Black and White

Tuesday 31 January 2012

"If you don't recount your family history, it will be lost. Honour your own stories and tell them, too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are."
— Madeleine L'Engle

After Jordan and I travelled to France in September 2010, I compiled our best pictures in a photo book. This probably should have taken me a day or two, but instead, I spent weeks making sure each photo was perfectly edited, captioned, and placed in the correct order. I tried at least a dozen cover images before I found one I was pleased with.

I loved this process so much, that it inspired me to create a photo book filled with the photos, poems, newspaper clippings, and documents that I took from my grandmother's apartment after she died in 2008. I've spent hours looking at shoeboxes full of photos, trying to recognize the faces and places, wishing my grandma was still here to give me answers to my growing list of questions.

Each day I’m uncovering new treasures that I didn’t know I had, like poems written by my grandfather who passed away before I was born, including one that my grandmother kept in her wallet until the day she died. I’ve even unleashed a few family secrets when scouring old documents on, including a marriage record from my great grandfather’s first marriage that tragically ended when his bride died of an embolism when she was only my age.

My goal is to finish this project by the summer, when one of my cousins is getting married. It’s ambitious, because there really are hundreds or even thousands of photos, but after a few false starts, this time I'm commited!

My editorial assistant, Ben.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Monday 23 January 2012
I've never been so stunned by a book's introduction that it's halted me from reading any further. However, in the past three months, I've read the introduction to John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America three times, unable to venture any further. Steinbeck perfectly captures my own restlessness and urge to explore. I have a suspicion that by reading any further, I'll be forced to confront my own need to escape.
“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ship’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, I don’t improve." ...

And so it was …

Sunday 1 January 2012
Anyone who has ever stumbled upon my personal blog will know that I'm big on end-of-the-year recap posts. They're my way of summing up a year gone by, while looking forward to a new one to come.

2011 was the year that I finally started this blog. I first planned to begin Not My Typewriter a number of years ago, buying the domain way back at the end of 2009, but it took an amount of restlessness at work to finally get things moving forward in January 2011. I quickly learned that I gained far more than simply a place to ramble about books I loved, and those I hated; rather, I've gained a community of book lovers, especially through Twitter, who I have loved engaging with in 2011. These 140-character exchanges became something I looked forward to after long nights at the office. 

I look forward to a 2012 that hopefully means fewer long days and nights at work, so I can read more, blog more, and hopefully, travel more. When I was in university, I always promised myself I wouldn't spend my life in a cubicle, staring at a computer screen for hours at a time. While I've avoided the cubicle, the 9 to 5 in an office staring at a computer screen can be exhausting, even though I'm lucky enough to work in an industry I love. I'm not sure that I'm ready to leave it behind quite yet, but I am hoping for at least some adventure this year, made possible by a little bit of financial flexibility since paying off my student loan. I'm itching to be a little reckless, and take some risks I couldn't take before.

I hope you all enjoyed a safe New Year's Eve and a relaxing New Year's Day. All the best and happy reading in 2012.
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