, the lighting shifts by the hour, the people in frame change faces, change names, but the feeling is realized, and there’s only so many times you can ask to borrow that from a particular place before the song turns into a low drone, and the message is lost in the familiarity of a scene seen too many times before.

So you move to the next thing, and the cycle repeats.

But therein lies the beauty of being someone who creates, and being someone who sticks with their brand of art long enough to see the images start to sharpen, the notes start to ring, the words start to sing. You come back to that place after being to so many other places, when the message isn’t as clear as they days you visited day after day, back to back. You’re a bit older now, a bit different, a bit more ready to look at it some other way.

And you do it all again.

Go back to that old spot. Find that forgotten draft. Pick that half-done song up from the chorus. Find the new in the old.

It’s surprising the kind of inspiration you’ll find in the things you’ve already done.

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Keep going back

Consolation

thefam

There will, in fact –

come days where all you remember

is the tug.

The binds pulling

splintering at the seams

ready to snap –

the moments before

rope becomes fray.

Remember, then

the hours without aim

tinged with the aftertaste

of cheap cocktails,

cigarette smoke,

and talk.

Wander again

and return.

Consolation

Journaling bums me out

blog1

Momentary hiatus while I got some stuff with this domain sorted out. Long story short, you’re here, I’m here, summer’s almost over – let’s start chatting again, okay?

Aw, I missed you too. C’mere.

On to my thing of the day now – on a recent trip to NYC, I was sitting in a service at St. Patrick’s cathedral. I’m not terribly spiritual, but my mother is, and I really like staring up at the stained glass and ceiling…stuff….so I came along. We managed to get there from our hotel (The DoubleTree right on Times Square – it was pretty amazing) pretty early and snagged some seats up towards the front.

A little ways into the mass, this young looking guy – couldn’t have been too much older than I am – sneaks up to the aisle I’m in and does that mute gesture that people make when they’re somewhere quiet and want to snag a seat without seeming like an asshole to the people that are already there. Of course I let him take the last seat in the row, and he proceeds to doze in and out of sleep for the next 50 minutes.

I can’t really blame him. Uncomfortable as wooden pews are, the sound of voices reverberating off high ceilings does wonders to my nap game.

But for the moments where he was awake, I noticed him jotting down things in this flip notebook that kept out and at the ready beside him. It was a tiny little thing – smaller than the pads that waiters use to write down your orders with. After a few nosy (but discreet) looks down towards the open page, I managed to make out a few things.

The page looked something like this –

  • 7:00 – landed JFK
  • 9:00 – Mass at St. Patricks
  • Something scribbles I didn’t quite make out FIND THE TRUTH words words words

Guy was journaling as his day went on – keeping track of his movements, thoughts, experiences, and the like, all on that tiny pad. It seemed as though he’d been at it for a while, too. The page was about midway through the shabbily held together pile of notebook paper. My first thought was “Oh, that’s cool. Maybe he travels a lot. Must be nice, having a log of all your thoughts and stuff right there with you to go back to whenever you want”. My second thought was “Maybe I should start doing that”.

My third thought was “Nahhhh, it’d probably suck to read”.

And here’s why –

I don’t consider what I do right now journaling per se. The scheduling is too infrequent (yeah, I know, shut up), the topics get a bit out there, and when it comes down to it – this blog is more of a collection of little vignettes than a day to day narrative of my existence. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing.

And that’s mostly because I feel as though I’d get terribly depressed reading my own daily log.

Monday –

  • Dropped brother off.
  • Went for a skate.
  • Got home.
  • Green juice.
  • Made lunch.
  • Worked out.
  • Picked brother up.
  • Made dinner.
  • Drive other brother to practice.
  • Go home.
  • Video games?
  • Video games.
  • Video games.
  • Sleep.
  • Can’t sleep.
  • Youtube.
  • Youtube.
  • Y….zzzzz….

Tuesday –

  • Dropped brother off –

You get the point.

That isn’t to say I don’t do interesting things. This summer, I’ve been to the Adirondacks, visited a botanical garden, went to Montreal and New York, went to a bunch of different cities for day trips, scored an internship, and had a bunch of great days with my friends. But there’s a lot of minutia building up like fluff, and while some might argue that that’s just part of what you jot down, it’s stuff I don’t really like to focus on. I’d much rather write this blog like I edit photos – choose from a handful of moments that I want to capture and get to work presenting it in the best way that I can.

To sum up – I do cool things, but there’s a lot of boring shit in my life to wade through to get to it. Journalling would really just bum me the hell out. I’ve always been more of a storyteller anyway.

 

 

Journaling bums me out

The Old School

school

I spent my middle school years wearing white polo shirts tucked into dress pants – prayers three times a day, service at the church every first Friday. It’s a routine I only came to know once my parents suddenly decided to pull me away from Piscataway’s public school system and plop me down in a private Catholic school for a few years. Nowadays, they’re (my folks, that is) as devout as ever, and I’m a tad less so, but there’s a lot of good tied into that old school building. The more I think of it, the more I appreciate exactly how good those years were.

Of course, everyone yearns for their childhood to some extend. Hope you’ll indulge me a little here.

The grade system in the school was a bit odd – it was a K to 8th institution with a grand total of one class per grade. That meant that if you started school there in Kindergarten, it wouldn’t be bizarre to go through your middle school graduation ceremony with a majority of the other toddlers you were bopping around with. Couple that with a small class size (I only had about thirteen kids in my graduating class) and you have a number of groups of kids forced by right of proximity to forge a relationship pretty close to family. There were no cliques, there were no factions – just little people constantly in extended interaction, unknowingly making some of the best friendships they might ever hope for.

I don’t talk to many people from there anymore. I don’t think my case is too different from the others.

But ask me if I have any stories left over from that time, and you’d keep me talking for days. I’d be able to quote countless games of football on hard parking lot asphalt. Countless shitty inside jokes that would find themselves repeated and circulated into oblivion. The time we all took a field trip to a shrine and collectively got a stomach bug from drinking the “holy water”. Playing baseball with tennis rackets because our gym equipment was utter shit. Being part of a weird little family, at least for a little while.

The school closed a while back.

Catholic and private schools really aren’t doing so great around where I am, so the story’s rather common. The doors shut from an inability to keep the place running sufficiently. Now the place operates as a…hell, I’m not even sure what it is, anymore. I see people going in there to use the old gym for community basketball games, and the smaller rooms being used for pre-k sessions. But I’m not even sure when and if the other rooms are even still in use. It’s hard not to hope sometimes that I’ll sneak in there one day and find the old desks still in place – marked up in pencil, familiar handwriting and all.

It’s odd walking by places, knowing they’re not what they were. Buried somewhere underneath is the memory. The old routine. The page from the scrapbook. The simplest of things.

 

The Old School

B-Sides

paigethephotographer

I find myself going into my old folders a lot for content to put up on this blog – stuff that never really made it onto my Instagram page because of some minor itch I had about the lighting, or composition, or something like that. But I like putting them up here because those pictures, albeit less measured than my Insta posts, often have a lot more narrative breathing inside the frame – and I’d hate for that to be missed.

There’s a subtle romanticism to a moment frozen in time that sometimes gets lost in the process of editing, tweaking, and molding an image to a more refined picture. In trying to wage war against blown highlights and shadows as consuming as the damn abyss, you miss the lift of her hair on that late winter evening. The snow dusting flecks on her skin. The tiniest of smiles as she squints through the viewfinder. The fingers entwined on the car ride home.

B-Sides