“Tell all the truth but tell it slant…” Emily Dickinson
On my walk yesterday, I was thinking about how hard it is to describe things we see every day in a way that makes people feel they’re seeing them for the first time. How hard it is for me to see something as if for the first time. This tiny painting on wood hangs on the frame between two windows in my home office. I see it every day, and I’ve had it for so long, I may have stopped really seeing it at all. Until I was practicing with my iPhone and took this photo. The light slanting across the blinds, the way the color pops out of the white background give it a mystery that usually only exists in an object the first time you fall in love with it. It suggests a story that hasn’t yet been told. I have a great writing mentor/friend who continues to urge me to write about my life, but it seems so boring to me. I think it’s because I’m looking at my life straight on–this happened, then that happened and so on and so on, and none of it leads up to some Big Truth. When I sit down to write my story, I’m expecting to recount the scenes like a court reporter when instead I should try to approach from behind the scenes, to tell them slant. I think that’s why photography fascinates me so much. I’m not interested in keeping a record, like vacation pictures of people posed in front of one monument after another. My favorite photos are the ones I’ve taken when some accidental magic happens that lets me capture or see the object or person in a whole way. And that’s what I long for whether I’m writing or walking out the door in the morning.