I’ve been blogging for most of a decade now. I try to keep a consistent schedule, and usually succeed.
Some days, posts write themselves. [sws_pullquote_right]Did you live it? Or did you just document it?
I need to put the gadgets down to really get next to the boys and live something with them.[/sws_pullquote_right]Significant kid milestone? Major celebrity’s death? Slam-dunk. There it is, almost as quickly as I can type. What about something on my mind from the news, or on my heart from church? I know more or less what I’m going to say, which is the hard part, but it’ll take a little massaging to get it right.
But sometimes I go “ummm…”
I start stabbing. If I hit something, and I’m tired and I just need to get something up, then bang bang bang. Click Publish. Punch my whore card. Ten punches and…yeah, never mind.
But if I’m feeling at all pensive, I might ask that maddening meta-question of blogger self-examination:
“Am I doing this just so I can blog about it?”
It’s more circuitous than it might seem sometimes. I mean, you want to do something fabulously wonderful and then document its fabulous wonderfulness, right? But what if you’ve made part of its fabulous wonderfulness (consciously or unconsciously) the fact that you can document it?
With apologies to Marshall McLuhan, what if the medium is overwhelming the message?
I was mulling another manifestation of this phenomenon recently, the night before we took a day trip to the Tennessee Aquarium. I sat and charged camera batteries, prepared SD cards, and so forth, and marveled.
You ever take a moment and think about how ridiculously blessed we are recording our special moments? Most of our phones will take better, and easier, photos and video than good consumer cameras would ten years ago. And good gear today can produce results unthinkable (at any price!) when we were kids.
What a great thing, right? Yes. And no.
Yes, Lea and I want to capture these fleeting moments with our children. (Just how fleeting is achingly evident now that their childhoods seem to have gone to full afterburner.) But that can be a trickier order than you might think. Exactly how important is this?
“Gee, I can’t wait to get back to a computer to see these photos so I can see what I just did on my vacation.”
Did you live it? Or did you just document it?
You take good photos and videos with your head. You experience a magical family time with your heart. Maybe you can do both well at the same time. If so, I’m envious. I can’t. I need to put the gadgets down to really get next to the boys and live something with them.
Our parents often complain that they don’t have enough photos and video of our childhoods. Perhaps such laments partially fuel our drive to capture every single second. Big difference between us and them, though: ours are essentially free. After we pay for our cameras and media, we’re done.
Your dad fussed so much, yet took so few, because a) his shots might have cost $1 each; and b) he only had a dozen or so chances. We take zillions without a thought.
I have a hastily-snapped cell-phone photograph of our very young boys. I don’t remember what we were laughing about, but we were all howling. And the sound of Nathan and Aaron, at those ages, in hysterics is my single favorite aural memory.
I used to look at that photo and wish it was a video, so I could have a recording of that laughter. I don’t anymore. For one thing, that laughter has only gotten more magical in my memory. A recording would constrain it to reality.
More importantly, what if I’d missed it making sure I captured it?
Make the photos. Make the videos.
But make the memories first.