I spent two solid hours deleting probably 300 pictures I had posted at my “arts presence” on Facebook (where I call myself Conger Job) this morning. I felt compelled to do it. Why?
Because inside I was horribly despondent that life had come to in which I feel terribly estranged from most of the people who mean a lot to me. It wasn’t the first time I’ve felt this disconnection. Last August I threw away almost 200 color prints and probably 300 35 mm slides (taken with a cameras that used film) going back to the 1960s when I began to become serious about photography in junior high school. Similar forces consumed me when I burned a pretty expensive Ibanez guitar in my back yard. When I was in my teens, sometimes I was so sad that three or four times (in my LIFE)leading up to high school and never after that) I scraped the blade of a pocket knife against my left forearm or punch a wall until taking some of the skin off but never bleeding significantly. I knew others would think the activity quite disturbing, and I knew I was plum stupid for doing it, I was smart enough to know I didn’t want to HURT myself. I never injured my knuckles and the evidence of the blade activity usually healed itself over the course of a week. I didn’t want to permanently immolate myself. Do you know what I wanted to do?
I wager some readers (sadly) know what I wanted to do.
I wanted to tell the world I wasn’t happy.
Ask I creep toward my 70s, that early illogic has manifest itself in a new way. I want to take back and forget all the happy memories and positive circumstances I captured in fractions of seconds with cameras: the girlfriends, the travels, employers I have served and loved, homes I used to live in, cars I used to drive. I understand that if I get run over by a runaway truck tomorrow, nobody’s going to want to know about the young woman I’m standing with in white suit coat and tie before we went to the invitational at the Leland Hotel downtown in 1968. The discarded pictures, some of them better than average are the loose baggage the passengers throw out the opened airplane door, to lighten the burden, the load, in the effort to make sustain forward motion all the way to landfall and a happy landing. How much are the pictures of strangers I photographed at 20 art gallery receptions over the past 15 years worth today? Weeks after each event, after I posted them on Facebook or showed them to a few friends they were pretty special. Today they don’t exist because in my life today, having seen FEW of them over the past five years, I am metaphorically dead from them as they are from me. So the pictures will join barely recalled names in the dust of vibrant souls which used to be alive to me.
I’m not pitching clothes and I’m not pitching a lot of my books and magazines; mostly books I know I will not want to read again. No time for a garage sale, I’m just downsizing into the dumpster at my employer, traces of the man I used to be. Did you know that once upon a time a popular publisher of a creepy, truly obscene magazine called Hustler published pictures of Jacqueline Kennedy (President John Kennedy’s wife) in the nude? I still have my copy of the magazine and some Playboys and Platinums. I held the magazines in my hands a few days ago after discovering them on a low shelf in a closet. I didn’t even look at Jackie Kennedy’s pictures, TRUE. But I also didn’t pitch the magazines into the trash. They might be useful some day.
Special thanks to the MANY NEW FOLLOWERS of Honey & Quinine, at least 10 over the past few weeks. I wish we could engage in conversational dialogue with each other, on my front porch, two to four of us at a time at table with coffee or wine. To all of you and those special folks who have read my poems and posts for years, again I exhort you to . . . .
Live long . . . . . . . and proper.