Friday, November 27, 2009

while catching up on my friend's blogs (long overdue) I came across this beautiful gem from Lisa (you can see her link on the right hand side cause I'm too lazy to make her name a link in here right now).

My lover asks me:
"What is the difference between me and the sky?"

The difference, my love,
Is that when you laugh,
I forget about the sky.

Nizar Qabbani

your hands are cold...

I'm at my sister's house. Babysitting her kids while she visits friends in Vancouver for a few days. Patrick is downstairs watching some poorly produced Hannah Montana-esque movie with them while I clean up breakfast dishes upstairs. Its snowing outside, big, beautiful, floating flakes. The kind that makes you remember that Christmas is less than a month away. I'm sitting at a clean table in a clean kitchen that still smells of breakfast (in the good way), drinking eggnog and listening to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack while I watch the snow. It came late this year. This is the first real snowfall that has felt like winter. It has been such a strange fall in so many ways. Lately I've been feeling like I don't know where to the way that things have kind of all been melding together for the past number of months. Even when I finished up something or started something new, it all just felt like it ran together. I don't like that feeling. I love the way things transition and wind down and open up to exploration. I could never live in a place that doesn't have seasons because so much of myself is bound up in the constant cycle of change and movement in nature. That hasn't happened this year, for many reasons in my life, and the long, unpredictable autumn hasn't helped.
But today, watching the snow fall and breathing and listening I feel like something is moving again. Something is beginning again.

Monday, November 2, 2009

told you through the glass...

Its 2:48 in the afternoon. I'm sitting in my office at UofA listening to Album Leaf and watching the sun reflecting golden against the windows in the offices across from mine. I'm holding a book in my hands. An old book. A book that has survived the people who created them, bought them, passed them on to following generations. A book that has seen centuries and wars and disease and natural disaster. A book that has traveled continents and thousands of bookshelves to arrive in my hands right now. Its my job here to document this collection of books in images. I get to scan all the interesting parts of them and I get to photograph them in such a way that gives a sense of the book as a physical object. I like this job a lot. Sometimes it gets monotonous and boring yes, but for the most part, when I look at the images in these books and the knowledge written in them and read the author's name and see them through my camera, trying to get an angle that will make someone half a world away feel as though they are holding it in their hands, I am far from bored. Part of it is the books themselves. They're all manner of texture and shape and colour and they're beautiful to hold and look at and read. But what's more interesting to me is thinking about the people these books represent. The authors who wrote them, the noblemen who paid for their production, the printers whose hands were covered in the ink that pressed against their pages. And then I think about the people who bought them originally, whether they read them, whether they were simply collectors or people who spent a quarter of a month's wages to learn from it, for their children to learn from it. I think about who may have learned to read when they were holding this book or who had this read to them while they lay sick or dying. I think about all the people who have held this book before me in the past 200 years and I am overwhelmed. There's something very personal about history to me. I have a hard time explaining it, except to come back to Dorothy Livesay's poem "Eve" again and again. There's a line in it that I just can't separate from "In fifty seconds, fifty summers sweep and shake me". That's how I feel when I hold this book.