Thursday, 19 November 2009
Not giving up
It's been a nice thing taking a photo each of these past nearly 20 days. To tell the truth, I thought I'd probably 'cheat' a bit and post one I already had on occasional days when there wasn't time or I saw nothing of interest. I haven't done that at all because the whole point, it turns out, is the doing it - the practice, every day, however rushed, whatever my mood, of stepping outside myself and looking around.
On work days, often my only opportunity to take a photo is on the way to the office in the morning - too busy to take a lunch break and it's dark long before I leave in the evening. Welcoming, yes actually welcoming a traffic jam because the bus stands still and I can shoot through the window (ahem, spot the ones taken through grubby glass!). Looking for something new or a new angle on the same unvarying route I walk most days, the last couple of miles into the city centre, so I get some exercise. It sets a whole new tenor for the day and I love it.
I think of my father, who in his youth painted (flowers and birds, mostly), played the clarinet in a band and crafted leather bags. And who knows what else. When I had a travel piece published, many years after he died, my mother said: 'Oh, that's like your father. He wrote stuff about his town for the local paper and the tourist office'. I'd had no idea he wrote anything. By the time I knew him, he'd given it all up. So sadly symbolic of how he gave up on himself. I didn't really know him well. He was scarcely there. Exercising our creativity, in however tiny a way, is a way of staying alive inside.