Saturday is National Scrapbooking Day and I am celebrating by taking the day off and going away to scrap. So while I'm preparing what to take, you get to see inside my head.....Confessions of a Scrapbooking Mind. Today's post is my reflections on a devotional I read this week that actually had to do with scrapbooking, loosely of course.
"Picture this, years of photographic debris littered hither and yon; some photos crammed in drawers, taped on mirrors, stacked on desks, magnetized to the refrigerator, stuffed in shoe boxes, propped against window frames, crinkled up in purses, pressed in old books, mixed in with the bills...This is indicative of how for years I have handled our family's pictorial history".
I'll confess, this actually makes me cringe. There is something about a picture that has to be treasured, well most of them. I've always had a central location for my pictures, even before I was a scrapbooker, a box that I could go to and retrieve any moment that I had snapped. That of course was before we went digital, when I actually made people pose and didn't just snap away. But the last phrase she uses, 'pictorial history', really hits home for me. This is the way people will know our stories, but pictures aren't enough there has to be some documentation to go along with it. I don't want folks to flip through and think, 'Oh that looks like a nice sunny day.'; I want them to know why there is a picture of that day in the first place!
"I've always meant to organize, alphabetize, and categorize these frames of life, but I'm not naturally organizational, alphabetical or categorical. In fact, I'm more eclectic in my approach to life. Some might say I'm a willy-nilly, helter-skelter, or if-you-can-find-it-you-can-have-it kind of person. Now don't get me wrong; I like a tidy environment. Just don't open a door or drawer without taking some precautions. But if you do pry open a drawer, would you mind seeing if you could find the three rolls of film I misplaced from our family vacation, summer 1992? I know they are here somewhere. "
Enter the digital age. I snap a lot of pictures. It keeps me outside longer than 10 minutes while the kids are amusing themselves. But don't even get me started on Nick's clicking fingers! He actually stood in centerfield of Rogers Center and took a picture of the empty seats, then turned two degrees and took another, and again, and again until he had shot all 360 degrees of the stands! We've been digital since January 2005 and have over 10,000 pictures. (And no, we don't do it professionally at all!). I sat down a while ago and organized all our digital images with the help of some great software. But then we got a computer virus. Luckily all our photos were saved onto an external drive, but they didn't save in order. I'm back to the drawing board, re-organizing all 10,000 with new pictures added daily!
"I also know I need to get a grip on our photos. So I took the following action. First I conducted a pictorial roundup. All floaters were brought into the living room and placed inside Les's grandfather's trunk that presides in front of our couch. This activity actually took weeks, as we rooted around retrieving wayward pictures from strange and unusual locations (medicine cabinet, toolbox, clothes dryer). "
Enter the deceptively good thing about the digital age; I know where all my pictures are. One central location- my hard drive. They aren't cluttered or being destroyed, but when was the last time I printed one?
"Once the majority had been packed into the trunk, I purchased albums of all sizes. Then I sat down in front of the mountainous heap, and in a brief time became overwhelmed with this wide-load project. I couldn't figure out how to separate them into categories. Should it be years, events, houses, individuals, vacations, celebrations, crises or all of the above?"
I love my photo organizing software. I get to put a single picture in several different locations, one photo can be stored in a folder for an event and by each person in it. Then I can search and have all those pictures magically pulled out of the folders and at my disposal. Ahhhhhh. But I am a slave to chronology and often forget about the gems of pictures I have of certain events and picking pictures out of the millions becomes my headache. I still want to include every picture, but there are just too many, and inevitably as soon as I finish a page I'll find THAT picture, the one I wanted to center the whole page around to begin with....
"This brings me to my next dilemma: How does one toss out a picture without guilt? A person's likeness is so personal it seems like a violation to discard them. After all, what if those individuals have rejection issues?"
I giggled outloud at myself when I read this paragraph. I'm an anti-pack-rat and tend to throw things out before really thinking it through. That's only a picture of Brooklyn's toes in those cute sandals, toss it. Only to wish I had it back the next day. Not all pictures have to be of faces, right? Sigh, I guess there will really be millions of photos on my hard drive when I pass on.
"Gradually I'm making progress with the development of our albums and have in courageous moments thrown out a few strangers. I've even parted with a myriad of duplicates. "
The key word here seems to be 'gradually'. I wish I was more up-to-date on my scrapbooks. I often feel like they're missing out on journalistic integrity and becoming glorified photo albums. But this slave to chronology will continue to slave away! Isabella has an album of her first year, and Katy's is almost done as well. Somehow I skipped over Brooklyn so I'll have to go back and remedy that ASAP. I think that when all the kids are in school I'm going to adopt a monastic lifestyle for the hours of 9-3. I will sit in peace surrounded by my photos, sipping hot tea and recalling memories of days gone by. Or maybe not. The best part of scrapbooking is that it's a hobby that will last a lifetime, (or more).
Excerpts from 'Say Cheese' by Patsy Clairmont