Wednesday, April 1, 2009

About Two Inches

Someone once told me that the key to good writing is to write specifically and to concentrate on significant detail.  Only write what you can view through a two inch window.  So I measured and removed two square inches from a piece of card stock and made myself a peephole.  

I don't fancy myself to be a decent writer nor photographer, so this could be disastrous or, worse, boring.  I can claim to be a mom, professional student, and former language teacher so I feel inclined to lay some ground rules for us; a code of conduct, if you will.

1. The two inch window must be uploaded to each post as evidence. 

2. Two inches may be used for observation, metaphor, (authentic) memory (see #3), or imagination.

3. We may not exploit any two inch image with the intent of pandering to sentiment.

4. No two inch image may be used to pontificate on a soap box and commit atrocious abuses of cliche.  Oxymoron.

5. Keep the two inches obscenity free.

6. Write only from looking at the two inches--detach from the moment of capture unless you can artfully express why.

7. Strive to be honest, not creative.

8. The view may be close up or far off as long as the writing addresses only the two inch window.

9. Others may comment on our two inches.  Their observations will help clarify our own thoughts.  It will also foster antiselfcenteredism.

10. Spend time noticing detail and allow the images to speak for themselves.

I became very excited about this project an hour and a half ago.  So I strapped my six-month-old daughter to my chest with one of those fancy slings and set out to find interesting two inch views.  What ensued was a session of genuinely awful, amateur photography so it was wise I included a disclaimer in paragraph two of this post.  As expected, the most powerful part of me wanted to spend time recutting my two inch cut out and purchasing a "two inches" domain name rather than actually writing something.

My hope is that we, both royal and 1st person plural, will spend time noticing.  We are bombarded by far too many 52" views that we forget how meaningful the small can be.  And here I go infringing upon #4.  While I try to muster the courage to pick one of those terrible photos to get us started, begin hunting for your own.  Three cheers for two inches.