Saturday, November 20, 2010

In the moment ...

Due to weather conditions beyond my control this morning, I’m at home drinking coffee, and reading “Poemcrazy” by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. The slim book had been gathering dust on my bookcase for over a year, but something prompted me to pick it up and just flip through the collection of writing strategies and meditations.

It has been way, way too long since I’ve written any poetry. The last of the good ones were written before Mom died. It can’t be mere coincidence that death took my poetry along with my mother.

But that’s not of what I write today. The author wrote the following in her essay about how the body reacts:

“I sometimes think poems come from electricity in the air, a hum inside, impulses we can feel in our body. When I sense an electrical charge around a person, event or place, I know there’s a poem in it, waiting for words. Poems are often about something so important to us we can feel the need to write as a physical urge.”

Although she was writing about poem writing urges, I recognized those same feelings or bodily reactions when I come across an image that I have to photograph.

I often am out and about running errands, driving from point A to point B—although I often am seduced by interesting side streets to turn aside from my goal of reaching point B as quickly as I had planned—and out of the corner of my eye I’ll see something that takes my breath away, causes my pulse rate to quicken, elevates my body temperature, my pupils dilate.  I am almost giddy with excitement!

In those instances, I am compelled to stop, or turn around and go back, regardless of the urgency of the errand or responsibility, and take a photograph. There are times when I’ve ignored my bodily reaction and gone on to my appointment or whatever. I always regret not heeding those prompts, because when I later return, the light was always different, the weather had changed, my creative perspective was altered, and whatever spark there was in that image in that precise time was forfeited.

As a parting shot across the bow of this little musing, my feelings in those moments don’t guarantee a dynamite photograph that everyone will go loony over. I’ve taken lots of shots that once I got home and calmly previewed on my computer, weren’t as incredible as I had presumed in the moment.

Nonetheless, as a huge component of my enjoyment of visual imagery, I will continue to rejoice in and act upon my body and soul reacting to creative impulse.

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