truth and lives


I came across a box of old photographs in a flea market the other day and stopped, as usual, to sift through them. Finding a poignancy in each image - bare sketches of lives left lying unclaimed - I was most compelled by these two. With the photos tucked in my pocket, I walked around with scarcely half a mind on the push and noise of real life and the rest filling up with stories about that couple and the pair of girls. 

I dropped money, stepped on a dog and walked so hard into the corner of a table that I knocked over a water bottle and spilled coffee out of cups. That I also cried out (loudly) in pain, directly over the heads of the couple busily mopping up the remains of their quiet breakfast, made the ferocious embarrassment more unbearable. But at least I have these new photographic people to wonder about and no longer blush hotly when I remember my shame.

I think instead about their stories. I think about my stories: those ones I tell myself about my self, my memories, my life. I look at these strangers in the photographs and myself in the glare of the screen; glaring slightly with concentration and seeming a stranger to myself. Sometimes I wonder if the reason I write is because making up stories about other people is frankly more straightforward than sorting out the truth of my own. 

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Reader Comments (4)

These are captivating images. I like the way each person looks so lost in their own thoughts, even though they sit directly beside another, not unlike your experience at the market. I do believe making up stories about other people is easier than sorting out the questions I have in my own life, so I often try and work through some of those questions within my stories. I hope you continue to enjoy where these images take you. They seem wonderful inspiration.
June 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenise | Chez Danisse
"Sometimes I wonder if the reason I write is because making up stories about other people is frankly more straightforward than sorting out the truth of my own." Amen to that.

The woman in the first photo immediately caught my eye, because there's something about her. I can understand the lure to create narratives for such images.
July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHila
Denise, I also find that through writing - whether poetry or prose - I am able to work through my own questions in some capacity. The fact that the focus isn't 'me' makes it possible. And yes, together but apart; there but absent. An interesting tension that makes stories turn...

Hila, I'm so glad you can see the something about the woman in the top photo. She mesmerised me from the depths of the box. Those eyes and that expression! The photo in the flesh is even more revealing. Several times a day, I stop to glance at her - wondering.
July 2, 2012 | Registered Commenterlittle house
What was she thinking, right at that moment as she strains to see beyond the frame? Breathtaking.
July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

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