[Journal Menu]

[Home Page]

[Oakland Cam]



[100 Books]

[Other Sites]


SF Chinese New Year Parade

March 5th, 2002

Taking Me Along
Blue Monday? Maybe. Went by like a rocket. In before seven, leave before five. Something happened in those hours. I remember some of them. Really. I do.

I guess I can't talk overly much about being busy. Everybody's busy, everybody has a long commute, everybody has kids, everybody has a hangover on Monday morning (Wednesday, sometimes, and Friday, certainly). Like selling sand on a beach, no one buys. So today, Tuesday, was the same (with one little exception).

Since they've broken up my old work group, we discover we don't go to lunch together as often,Taken at lunch in Oakland so today, needing a break, I went out and wandered around with a camera and shot some pictures. Today is primary election day in California and I ran into two guys, one playing a set of marching drums (As in fife and drums? Those kind of drums.), the other with a sign saying vote for Major Brown (yes, the same ex-California governor "Moonbeam" Brown, for whom I would certainly vote, except he's way ahead in the polls, so I can stay home and feel complacent. Those other issues on the ballot: fuck 'em.). They asked which newspaper I worked for when I shot their picture. (They always ask which newspaper I work for. They hope it's the Chronicle and this is their chance to make the front page.) I tell them the truth and they say "cool!" and ask if I would send them a print if they gave me some money. Sure. No need to pay. Give me a name and address. And they did. Nice guys, crazy as hoot owls, of course, beating on drums and all that, but nice, outgoing. I hope I got something decent I can send them.

Later I ended up in the City Center at a table with a sandwich and an apple and sat watching the people walking around the big freeform sculpture that sits at its center. Nobody was paying attention to a guy eating a sandwich with his elbows up on a table holding a camera, so nobody paid any attention while I took their picture. Color film in the camera, better black and white for this kind of work, but it went well. Thought about doing this again, bringing a longer lens, go through one or two rolls, see what might happen. This is my idea of a good day and it's the memory that remains, the hell with the computer stuff.

There's a delicate balance here. I have not been all that exacting in my photography, I haven't paid attention to some of the basics: getting the exposure right, developing my own film for consistency, thinking more about composition, some of the things I thought about and did years ago when I was younger.

The idea has been to find a groove that carries me along, makes me want (eventually, if that's what it's about) to pay attention to the details, make better pictures, but first, I've felt, I have to find the images that get me off giving myself whatever time is necessary to allow it to happen. I've always forced things in the past, gone at them at four hundred miles an hour, and, although I always made hellacious progress, I always eventually found myself empty handed and empty hearted having sucked the beast dry of whatever life may have been in it when I started. Don't want that no more.

The writing is working in the same way. I have had no inclination to sit down and write something for publication, no interest (dear god!) in starting a book or a short story. No interest, really, in going back and rewriting any of these pieces. I make changes, sometimes, when I go back and read something that makes me wince, but I do a rewrite only if it doesn't take much time. The thing is, I have been writing here, writing this, whatever this is, for some time. And I think that's good. Like the photography, I keep on coming, clean suit, hair parted in the middle. It evolves, it's going somewhere, but on its terms and in its time. I'm happy it's taking me along.

The banner photo taken at the Chinese New Year parade last Saturday afternoon in San Francisco and the second photograph was taken at a recent lunch near Jack London Square in Oakland.