30 November, 2007


So I have this crazy, obsessive idea; it’s all I could think about today, really.

I am getting a beautiful little camera for Christmas and I am so hungry for it. I’ve missed photography in a big way since coming here; I had to leave the camera I used almost every week at home since it didn’t belong to me. Although I took a photography class at the community college, I am not very experienced or talented photographer. But I love love love it; taking pictures is a strange, inexplicable release for me. (Photographing people is the best.) I am so eager for this camera that I would buy it myself tomorrow, if my parents weren’t paying for part of it in lieu of Christmas presents. So I have to wait. Pooh.

Last week I conceived this idea, just picked it right out of the troposphere, and it has been possessing me ever since. I want to take one photo every day for one year.

Weird, yeah, but it’s the kind of challenge that makes me really excited. I don’t know if I have enough discipline to do something like that, but Kathryn told me this morning that I did. I guess I can believe her; she doesn’t lie very much. So, beginning January 1, 2008, I am going to do this. Calling it The Shashin Project (“shashin” is Japanese for photograph).

I think I’m like my father in many ways; all this reminds me of one specific way we are similar. Dad chooses an obsession (I’m not really familiar with his process of selection) and then he becomes one of the best in that field or does the most he can until he tires of it and picks a new obsession. Some examples: when he was in high school and college, the obsession was running. He won scads of races and broke handfuls of records at Purdue University, eventually culminating in winning the Big Ten award. After he blew out his knee, he took up volleyball and surfing and competed in tournaments on the beaches. Then it was tennis. After teaching himself how to play, he gradually become one of the best men’s singles players in the state. Then it was model airplanes. (I have no idea where this one came from.) He built these strange wooden things and flew them in air shows in the Midwest. Then it was piano. He taught himself how to play piano and read music when he was 40; he bought a baby grand. Then it was guitar. He got me hooked on it and now we both play. Today’s obsession is hockey. He plays for a men’s league and coaches several different teams and plays in tournaments all over the place. Mom calls him, very appropriately, her Renaissance man.

Considering all that he’s done, now I realize that I’m not that similar to him. I’m not universally amazing at everything; that’s his and Kelsey’s realm. But I guess the connection is that we both tend to get very easily obsessed with ideas/projects. In middle school, it was dogs (I read every book about dogs in the library; I can still tell you the temperament and weight of almost any dog breed) and writing novellas. I was obsessed with creating good characters, so I read baby name books to find perfect names and, to visualize characters, I kept a notebook full of faces I had cut out of magazines. In high school, it was debate and guitar. I had to become the best speaker in our region and I had to learn to play more songs than you. (I didn’t become the best speaker in our region, but that was the goal. Maybe it’s just a pride thing?) My obsessions now: buying used books, the New York Times Book Review, and writing English papers. I spend an exorbitant amount of time preparing for my papers; really, it’s excessive. I am so inefficient: I almost re-read the whole novel and then take more notes and collect quotations and write about five possible thesis statements until I finally settle on one that satisfies me.

It’s an exhausting personality trait, I suppose. But it also means that life is never dull. It can’t be, not when you have a plethora of absorbing (albeit useless) interests. So, new obsession, welcome to the family. January, come quick!


Gab said...

Hey Abby!! former penpal from Peru here! hehehe, saw your blog on facebook and decided to let myself in, hope you dont mind.
And when I read this post I just had to leave a comment, because I started a similar project myself a few months ago, and it was all becouse of this http://www.flickr.com/groups/project_365/
I joined and am doing my best to keep up. Hope you find some of he people and photos there as inspirational as I do and did.
Good luck with The Shashin Project!!!

Ivy said...

Oh, obsessions do make life interesting, you are absolutely right to embrace yours.

I have to say I feel rather inspired. I've been meaning to start drawing again, but it's something that always falls to the bottom of my to do list. Perhaps I should draw one picture, even if it's just a tiny little sketch, every day? That is something to think about.

At any rate, I applaud your undertaking, and hope to see the results!

Hope all is well with you, dear.

emiline said...

I hate taking pictures, I love seeing other people's beautiful photos. Looks like I am going to enjoy the fruits of your project. You are, my dear, a Renaissance woman.

eliz said...

and I love that you said Pooh...

please do take lots of pictures! you'd do it well.