Monday, May 13, 2013

A Little Album of Love

with my parents at age one

As part of my "Create" motto for this year, I've been reading Julia Cameron's Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creatively, and I have found her books on creativity most inspiring (more on that some other time). A passage I read this weekend inspired me to just do a simple creative project that had been sitting around for a long time: Finally putting the black and white paper photos I have of my first year of life into the little Italian-paper-bound album I had bought for them.

The passage read, "The creative journey is characterized not by a muzzy and hazy retreat from reality but by the continual sorting and reordering and structuring of reality into new forms and new relationships." (Julia Cameron, Walking in this World, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2002, p. 137)

What better way to "sort, reorder and structure reality" than to organize a photo album? Thankfully, this one was going to be small enough (it took me about two hours to complete) since my dad took mainly slides, and so the number of actual prints is limited to those he sent to his parents in Germany (my parents lived in New Jersey when I was born) or to later photos, such as the one above, that my grandfather took when we moved to Germany when I was a year old.




As I glued in the photos and, in particular, when I came across two poems on yellowed onion skin that my grandfather had written for me, I was struck by the realization how fortunate I have been to have always had so much love in my life, and that that love was expressed and preserved in such tangible ways that I can touch it again, so many years later, when both my father and grandfather have been dead many years. I also realized, as I tucked those poems into photo corners so they could be taken out again and fingered and read, that I was creating a little birthday present for myself. My birthday comes later this month, and this album is more than an ordered piece of reality, it's a neat little package of love.

So here's to little tangible creative projects!

7 comments:

  1. You give us good reason to 'save' those family items that will mean more and more as time goes on. Wouldn't have been awful if you had never seen those poems. Think what you'd have missed. My birthday is also later this month. Wish we could go out for birthday cake and coffee some afternoon!

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    1. Nancy - yes, it is indeed a great blessing that those poems were preserved. Nice to hear we share a May birthday! Cake and coffee together would be great!

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  2. I have such boxes of photos from the early years of marriage through the early years of my kids' lives. Then the photos become just a gigantic file on the computer. I want to get more out and do something with them, but I can't figure out what. For special occasions I've created a few of those photobooks you can order online. However, it doesn't quite fit the bill. Thanks for getting me thinking about this again.

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    1. Julie - I agree with you: A photo album with prints and photo corners and tangible items just has a different quality to it than a photo book assembled and ordered online. Not that I don't like those, I have made many myself, but physically assembling pieces is an entirely different experience.

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  3. Hello Annette,
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful memory book, to have such poems, what a gift. Do you remember where you found such a nice little book to put together? Thanks

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    1. Hi - I got the little album at Exposures Online. Terrific shop for all things keepsake and photo related.

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  4. A very worthwhile thing to do, and definitely this is something to be treasured, Annette.

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