#15 Taking up space and sharing
A load off my mind
I started blogging about Sicily a little over a decade now. My son was a couple of years old when my brother and mother gave me the generous gift of a new computer, so I could start writing my book. I wrote the book and so much more.
My blog posts alone would be able to fill many books. My Sicilian-themed blog slowly transformed into a journal where I share my photography with my thoughts. It's great to share my creativity, and getting some things out of my head is pretty therapeutic. It often gets crowded in my monkey brain, filled with random ideas.
I'm happy you are here to read along. It's like unburdening yourself to a friend. Also, the more you write, the more space you have for other things. Getting a thought out into the page liberates your mind to move on to study other things. Other ideas await your attention and shuffle to the front of the line.
As an ex-pat of twenty years living in Sicily, I've become accepted as a local. Apart from little comments about my accent and general awe that I'm from Australia, I generally blend in.
But since I am restless, I think I am destined to be an eternal outsider, which is fine. I relish the role; it means I see things differently, making me a better writer; my persistent struggle for meaning leads me to exciting places.
I used to get sad when friends and family never found the time to come and visit. At times I used to crave bringing my friends with me on an adventure, having them with me to experience whatever I am. But then I slowly realised everyone has their life paths, and you can't expect them to follow yours, mainly when it entails running off to a Mediterranean island.
Instead of craving my old companions, I use them all for my writing. And sharing so many things here is like bringing my friends along with me. I have a rich internal monologue which I use as my writing voice.
All of my pictures are linked hand in hand; as I write, one another comes up from behind, from wherever ideas come from. So thanks for your lovely comments; I think these words are beginning to flow quite nicely.
We seldom print photographs; they accumulate on phones and S.D. cards. When I first discovered photography just out of high school, developing rolls of film was a big deal. I'd found taking photos and thought it was important to record events (yes, before social media, the internet and smartphones, which are all very new technology).
It costs time and money to print out photos. Albums were bought, and more time was spent sticking images in them, sometimes with quirky comments and captions. I miss this tangible analogue way of preserving photos. Apart from special occasions like weddings, birthdays or births, most things are digitally stored.
Having something tangible is essential, so I've begun printing out some of my photos. There are many online printers with special deals, so why not. Seeing my images in print is exciting. It's as if I've got a roll of film back from the lab all over again. Perhaps I'm beginning to show my age, but many millennials are discovering the joys of analogue film processing, which still has its appeal.
I took the time to review the hundreds of photos I've taken in Sicily. I can recall how I began with my traditional DSLR camera; then I bought my first Digital camera, an Olympus that lasted a good stretch; it allowed me to take endless photos without worrying about the cost and time to develop. Then over the past decade, the technology has just taken off; these days, smartphones take better images than my old Olympus did.
Since then, I've been happily exploring the Canon universe of cameras, which has adapted so well (they also had beautiful film SLRs, my first camera was a Canon). I like how you can have a professional camera's manual functions in a bit of body; it's perfect for street photography because so many of the older models were quite clunky and hard to manage. But saying this, last year, I bought my first Sony, a compact ZV1 which is gathering a little dust as I gather up the courage to do a little video and put myself in front of the camera.
Today there are endless choices on the market, and photography is accessible to everyone, which is a marvellous prospect. Art and self-expression should be open to everyone, as we should all be flexing our creative muscles; this brings so much joy into the world.
I recently read about Vivian Dorothy Maier, 's American photographer; her story was heartbreaking. She worked as a nanny for about 40 years while pursuing photography as a hobby. The images she captured of the people and architecture of Chicago, New York and L.A. and her journeys worldwide are all so beautifully iconic, depicting a lifetime of human history.
Maier took more than 150,000 photographs during her life. The unfortunate thing is that she never shared them with anyone. Her photographic work was discovered after her death. A collector acquired some of Maier's negatives by chance. After being unable to find anything about her, he googled the name on the boxes of the negatives and prints. The search led to Maier's death notice in the Chicago Tribune of April 2009. Since then, her photos have become a viral sensation on Flickr.
It's saddening that Vivian Maier never thought her art was worth sharing. It's a poignant reminder that art and creativity should be shared. Creativity is generous by nature; it speaks freely to others and constantly creates new conversations based on shared emotions and experiences. Share your art and connect yourself to others.
Keeping photos stored in a hard drive is like holding a completed novel in a draw; a new creation's place is in the world.
Vivian Maier's story has inspired me to share more because my photographs are the fruit of my experiences in Sicily. Each photo is a moment, a memory preserved from an individual point of view and time.
I find myself getting into the habit of staying inside all day. It's not a very healthy thing to be stuck inside all day but I find myself getting involved with something, whether it be cooking, reading, writing or working on something that makes me forget the time. Days go by without me realising. So I need to remember to get outside every day, get some sunshine, work a little less and get some movement in.
I have this daily routine checklist where I write in everything I need to do daily and try to check things off like exercise, walking, drinking water, self-care, stretching, cooking, reading, and writing. But the problem is that I don't always manage to put that little tick to cross everything off on the list.
But I am pushing myself to go for walks, get out of my head and try to observe the world around me. I have the distinct sensation that I won't always be in this same space, so I need to document the things around me. Hence this week's photo.
This image is actually down my own street, a tight little ancient sidestreet. Which, to my delight, is filled with tiny little houses that are slowly getting restored.
This former bell tower has been converted into a cute little cottage with probably the most decorative doors in town. I love the exposed brickwork, tiny little balconies and uneven steps. It's full of character and is the typical rustic aesthetic of most small Sicilian villages that everyone falls in love with.
I hate to be long-winded, so I will stop here now.
I'll keep trying to write something worthwhile, well thought out and new here every week, perhaps more often if I get in some karmic writing zone.
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Speak again soon.
With love and light from RDB
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