Thursday, October 2, 2014

"This is a Photograph of Me"

This is a short departure from your (not so) regularly scheduled poetry, but I thought I'd share my latest writing. I've been learning how to write memoirs in writer's craft, and the latest assignment was to write a short memoir based on a photo of myself (or part of myself) from this summer.

And so here, for your (maybe) enjoyment, is my first attempt at a memoir.

There’s something about being above the rest of the world that’s so exhilarating. Sitting in the trundling cable car and feeling the wind blowing through my hair felt freeing; I was away from kids and neon coloured rides screeching, the clashing food stalls fumes that are too close to each other, the crowd pushing and pulling. The glare and the blaze of yellow lights were now below my feet, balanced out by the night sky.
As I sat up there, rocking slightly in the breeze, I remembered my cousin telling me about the newest photo trend online she had heard of, where people would take photos of their feet from where they were standing. Out of all of the photo projects my cousin told me about, this one fascinated me: the idea of people leaving behind their temporary marks in moments they deemed important or beautiful enough to commemorate in a single photo.
Although the scene below my feet was less than picturesque, and the CNE was a tourist site that I was never really attached to, I suddenly felt inspired to do my own. I leaned back carefully, stuck out both of my feet, and snapped a quick shaky shot. The lift wobbled as I leaned back forward, and for one panicky moment before I grabbed the safety bar, I thought I was going to pitch forward.
I settled back into my seat and clicked the camera to playback mode. As I glanced at my camera screen, I was surprised to see how well the photo had turned out. There was the greyscale darkness of the night sky and my feet against the bright warm tones of the CNE. The bar that obstructed the lower part of the photo was more than just that: it was the safe barrier of being an outside perspective that I reached beyond to make an imprint. It was a captured moment of chiaroscuro that I couldn’t have imagined composing.
It’s always about the chiaroscuro: finding the balance between dark and light, between observation and participation, between suspension and falling. And it’s when I find that balance that I can leave my own marks behind.

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