13 July 2007

the little death

I was looking through my special suitcase; the one where I’ve stashed every thing that means shit to me. The photos, the letters, ticket stubs, half scrawled notes between friends, random fliers from a gig, stickers, postcards, more photos this time old baby photos.
Looking at the faces in photos (to be utterly corny) is like looking at ghosts. Those people don’t exist anymore, at least not in the same capacity. I know la petit mort is a term that has more salubrious connotations, but for me that’s what this suitcase is…a little death. Opening up coloured envelopes to read letters from friends you thought you would know until you were a pensioner, and laughing at the words written, rotating the pages this way and that to decipher the scribbles they added in the margins as an afterthought.

Talk about ghosts, for three minutes you feel like you are back there again and no one had to get older, or move away or betray you or change into someone you don’t recognize anymore. If only you could redeem the friendship voucher “but look! You wrote here that we would be friends always and you shared your most intimate thoughts with me!”. Although I love photography, nothing conjures up a person more real to me than their words on a page, even better if it’s handwritten (jesus, does anyone handwrite anymore? More’s the pity) knowing they physically took time to sit and arrange these words however clumsily just for you, seeing how their writing morphs into a different style by the time they reach the bottom of the second page.
(Why doesn’t anyone write long languishing letters anymore? Can anything be more real and intimate.)

Photographs are like scents and in a split second waves of emotion and memories come flooding back from this one image. Like the letters, for me it is a complete petit mort. You will never again be the person you were in that photo and it will never exist again, in any capacity. Smiles in the photograph of you or people you cared about belie the heartache and growing up to come in later years which makes the faces in the photo more bittersweet…”enjoy it while it lasts honey..you got some intense shit headed your way” did you enjoy it?

I seldom am in the moment, I’m either too preoccupied with what happened or what might happen to even notice what is currently happening. That is a real damn shame and something I hope to remedy slowly slowly as the brain is a stubborn muscle and it takes more than a few goes to rewire my thinking habits.

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