I joined a writing group for a while. I should be in several of these. I like to write and I am not terrible at it. I like words and I know what lots of them mean and I can sometimes string them along so that they eventually believe my lies. The writing group fizzled, even though the titular (weird, awesome word) head, Will Akin assured us we could continue on even if all we ever submitted was a “damn haiku” once a month. I didn’t even get that done and I fell out of the group. I wonder if it persists and I still think I should be a part of it. This has nothing to do with this photo I took out at Smith Rock.
I am not really a sports photographer, but I could be I think. I took lots of sports photos for the 1983 Carroll High School Anchor yearbook. I would spend hours in the darkroom of the journalism classroom. Mrs. Walraven, an odd woman with a hawk shaped face, gave me a key to the classroom where the darkroom was and I was often there past midnight. She trusted me. She trusted no one, except her students. Those of us who could hang in there with her bizarre paranoias long enough to learn how to write a news story or take a journalism photograph or draw a semi-ironic cartoon etc, those of us who did those things, she loved. She was teaching us journalism. I learned how to edit (the lack of evidence in this blog notwithstanding) a story. The facts in order of importance, supported by salient quotes. Cover the five “W’s” and that ‘s it. It is harder than you think. Try it. I loved it. I could remove the silly feelings from the thing and just crank away on the “facts” as I now know they should be called.
So I spent many days of hours in that darkroom. I kissed a yearbook editor in there once. Mostly though I worked very hard at learning photography and how to print photos in baths of developer and fixer and washes. It is incredibly complex. I won’t list all the steps here in the interest of the previously mentioned editing. You can just trust me. Or this example: It’s like playing the guitar. What a ridiculous instrument! It’s hard. Trust me, again. I can’t imagine who thought of it, some demented genius.
We like doing hard things. Must feel good. It does feel good. Sometimes I make my life hard. That is different. It does not feel good, but it is all still me. The important thing is that I hold with all of me, on to me, no matter how hard I have made it. That is the hardest thing I have ever done, every day.