Monday, September 11, 2006

Quit Describing Life And Start Living It

This morning I turned on the radio to our local news station for coverage of the 9/11 memorial service. Since it was the radio that first informed me about the 9/11 attacks, I thought I ought to listen to the memorial on the radio. And I did-- until the pompous journalists started venting their pieholes over the list of names that was being read. And what important information did they interrupt the solemn memorial to bring us? To tell us (1) that the names were being read (duh), (2) what had just happened before the names were read (duh duh), and (3) that it was a very solemn occasion and that people were standing around being silent and somber (DUH duh DUH duh DUH). Well, everybody but them, I guess, since they were un-somberly making audible commentary. It would have been report-worthy if people had been in full disco party mode at Ground Zero, but somber? Isn't that kind of the natural state of affairs at Ground Zero on 9/11? I shut it off then, because I wanted to listen to the memorial, not to people talking about the memorial.

My mother-in-law is big into taking pictures. She takes pictures of everything. She had my husband videotape his father's funeral. So my husband was big into pictures too. Everything we did was not complete unless we got a picture of it. It put me under a lot of strain because he had a job that required him to travel every other week, so not only did I have to get the kids ready and herd them in and keep them seated, I also had to take pictures. One day I found myself at Princess' preschool graduation and I realized that I had watched the entire thing through a camera viewfinder waiting to capture just the right moment. When Princess wanted to share the special day with me, I was unavailable to share it because I kept telling her to hold still for the picture. After that day I promised that I would not live my life through the viewfinder of a camera. I would take pictures if it was convenient, but I wouldn't have as a goal the capture of every moment of my life on film. I wanted to live my life first and photograph it second.

Note to journalists: not every part of life needs to be described, especially when it comes down to a choice between experiencing and describing.