Family Photos

When mom was dying the only inheritance I cared about was her wicker suitcase of snapshots.
That suitcase is one of my few concrete childhood memories & the rustle from those Kodachrome leaves carried all the way down that snaking black corridor, amplified to distortion levels.  After she was gone its possession wasn't nearly as satisfying as I'd hoped.  The case was smaller than in memory, more brief than suit, remembered photos were missing and mom, to judge from a breakdown of contents by subject, was more comfortable with landscapes than the people inhabiting them.

On our road trip to Arizona, the last time we were together for an extended period, she burned three rolls of film, thirty-something pictures per roll.  There were maybe ten shots with people in them, the rest were landmarks, cactuses, desert vistas, dutifully captured by her little Instamatic camera and which, now, who cares about? I could re-trace that journey and take functionally identical pictures of rocks and cactuses and big holes in the ground.  That Arizona landscape is still there, unchanged & unchanging.  If you aren't Edward Weston the value of a photograph is in freezing the ephemeral, not capturing the timeless.
People do not erode on a geologic scale.

(an Arizona shot with people, taken by someone else)

Slideshowing through the album of Fuss pics on Flickr put me in mind of that suitcase and how sorting through its contents felt, sliding over an anonymous landscape anticipating the jolt of collision with a familiar face.  And that made me think about this blog, how whatever it began as it's become something of his, an inheritance. Stories about people he's close to, or people he'll barely sort of remember, incidents, events.  Someday he's liable to be looking at this archive the same way I looked at that case of photographs- what is all this *other* bullshit, where are the people I love, where are the stories about my life?

I'm as prone to distraction as anyone & the internet provides an infinity of things that demand to be shared for various reasons, but the blog has been around long enough now that it's not the only venue, or the best, for that kind of stuff- Facebook, Twitter, whatever comes along to replace both of them, works fine for distributing the informational equivalent of pictures of rocks and dirt.

I'm going to re-dedicate the blog to personal stuff, mostly about Fuss, and books, and the past.
Adjust your intake accordingly.

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