Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stop, look, and write

Though I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy writing, I do remember that at some point in my youth -- 6th grade? -- we had, as our textbook, a delicious book called Stop, Look and Write!

I haven't seen the book in years, but what I remember about it was that there were photos, and we were invited to make up stories about what was going on in the pictures.  And what I remember more is how much I looked forward to those exercises: small wonder, now, that I enjoy pairing images and languages here in this space, with that hiding in my background.

It's a bit like our family excursions to Frisch's Big Boy, those rare occasions when we went out to dinner together; occasions so tinged with joy that for years I was addicted to MacDonalds: the tasty echoes fed my hunger for connection.

So when I saw this boarded-up window, I couldn't not stop to photograph it; couldn't not think about that book that meant so much so long ago.  And what clearer indicator could we have, that everything we see is colored by the past?  Because when I look at this, the white letters on the black, my mind immediately fills in the blanks, makes the word clear, filling in the black background and adding the image of a stoplight, as from the cover of that book -- in much the same way that, in the faces of my children now I see the babes that they once were, and in the body of my husband now I see the slim man he once was.

Nothing, I think, is quite what it appears; everything we hear or touch or taste carries within it the echoes of a sometimes unremembered past.  And, knowing that, why are we so quick to judge?


Maureen said...

A very compelling image.

Louise Gallagher said...

Very compelling! And powerful.