Friday, May 27, 2011

Picture Post

Springtime has been a ripe field for photography. Along with pictures taken on campus, such as the flower photos here, I also went on a photography date with a friend of mine. You can see my attempt at portraiture.

Along those lines, in very good news: I have been asked to do my first photoshoot! A friend of mine is also an amateur photographer, and she would like someone to take pictures of her (using her camera). This is excellent for two reasons: first, I get to practice portraiture, and second, I get to practice using a digital SLR.

I'll post more pictures in my regular posts, as you would expect. Since I will be leaving for this trip soon and I have a lot of Spring pictures I'm proud of, I may increase the number of pictures and/or posts in the near future.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I know of no other sight so painful as that of a woman's tears.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It had been getting brighter so subtly that he hadn't recognized the light until he opened his eyes again, and saw the fingers of the sun already reaching across the sky. He willed himself to keep looking, and then in a moment there appeared an orb of ichor on the horizon, dripping gold and red and purple onto the earth below, rising swiftly so that he could almost mark its passage as it climbed. The landscape before him seemed to open to its vitality, drinking in the liquid of life and blossoming into a thousand colors. His skin, too, came alive: the blue-white chill of the morning rapidly turning into a rosy blush.

He looked heavenward, and saw his nighttime guides waving and fading goodbye, until at last even the moon gave him over to the water flashing in the distance, to the trees bending upwards, and to the cliffs shimmering underfoot in red and gray.

- Selections from Songs at Daybreak (Ju'zi's Song)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Time to begin again," and, "Writing as a tool of repentance."

This past semester, I took an English course called "Wilderness Writing." The course itself was interesting - we hiked through Capitol Reef, went snowshoeing, and the rest of the group went skiing (I went to Seattle). The class itself was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the friendship and association with the people in it. (The pictures for this week are either from Seattle or Capitol Reef)

As part of the class, I wrote a series of personal essays. My professor told us, on the first day, that essay writing involves a degree of risk; I responded to that rather negatively and wrote in extended metaphor throughout the semester.

I was truly trying to work on my narrative ability, but mostly, I didn't like writing what I felt. My first draft usually reflected something of which I was ashamed. Please don't think me guilty of any great sin; I was and am not. However, there are certainly things in my life that ought to be better; there were more at the beginning of last semester.

I found a theme running through my writings. Don't worry, I'll spare you the details; they are completely beside the point right now anyway.

The point, in fact, is that writing, the subject of my writing - what tumbled out of me, the only thing I could think of or work into an essay - was my thorn in the flesh - my elephant in the cupboard, the swelling patch of my macular degeneration that I would not see, but which was making me blind.

In some sense, everything I was doing reflected this one major stop- a mental block, a dam to my progression. By writing, I couldn't help but come to face the problem. Patricia McKillip wrote a story once in which a man obsessed with his mistakes writes a book while trying to forget them. In the book, behind every word lies the phantom - he writes stone and means shadow, he writes water and means shadow. When others try to read it, it is only detrimental; when he reads it, his phantom confronts himself.

When I finally sat down to write something "risky" - in which I admitted to myself frankly what was going on - I had to face myself. And change.

And, oh, what wondrous joy! What a relief to no longer "kick against the pricks" (Acts)! What a blessing to have the opportunity of introspection! What an opportunity to know that the losses and mistakes and ills can be made up!

In the words of Tolstoy, that which had been paining [me] dropped away from one side, from both sides, from ten sides, and I could only feel relief (The Death of Ivan Illych). It changed everything about my life - not in obvious ways, but ways which made, literally, all the difference.

It became a change of paradigm, a change of self, the opportunity to begin anew. I'm still working my way into it - like a snake shedding its skin in reverse, wriggling into a new and better form. Not without snags, and lingering stupidity, but moving forward again, at long last. It's a blessing: to have once again my eyes on the horizon, instead of the mud on my feet.