Thursday, September 15, 2005

My favorite junk mail is the stuff addressed to “The Family” at my address. I always bring it inside and show it to my plants. “Should we get cable, guys? Is it time for life insurance?”

I walked through Belltown last night in the dark and the rain to hang out with the photographers. That is how I like Belltown the best—a little dimmer than the rest of the city, with people huddled in doorways and the lights above empty storefronts reflecting off the damp street. We had challenged ourselves to make self-portraits, and I was mulling because I had overthought the idea and so gone nowhere. Overthinking and going nowhere are both things that I do well.)
Waiting for the light across the street from Uptown, an ambulance drove down the street and the sound of a dog howling followed the noise of the sirens down the block. I shivered. Urban dogs prefer to bark instead of howl, and so howling dogs will always keep a sort of horror-movie cachet for me. I am on the lookout for axe murderers when howling dogs are around.

Anyway, the question that had me stuck was the line-or potential lack thereof-between a self-portrait and a picture of myself. (Admittedly, I haven't been sleeping again, have instead been out playing pinball or having quesadillas or wearing pirate shirts or in all ways abusing parentheses right and left.) Is there a difference between the two? I have my thesis about the whole thing, my map of ideas, but I'm having trouble finding the line between this slight personal theoretical gap and my ongoing, boring existential crisis. I feel that there ought to be a difference, a feeling borne of all my years studying art history. Shouldn't a self-portrait reveal some sort of truth? What truth is there to be found in one more picture of my big Muppet head?
None, is my answer so far. I just can't see the point of trying to shoot my elbow in a light that makes me say, “There it is, my self-portrait.” I can't see myself in knees or hands or shadows. But the trouble is that all of my lines are overlapping and I can't tell what I should really be dwelling on and what I should be napping through. And it is entirely possible that all I need is an ice-cream sundae and a hug, and I'll be happily snapping pictures of my toes.
I don't know which way what goes, internet, but it's got me frustrated.

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