Behind The Lens

My ears are ringing. A girl’s crying in the bathroom. A boy in my class dances fluid-languid by another boy in my class who’s across a girl in my class who is tall and wears crop tops. I scan the disco-ball lit dance floor for what’s ‘in’: short tight mini-skirts that hike up your belly paired with black x-ed tops that your dyed hair can flow over. I wish my hair were long again so I could hide behind it.

Behind the lens and under disco lights, being a photographer lets me observe. Observe, record, document. It’s how I both connect and disconnect, like being a third party in my own reality. It can be interesting, toeing this social middle-ground. Here, I’m simultaneously a participant and an observer. I am a passive agent, an active recorder. An authority, a prop: the photographer.

Disposable Diaries: Tale of Two Cities

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Hopping from the East to the South draws each region into sharp contrast. Against the tall and narrow East, the South seems wider. Twangy recorded voicemails, the norm, strike me as peculiar (“hah-lo, yoo’ve reached–“) Cityscapes turn to landscapes and steel structures melt to lake water. Welcome home, where it’s hotter, quieter, sunnier, brighter, lazier, slower, flatter and bigger.

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Wal-Mart might have lost my first roll of disposable film, but at least they didn’t lose my second. I’m still a little miffed about them (or FujiFilm) losing the first; I’d carried it around for a year, documenting my summer in China, vacation in the Bahamas, life in Philadelphia, etc. But I’ll look on the bright side: hey, they didn’t lose this second roll.

The photos turned out surprisingly well–it can be pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to film. Unlike digital, I’ll have no idea how disposable photos will turned out ’til they’ve been sent off, processed, developed and printed. Sometimes a shot of the living room turns out as washed-out black grain. Other times, a shot of a sneaker turns out to be weirdly artsy. It’s fun. It’s experimental. Generally, though, I’d say you can’t go wrong with landscape film.

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Up until yesterday, when I got the photos, I’d forgotten that I’d carried my camera from one city to another. It’s interesting seeing images of the East juxtaposed with those of the South, watching them go from being gritty and overcast to saturated in blue.

100 Books Reading Challenge

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Started a reading challenge project mid-spring. The goal: read 100 books by the end of summer. The list is inching along, albeit at a slower pace than I’d like. Figured posting the list on my blog would hold me accountable–also, I get to share cool books! (Note: lately I’ve been reading a lot of poetry, comics and lit, in no particular order) Bolded are some of my favorites; I plan to update every 10 books or so.

  1. One! Hundred! Demons!, Lynda Barry
  2. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
  4. Here, Richard McGuire
  5. Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks
  6. Burned, Ellen Hopkins
  7. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
  8. Walking Dead 1, Robert Kirkman
  9. Walking Dead 2, Robert Kirkman
  10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelous
  11. Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur
  12. Partner Track, Helen Wan
  13. Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
  14. Kafka, R. Crumb
  15. Project Jennifer, Jill Rosenblatt
  16. Dignity, Donna Hicks
  17. Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant, Roz Chast
  18. Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig

If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them! 🙂

Last Night

I looked at a trash can strewn and crooked and swore it was art. Saw shadows from fanning lights and searched for the source. Thought things like how can this be? and how am I here? and I’m glad everything just is. But I kept these things to myself until I realized, in steady sobriety, that this was reality. That this was the nighttime. That this was the glittering town spread beneath our legs as strands of my hair swirled around free and one star peered down at us stories up above the ground. Sometimes I still don’t really believe it.

Reverie

September 5th, 2014

There is no fine line between loneliness and solitude, only a clunky, black-Sharpie-esque streak that delineates both. Even though there are many nights I wonder if I know how to be alone, now is one fine, humid afternoon where I seek solitude. For now, I will pretend that I am the only one here surrounded by people, but not. Not in my own little head, at least–let us play make-believe.

Do you remember when that was the highlight of many days? Make believe: let’s pretend we’re this, let’s pretend we’re that. Let’s pretend that there is no now that’s now, only now that’s tomorrow, next month, next year, graduation. Let’s pretend that all the molecules in my body are melting from the dragging boredom that is time, that instead of electron-grounding it is flesh-grounding, that now it is a change of phase! melting, melting, melting into the cement floor, and nobody will ever notice.

And then: when living in dreams was once a thing. When everything felt so real in your head–the grass, the dew, even the way things smelled–you turned into a zombie. You’d vie for the next bout of sleep just so you could fall into the rabbit hole of dreams. You’d spend your waking hours wishing they were sleeping hours, of REM, of dream-state, of somebody whispering your name across a party and you hearing it.