Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where is Mei Guo?

Near the teacher apartments on the university campus, beside the unpaved road are piles of sand. Four boys created an elaborate military complex with flowers, bricks, airplanes, tanks, and soldiers. As I was leaving, I heard the boys making airplane noises and shouting, "Where is America?"

I usually post a picture in the morning, but this morning I was busy re-writing a letter of recommendation for a friend who wants to go to Canada to work, typing students' writings for the creative writing book, and trying to learn how to knit two socks on one needle using a technique called magic loop. Then I had Chinese corner where I learned that on Fridays people in my city go to the little mosque.

Another reason I didn't post a picture was because I knew I was going to new campus to watch a performance that was being put on for a large group of visiting Americans. I figured, it would be a great photo taking opportunity, but as I was riding the bus to new campus watching for pictures, feelings and thoughts overwhelmed me.

"You are not a photographer. You like coloring and drawing. You like the physical touch of putting lines and color on paper. Why is pushing a button on a camera fun? Plus you have no philosophy, purpose, or motivation for taking photos. Of course, trying to capture a moment in time is a nice way to preserve a memory, but why do YOU want to take pictures?"

As I was thinking all these questions, a window covered with hanging laundry red, pink, and maroon towels, washcloths and underwear caught my eye. Color does fascinate me.

While I was watching the Kung Fu performance trying to capture an action shot, I thought, "This is silly. Instead of being in the moment experiencing the Kung Fu, feeling the power, the action, the ground vibrate under you as the students pound the ground, you are trying to catch a still photograph of this moment. What are you doing? Put the camera down and experience the performance."

With all of these doubts, I decided to stop my daily photo blog. I started it about a week ago with the intentions of only doing it a week, but then I got an email that said, "I really like the photos you choose to post and the aspect of your China life you choose to talk about. Very cool."


Like today how I pushed through yet still failed trying to learn how to knit two pairs of socks at one time, I know that if you keep trying, pushing through the doubts of the mind, doing a little every day, something good will be accomplished and learned.

In conclusion, I will keep trying to take photos. I do like how the photographs inspire me to write about something.


Lisa R-R said...

If you have time, the photos are certainly fun for the readers.
If you don't have time, words are good too!

Dr. Jen said...

It is true. I like looking at photos too. Plus I definitely have plenty of time. I think my confidence got hit last night when I was flipping through some Seattle friends' flickr pictures.

Dr. Jen said...

The verdict is in. The best cropped picture according to people whose artistic judgment I trust is the one shown.