from my archives: capturing the days

{While I'm in Thailand, I am republishing favorite posts from my archives every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This post was originally published 9/20/12.}

These crafts that I practice (photography, writing), they are so useful for capturing the days.

That moment when the sunflowers drooped and withered? Here it is - glorious!

The changing seasons. The changing faces of my family. The clothes we wore. The way we looked.

And yet at the same time, photography and writing are in the moment. (That's how they capture those memories - they preserve them.)

I tend to be very limited in my looking backward. I do look at my archives, but very rarely and usually it's just when I am looking for something specific. I'd rather stay in *this* moment. I'd rather document for "later."

And of course, when later comes, I am so glad I documented that particular moment. I have had angst about not documenting special memories. I know my own memory is not all that incredible. I know I will forget things that I would rather be able to remember.

I started journaling as a serious practice when I was a senior in high school. If you've been keeping track, you'll recall my 20th high school reunion was this summer. My senior English teacher had us write a page a day about her "Quote o'the day." Every day, Mon-Fri. At some point that year or the next, I read The Artist's Way and started a daily habit of writing "morning" pages. (As a non morning person, my pages were often done at night. I used to feel guilty about that, but I have long since shed that unnecessary guilt! We all must do what works for us.)

What journaling gave me was memory.

{And processing. Oh boy, were there many things I had to process via journaling. But let's talk about that later, ok?}

Now, this is just me: I have a semi-photographic memory. But just for words. I do not understand how this works, but if I read words on a page, I can find them on the exact spot where I read them. I can see (and hear) them in my head. Ditto for writing down words. If I write something down, I will remember it.

This does not work as well for images. Even after years of training myself to see more visually, to compose and take photographs, I still have a very hard time seeing images in my head. I see and hear in words.

Capturing those words is what helps me remember them. Writing is my memory keeping.

But photography? Photography is almost even more important for me, because I can see the images in front of me that I can't conjure up in my head. And there are a few photographs I can almost see, when I really concentrate.

This is why I write, why I started dedicating myself to photography. This is my intent: to remember.

And to be in the moment as I create the memory.