Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The "scrap" is key to an enduring scrapbook

David Cassidy has died and along with him, a tiny piece of my gristled heart. When I was a little girl, I purchased with my own money an 8x10 black and white glossy poster of DC that hung in my bedroom for longer than was probably cool.  Over my childhood, the childish bedroom art came down and the rock and roll record album posters went up.  David stood tall in the shadow of that 4x3 foot Frampton Comes Alive poster.  What I'm about to write feels true so I'll slip into memoir mode for just one second to say that my best friend Sherri (I'm smelling her armpit above because that's just solidly funny in a photo booth) made fun of David Cassidy still hanging on my wall. She had older brothers with scary blacklight posters of Ozzie and Alice Cooper and I want to say a panther, so I'm positive she would have shared her opinion about my little 8x10 dreamboat.  I cared what she thought about a lot of things, but I don't feel like she instigated his eventual removal.  A girl's bedroom is her sanctum at the end of the day, and while friends might tease you about your David Cassidy poster, those friends go home at night and....David stays.

I suspect that David actually finally came off the wall around 1977 when he married a Miss Kay Lenz.  First marriage for both.  They looked happy, she was a starlet television actress with gorgeous long chestnut hair and a lot of teeth.  We would have been friends.  I looked at her mermaid dress and her strappy shoes and then I took a good hard look in the mirror (#MeAt14 above) acknowledging that the ship of our romance had sunk. I released my crush on David, being a good girlfriend to Kay, and to be a really good sport about it I cut out the newspaper clipping and put it in my scrapbook.  I will BE the bigger person about this, David.

I went looking for my scrapbook last night when I heard he died, because I was pretty sure he was in there, and he was.  My scrapbook is a chronological mishmash of stuff assembled on the whim of me as high school senior, maybe in summer with some time on my hands to create a portentous masterpiece of my life thus far.  Invitations to bar mitzvahs and sweet sixteens are included, and the scrapbook ends with senior year graduation cards and corsages.  Four critical years of basically, parties.

I never got into the scrapbooking craze of the early 2000s, which was an industry quickly decimated by the smart phone, thank you Jesus.  The execution of these scrapbooks was about precision and tools and themes and perfection.  It was about creating a utopic version of the current state of your family, omitting the fact or scarier yet including the fact pictorially that your toilet training kid pooped in the neighbor's front yard. So precious!  Family stories were told through beaming faces in national parks and words of inspiration and calligraphy and borders and thought bubbles.  To me, it was horrendous.  And worth saying, many moms who had the toughest time managing their hellions had the most perfect scrapbooks.  "Let me just insert you right here inside this bordered page with a smile on your face and GLUE YOU DOWN."

"Scrap" is the key element in scrapbooking.  Scrapbooks should be ragtag, right?  A collection of paper and pressable relics; torn ticket stubs obviously for the BEST concert you ever went to by a band you can't remember, invitations, clippings from the newspaper of cute athlete boys who are "just friends." My scrapbook of the late 1970s, ungainly and dorky like myself, is surprisingly holding up fine without lamination or moisture control. Again, like myself.  I can't recall the meaning of many of the handwritten references or even some of the events for which I had tickets.  However, two best friends from childhood who have died in the past five years are represented through their cards and letters by beautiful accident, just like David Cassidy's wedding announcement. A lot of junk surrounding a few really precious scraps.  As I flip the pages of my scrapbook I feel my thirtysomething parents, I feel the dread and excitement of school,  I feel the music I loved and I feel the friendships I knew.  I feel myself.  It's a dandy time capsule for emotions and sensations without specificity that would otherwise be lost to me.  RIP David, Sandra and Karen.  I would never forget you, but I am so happy to still feel you.

I hope Bobby Sherman is still kickin'.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Focus and light

When our laptop died a few years back, I switched over to my smart phone for pretty much everything.  I take pictures and troll Facebook and google everything and stay in constant touch with throngs of people and keep my calendar. Like you do.  But the underbelly of this decision for me was that communication and correspondence with everyone has grown abbreviated and truncated.  Efficient maybe, but lacking.  Indeed with the immediacy of texting, transactional communication is a breeze.  So helpful with quick questions, flight times and numbers, check ins, and don't even get me started on my love for Bitmoji.  But I'm actually terrible at this efficient style of communication even when the subject is transactional. I wander wildly off course and it becomes defeating for everyone when I send fifty texts to the other person's one:

Ally: What are the last four of Dad's SS#   Need for work form
Me: X-X-X-X.  How are you?  
Me: Today was a hard day, I really missed Nana for some reason, I wonder why? 
Me: How is your weather? How is Billy? 
Me: Have you seen Hidden Figures? So good!
Ally: Um im at work ttyl

I am pretty sure that the Do Not Disturb function on iPhones was invented by guys and gals to block chatty moms.

The one thing that is really impossible to do from a smart phone is write a paragraph. And sometimes I have a paragraph I really need to get out.  The smart world is good for a tweet, a text, a meme, a petition, a list, and anonymity around true motive and being drawn in to a deeper conversation.  It is so easy to disappear into the ether if the conversation gets complicated, yes I'm talking to you. I guess I'm also tired of the uncertainty of being understood in 140 characters, of being pushed around by a PUSH notification existence and a growing unsocial media. Now I'm not a FB quitter, no sir.  I will never be the person who is left behind on the most current American cultural reference and if you suggest something like that, well you can..."Cassshh me ousside, how 'bout dat?"  But in a somewhat regressive move,  I bought another laptop.  I am moving my own conversation back to a more appropriate platform for getting out all my feelings and probing for deeper understanding and communion with my fellow person. I think the occasional blog comment is more life affirming than a hundred likes on Facebook and imagine all the space in everyone's text feeds with me gone! You're welcome, Ally and Liv. 

As for my photography, the iPhone camera technology has sadly kicked my camera's ass to the curb.  Filters and editing compliment my slacker ways.  I have a bit of artistry in me when it comes to seeing the shot, but meh, not so interested in learning how to technically make the shot.  Let's leave that to the geniuses at Apple shall we?  My real camera sits in a bag and I'm not even sure where.  I had my problems with focus and light with my traditional camera, never made better because of my resistance to RTFMD*.  The word manual implies labor which immediately makes me sleepy.  It is a marital issue as much as anything and Chip finally agreed that I bring several other strengths to the marriage so we just let this one go.  

I will try to find my new muse in the Inland Northwest and to find the funny.  The Midwest was so dang easy for material that I'm not sure I can top it but I'll try. 
*read the fucking manual, darling