Lila’s been my inspiration lately. Her photos are of such routine subjects, but every frame is more than that moment. There’s something about them that exudes glamour and intimacy, as if her entire life was filled with champagne and Channel.
I asked her what theory she follows, what equipment she uses, expecting to learn some basic technique I’ve somehow missed. Instead, she tells me she doesn’t do or use anything special. She doesn’t even know what she sets for exposure and tone, cause she always plays around and changes them for every photo she takes. A true Taoist when it comes to photography, and a true photographer after my heart.
“best birthday ever.”, “coolest guy on the block”, “he is the one”, “London, I love you”.
One of my favourite subjects is her perfectly-coifed, impeccably-dressed Norwegian boyfriend. Sometimes he’s just lying by the window, and with his shirt off you can make out the fabric creases that have marked his back, revealing that he’s recently turned over on the bed. It makes you wonder what’s happened, or what’s about to happen. These are the details she’s chosen to capture. These things were important enough for her to pick up her camera. There’s such affection under it all, and perhaps that’s why it’s so fascinating to see how the girl looks at the guy.
It’s the same with Aurora’s old entries:
Rolf is sitting a few feet away from me on a Sunday night and we’re about to play Settlers Of Catan online together. He’ll wake me with a kiss in the morning and we’ll drive to work together. I’m full of a tasty new supper that he introduced me to. We’ve just fucked on the floor.
Do I love him? Or do I love this? How big is the difference?
I’ve always wondered what a person would say if she ever wrote about me the way Aurora wrote about him. To see a lover learning and growing, figuring out their life and the world, and discovering what part I play in all of that.
I always wonder if I’ll ever reach such a complete peace that I’d stop writing completely. One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a place where I could get things down and sort my thoughts out on a page, but I don’t need to do much of either nowadays.
I know so many people who’ve continued writing, even after finding that kind of happiness in their lives. Unfortunately, happiness has robbed them of literary inspiration, and now they have nothing interesting to say. It wouldn’t be so bad if they stopped writing, but they post for the sake of posting instead of having something to say or express or vent, and it reeks of desperation and insecurity.
I used to worry that happiness would make me a boring person too, but now I wouldn’t mind as long as I realized it and gave up this blog. It’s so embarrassing to write out of a belief that it’ll make you interesting. Or even worse, to be oblivious to the fact you’re writing about the most inane things.
It was this succinct wit. She could say so much in a line or two, and anything left unsaid would only serve to feed your curiosity. You’d be given the punchline, this blow that would knock the wind out of you, then wonder what circumstances could have led up to that. I’ve always been after that style, that ability to move people with words the way hers used to move me.
Of course Dolly has to sleep on anything new in the house, regardless of whether it’s your sweater or not. It’s part of the sass, and yet one can’t help but reward her with cuddles and love.
For a few years, I lost her to the happiness (where I hope to lose myself one day) until we spent a rainy day together, blissed out and hopefully obvious only to the check-out lady who scanned all our varieties of chocolate.
Dear Lisa believes in me, and that’s the only reason I believe in myself too.
Take a leaf off a tree. Is it still a tree? Take a single twig off a tree. Is it still a tree? Remove an entire branch from a tree. Is it still a tree? Take off half of the branches. Is it still a tree? Cut down the whole tree, leaving only the stump. Is it still a tree? Many people would say no, it is no longer a tree, though the roots may still be in the ground. Well, where did the tree go? Removing a leaf, it remains a tree, but not by removing all of the branches and the trunk?
In the real world, there aren’t any things as we commonly think of them. A ‘thing’ as we refer to it is only a noun. A noun is merely an idea, a mental construct. These ‘things’ exist only in our minds. There is no tree, there is only the idea of a tree.
I’ve been writing here for almost a decade, pouring 10 years of my life into this blog. I recently considered cleaning up the content by deleting a significant chunk of my old entries; I’m not the same person as when I wrote them, and I don’t even like who I was back then. Not to mention the fact that some are rather embarrassing, like reading your old diary in high school when the biggest problem was what people thought when you wore your uniform cause you forgot it was a Civvies Day.
The problem I was faced with was deciding what should be deleted. People aren’t static; they’re processes, events, evolutions, made up of cells that continually renew themselves on a daily basis. At what definable point can I say these entries are no longer me? It could be argued that even posts as recent as a few months ago aren’t an accurate representation, though there may still remnants of the old me in the habits of my thoughts.
Then I came across this passage in The Tao by Mark Forstater, on the subject of how using human language to encompass and describe a concept such as the Tao is logically suspect: “Reality can’t be enclosed and described by words. Symbols aren’t real in the way that a tree is real, and however much we may delude ourselves that they are, we’ll eventually find that the word ‘water’ won’t quench our thirst.”
I came to accept that the things I write here have never been and never will be a complete reflection of who I am, so I’ve decided to keep all the entries. The ones written by my old self serve as a reminder of who I was, and at the very least, they tell me where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.