June 1, 2014

Snapshot Stories (W101)

I’m doing something different this month. I have felt lately like I’m losing my edge for blogging. I’ve looked back at my post content, especially since my dad died, and I just don’t like what I’m producing. It was easy to write engaging material last year when I was going through the sturm und drang of early transition, but when times are better it just seems harder to tap into something deep or meaningful. I need to figure out how to be interesting and thoughtful when I’m NOT depressed or suicidal.

So, I’ve put myself up to the Writing 101 Challenge. Basically, starting June 2nd, the Blogging U website will be posting a writing prompt each day. The challenge is to blog about the prompt in any way you see fit, in keeping with the theme or aims of your particular blog. The goal is to write and post before the day is done.

For me, the goal is to limber my brain and fingers back up so that I start writing interesting material again. Since this is meant to be my transition blog, I will aim to sync each post up in some way with that larger theme. I plan to do this everyday, even if that means writing near midnight. (And no, this isn’t like last year when I got sucked back into NaNoWriMo. These are short, quick bursts of published writing, which is a mode I work much better in.)

The game officially begins tomorrow,but I thought I’d get a head start today since (1) it’s a Sunday and (2) they post general prompts everyday anyway. So without further ado …

June 1, 2014 — Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.



Oh, wow, does it feel weird to post that photo.

I could have taken the easy route and opened up a folder from the last year or so — so many transition selfies! –but I decided it would be more interesting to go back two years and see what I could see. And the first thing that struck me was how hard it was to find a picture of myself back then. I actually started at the beginning of June 2012, and it took me until this photo, taken in mid-July-ish 2012, to find myself.

That’s me in the beard and buzzcut. The smiler in the glasses is my son, Daniel. It’s probably him taking the photo using my iPhone. I know he probably took it because this day was a “boy’s only” day out and I seem to recall him wanting the picture. I wouldn’t often take pictures of myself.

In fact, I think that’s the most telling part of this picture. It’s one of about four (there was a second from this day and a couple in August) in my digital files where I’m in shot. This isn’t surprising, as I’m usually the one behind the camera. But these folders contain pictures from my ex’s phone as well. I guess neither of us ever felt like I needed to be on camera. Besides, I was not fond of getting my picture taken back then; I just hated to look at my big, fat self on screen or in print.

Daniel got to take pictures of me, because this was his day out and I was letting him pretty much do what he wanted at the Maker Faire. My son and I have sometimes had trouble bonding (I don’t relate to him nearly as well as I do his little sister) and Maker Faire was something that held things we were both interested in — DIY vehicles, robot competitions, and the Eepy Birds live on stage. By the end of that day we were both dry-mouthed, sun-baked, and foot-sore, but we both had smiles on our faces.

I remember that day well, though like with all pictures of myself back then I’m not very good at remembering what was like back then. I just can’t put myself in the shoes of that fat, bearded stranger anymore. And that’s probably for the best.


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