I tore out a few more pages at random: September 3, 1992 and September 19, 1991. Cursing that I didn't get motivated earlier in the day when there was natural light, I ripped and folded paper for the next series of photos. The shapes and textures I created out of the old torn paper were very satisfying, and I found myself neglecting the redacted theme, succumbing to the pure visual. But these pieces need the conceptual structure. Or maybe I do. In any case, the challenge is to merge the two, to have the art piece nestled into the thought piece. And vice versa. It takes discipline and I found myself mentally and physically not up to it fully.
As I worked, I was struck by the juxtaposition of two thoughts: On the one hand, I couldn't imagine getting rid of the details -- the names and places that rooted me in a particular period of my life. On the other hand, it seemed absolutely ridiculous to save any of it. The feelings I wrote about were boringly redundant and trite: annoyance with my mother's lack of compassion, confusion over the direction of my life, excitement about a new relationship. I also considered that none of it was real, rather it was a collection of extremes: angry venting, fearful angst or delirious joy. Where was the mundane middle that really makes up our lives?
Then, a funny thing brought me back to 2014. I decided to make some notes about all of this in my iPad but couldn't find it anywhere. Maddening. I'd had it a few minutes before I started thumbing through the pile of journals but it had vanished. I finally gave up my search and picked up one of my old black books. It was surprisingly heavy. Only then did I realize that my iPad was the same color and dimensions of my old journals. It was a reminder that perhaps I'm just doing the same old thing here -- self indulgent narration of my internal landscape. Maybe I should just focus on taking pictures.
An inquiry into what we choose to reveal and hide from the past.