Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Play it again, Sam



I've finished Jack Weatherford's The Mongol Queens, a revisionist history about Ghenghis Khan's wives, daughters and granddaughters. Fascinating book, though I still think his first book, Ghenghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, is better.

It seems to me that certain authors write a really great first book. After that, they write the same book over and over again. With each re-telling, the story becomes weaker. I could name a bunch of examples, but you probably know what I'm talking about.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm writing the same blog post over and over. I often ask myself, "Have I already done this post?" I have the same problem with my pictures. Sometimes, perhaps even after I've placed my finger on the button, I stop, while asking myself, "How many times do I need to take this picture?" - even though the images are digital and therefore easily disposed of.

The collage pic above includes the tower of a church at Sixth Street and Mass Avenue, just east of Stanton Park. I have taken dozens - perhaps even hundreds - of pics of that church tower. It always looks so nice with a backdrop of fluffy clouds.


Little church next to a big church.

Of course performers sing the same songs, dance the same dances or enact the same dramatic roles over and over again. Glenn Gould most likely played the Bach variations thousands of times, for instance. Sometimes I think about the actors who were part of A Chorus Line or Cats on Broadway. Can you imagine what it would be like to do the same show exactly, every night, year after year?

This train of thought, if followed, inevitably brings up the memory of one of my favorite films, Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray lives the same day over and over for 10,000 years, (or so says Harold Ramis, the director). Finally, he figures out that what makes the repetitive nature of life satisfying are acts of kindness, creative expression, and heart connections with others.

There is beauty and symmetry in repetition. I should remember that when I start to censor myself. I meditate every morning; it's the every morning part that makes the practice so great. There is no such thing as too many sweet kisses or loving hugs, right? And I never say no to a strong cup of black tea, no matter how many cups I've enjoyed in the past.

Maybe I shouldn't stop myself when I get in a mood to take yet another pic of that church tower. I like it; my eye is always drawn to it when I cross the park. So - why not? Well? Why not?

19 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

I love watching Elvis Costello "dance."

Reya Mellicker said...

I love watching Elvis Costello "dance."

Reya Mellicker said...

Didn't mean to leave that comment twice, but it seems fitting, so I'll leave it as is.

Mrsupole said...

Every picture you do is fantastic and we always see something different each time we view it, so I say keep on trucking and take the picture as many times as you want. A picture is worth a thousand words and so we keep seeing those thousand words and enjoy eery minute of it.

Your words and your pictures is what makes you so unique. We love this about you.

God bless.

The Pollinatrix said...

Well, in my opinion, you definitely don't do the same blog post over and over. In fact, I'm blown away by how you manage to post something new and interesting (and well-written) pretty much daily.

Barbara said...

Most of us are wired to be creatures of habit. As we get older, the memory is often not there to remind us that it's happened before. That's the beauty of aging!

The Bug said...

The really cool part about the first three comments being from you is that we get to see that glorious hair extra times!

Dr. M likes to take pictures of the same things - I see a theme in the pictures he takes on his drives home from work. But they're all just a bit different & tell a different part of the story. I think how we interact with the sameness changes & so the repetition is just slightly different - same enough to be safe & comfortable - different enough to make us notice again...

lakeviewer said...

Good one! Love the video, enjoyed your self-talk, appreciated the dilemma you and all of us face and then noticed your new picture. You're good!

Linda Sue said...

I get what you mean about same same- but you are never that! I have read bog upon blog that seem to be stuck in a groove, same same...but you are always like another fresh new day! LOVED ground hog day- so zen, so "getit?" AND I like that you put dance in quotes, the guy needs some oil in his back bone I be thinkin.
Your photos are always interesting, especially your profile shot. What a babe! A dish! a hot tomatah!!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah, Elvis was not exactly a James Brown when it came to dancing. Perhaps he has improved over time.

One thing I notice is that the way he dressed in 1983 would be thought of as ultra cool right now. The uber cool baristas at Peregrine Espresso wear glasses and skinny jeans just like his. Hmmm ...

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Rosaria!

Pauline said...

every day the sun rises and the sun sets and the sky is always perfect yet always changing. Every time you take a photo of that church it's a different photo from a slightly different angle and a slightly different time of day. for something to really change, you have to change your thoughts about it ;)

love the hair!

Ronda Laveen said...

I'm like that too! I'm drawn to certain things and images over and over. Each time a subject is photographed, drawn, danced, sung, acted and written about, it is slightly different and exposes different layers. Snap on!

TY for the 411 about Temple Grandin. Funny (or not) I do have her book and am about 1/3 of the way through. I love it. She is a fascinating woman writing about a fascinating (to me) subject.

Tom said...

practice makes perfect, eh? i still think you see things differently than most, and your picture taking reflects that

steven said...

i think it was one of the philip glass, steve reich group of musicians who said that repetition is a form of change and really honestly you could post the same photograph twice and accompany it with your words of the moment and the whole piece would emerge as its own childlike form. themes, spaces, expressive needs - well yeah there are those - but here we are!!! steven

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

I love this post, Reya. Often the key to completely understanding something is in the process of going back to it again and again.

As for the church, the sun is never the same, the shadows are never the same, the sky is never the same, and the clouds are never the same...each shot is a new expression. Enjoy!

Nancy said...

I wonder the same thing. I know I repeat myself in my blog posts. Oh well, I never get tired of "hearing" your voice, dear Reya.

Reya Mellicker said...

You either, Nancy!

Dan Gurney said...

Jeez. I've taught kindergarten over 5,000 days in all (29 years), following a routine that holds us all, while looking for opportunities to weave kindness and compassion and joy into the fabric of the routine. It's very satisfying "work" to do and engages me fully. Kind of like Groundhog Day.

Keep doing your posts, Reya. They're wonderful just as they are.


Keep doing your posts, Reya. They're wonderful just as they are.


Keep doing your posts, Reya. They're wonderful just as they are.