Towards The PeripheryFriday, July 02, 2010
There was my mother. It was a while before I noticed my father. It was when I was around 5 or 6 that I saw myself in a mirror and realized I was me. I was an independent entity even if I did not think it in those words. Between my father and mother came my grandmother and soon my father left. My grandmother died and my father died. I was soon surrounded by a cadre of Brothers of the Holy Cross who became my surrogate fathers. They were really good.
I married Rosemary and we had two children. My mother died and we became a core not much different from the one I had shared with my father and mother. The core moved to Vancouver and I was soon surrounded by friends and workmates and very large entity of people I photographed. I would run into them in the street. When you photograph 80 lawyers at Harper Gray Easton it is difficult not to run into one of them here and there. I remember going to see a Tom Clancy film with my daughter Hilary at the Stanley. It was one of the few times I ever went anywhere were I did not run into someone I knew. It would have seemed that most of my lefty friends would not have been caught going to see such a film.
For years I kept my piles of Letts diaries and I had the ritual of transferring names and phone numbers from one year to the next in the waning days of December. It was about 6 or 7 years ago that I started crossing out names. My friends were moving away, dying, or had simply ceased to be my friends. Drifting appart was part of it.
Another thing I noticed is that the phone rang less and if it did it was one of my daughters. I kept telling Rosemary that she really did not need to talk to her daughter for an hour or so. But I noticed, too that the calls were a solace. It proved we existed and that they (our daughters cared).
Today a friend called and told me he was going to pass by. This was most unusual in these days for me. I told him that I would cook thin pancakes for lunch. Rosemary does not like to eat pancakes for lunch. My friend gave me the excuse in enjoying something that I could not really enjoy by myself. He brought me a CD. I asked him, “When you listen to music do you listen to it with someone else?” The answer was that he listened to music by himself. This is something that I now find very hard to do. I listen to music in my head and this way I don’t have to make any appearances.
A student in one of my classes objected to me telling the class that a portfolio has lost some of its importance. My student said, “With my portfolio I have become an intern in a magazine that no longer hires you.” It hit home that my circle had somehow closed in and pushed me out of it. I am in the periphery of things. I watched my Rosemary pull weeds from the boulevard grass and I smiled. At least I share this awful periphery with her. We are in it (or would that be out of it? ) together.