I found some photos while cleaning my office the other day, photos from a l-o-n-g time ago. They were taken during a hike through Sabino Canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains on the north side of Tucson, Arizona. The canyon contains some spectacular rock formations and a dessert ecosystem where water runs freely during the rains of winter/spring. And it was a fairly secluded place when I lived there. That’s an important detail.
I’d show you some of my photos, but they’re not digital, they’re not appropriate for a PG website, and I’m not sure they’re meant for anyone’s eyes but my own.
The photos were taken by a boyfriend, and they were “artistic.” Skin and stone and water and light and shadow.
What could be more beautiful? And while they have meaning for me, I’m not sure they would have value for anyone else.
An aside: The top of Sabino Canyon did have the nickname “nipple peak.”
I’m not a photographer, and I do not have the ability to step outside myself while viewing the person I once was in the photos that I’m NOT going to show you. In other words, I cannot judge them with any objectivity, so I’m going to stop talking about them now.
But I am a writer, and when I find old work from my youth stuffed in folders or boxes, my editor steps in. Does this piece strike a chord solely with me, or will others find value in it? Is it purely for the confessional, or can it be shaped to create some sort of universal experience?
Can I now step aside and write about an event as if it had happened to someone else? By removing my ego, can I go more deeply into the story or the character and find things I wouldn’t have been able to see had I not stripped my “self” from the work?
Is stripping the “self” from any work really possible? Is “self” stamped all over everything that I have ever written? Does a writer’s work bear a lasting imprint that can never be washed away? Do we want to wash the imprint away? Do the best pieces of writing contain that indelible imprint?
Is the idea to strip the writing of self when writing while at the same time making sure the writing contains the self that becomes the lasting imprint? And does any of this happen consciously?
I guess I’m just one half of a pair of crows today, the question woman. The answer woman has gone missing. Maybe she flew south for the winter.
That’s it for today, folks. I used up all my energy writing not-so-pithy sayings to fill 600 fortune cookies for our school’s auction tomorrow. “Good fortune comes to those who support the library fund-a-need. Give generously.” Uninspired, and not really a fortune, but to the point, yes? If you’ve got any better suggestions for fortunes—or questions, or answers to questions, I’m all ears.