“Zou Ma Guan Hua”
You can’t ride a horse and smell the flowers
Sometimes I love just browsing through old folders of pictures of my kids when they were just kids in every sense of the word. Just seeing the pictures is a visceral experience for me as I try to remember the whole context of each individual picture: Charlie looking like an upside down duck eating fresh strawberries in the garden; Pipo holding a big snowball for the first time in his life; Emma airborne off a rope swing over dark waters; Tommy strumming a guitar twice the size of his two year old body; Kaleigh dressed up as a hippy nine year old singing songs from Jesus Christ Superstar; Ej building a fort in the sweep of maples in the backyard; Margaret in her eternal thoughtfulness staring out at the ocean on a sunset beach–all of these does something, evokes something, and signifies something that I never want to forget.
A picture only tells a part of the story, but it does do an amazing job of setting visual scene in a reader’s mind. As a writer, being able to create this imagery soley in words is essential to grabbing and sustaining a reader’s attention–and often your own as the writer. I personally love the marriage of images and words and sound made so easily possible on these portfolios. To lose the moment is to only see the flower at a distance.
In these last few weeks at Fenn, use your portfolio time as a way to capture and remember as much as you can. After more than twenty years teaching here, I love reconnecting with old students and sit around “remembering the day” this or that happened. Your journal and your portfolio will someday be that place we can gather around and “remember” together, and for you it will always be a place that will give more back than you ever put into it, for these years will always be a great and profound teacher to you. Fenn is a pretty remarkable place, even if right now it just seems normal and unremarkable to you.
Capture now what you can.
Before it’s lost…