Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tired Of Hearing My Own Voice

Friday I was tired of listening to my own voice.

This happens to me sometimes. Sometimes it happens to me for years on end -- and then I speak nearly inaudibly and carry my camera everywhere I go. I got tired of reading news, too -- tired of communication, I think -- Words and the way we use them. Always trying to convince and sway... Not fact. Not touch.

As it happens, it's pretty good timing -- I'm on my own for the next week. As a single mother of two it's quite hard to be quiet as much as one might like -- I grew up in the middle of nowhere, alone a lot -- sometimes even the car noises outside are slightly overbearing. I've been looking forward to this time...

I have been trying to figure out how I wanted to deal with the project during my quiet time. I thought about taking a full out break (not just the break from oil spills I have already had to work to adhere to...), but the assignment I set was everyday for a year. I'm good with assignments -- I think parameters are very important. In college I was assigned a ten-hour still-life drawing. I don't think the teacher really thought we'd do it; But I wanted to see what would happen. There is a richness, a depth and a type of seeing that comes from sticking with a thing. Vision and knowledge change. I love that experience -- and I don't think it can be reached without consistency. When attention is broken, new ideas begin to come -- new experiences and priorities... it's no way to forge...

But I do want to unplug -- at least a bit.

SO: for the next week I am going to ban all research. I'm going to learn something new about oil every day the old-fashioned way. In J-school, I had a prof who was an old Chicago Tribune reporter -- he used to say that when he was a cub they weren't allowed to use the telephone -- because what could you possibly learn or trust without looking someone in the eye...

I wonder how many less people we look in the eye on a daily basis then we did 10 years ago. It's funny, this combination -- disconnecting for connection -- or connecting to disconnection. This has to have an impact on how we behave -- how we treat each other... I'm remembering that famous sociology study about how people will administer pain to someone they can't see -- but find it harder when they get closer.

Distances collapse these days, in this new society of travel and globalization and the internet -- but distances grow, too -- as we are in contact with so many people we don't know or maybe even care to. What do we say -- to whom -- how... We have dinner and talk on the phone. We talk on the phone and type on the computer. Insulation. Isolation. Protection. "We text message our feelings" a poet writes...

So I find myself... disconnecting for connection? Connecting to disconnection? Physicality. Patience.

One of the first things on my list of to-dos is to go talk to the guy who owns the gas station I go to -- see what he has to tell me about oil.

That and go get some (tuna) sushi.

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