Sunday 25 April 2010

When the camera stops and the mind struggles . . .

I often wondered whether the creativity of an individual behaves differently when in  a strange place. I am afraid that it is often so as one is bombarded with an avalanche of images and newer sights that everything becomes a potential object for writing about later. Having been in Belfast for ten days now, I find so many aspects of culture, images and sounds that marvel me that I either want to capture them all in my camera or write about them.

But there comes a point when consciously the mind shuts up and forces one to be still and take in the sheer beauty of the new environs. Yesterday we visited two museums back to back - The Ulster museum and the Lisburn Linen museum. I wanted to take many pictures as I was desperate to freeze the memories but after a point, I could not continue doing that. I stopped clicking like a frantic tourist. I was not a tourist anyway. I just went around quietly taking in the information doled to us. I was quite impressed by the way these museums keep the past alive!

Like the camera, the mind also wants to register so many things. Everyone we meet has something to say about their place, it's culture, music, pubs, heritage, etc. that after a point I find myself struggling to retain the information that is so lovingly passed on to me. I nod and nod and finally give up remembering.

Does that happen to you as well when a lot of information has been passed on to you.

So far so good.


  1. Let me be the first to say, good grief, YES! I love to hear stories and be mentally stimulated. At that point, I am so wrapped up in the experience, how these stories were conveyed to me. Just enjoying the moment. But 1/2 hour after that, I think I could remember about 1/30 of what was passed on. Like I said Neurons disappearing fast!

  2. Gaia:

    Long time. Missed you here. Very true. After a point, the mind just gives way and stops being reciprocative.

    Blessings as always.

  3. Yes, Susan, I'll fanatically try
    write it all down in my ever-
    present notebook. However, all
    becomes obvious, that I need to
    be still, quiet my hands and just
    asborb. What is remembered will
    be what I most feel a passion for
    or most need to remember.

  4. Hi has been a while. I love this post, you said it perfectly. I like to travel with a blank page journal. I write and draw everything that strikes me. It is for me so it does not have to be perfect. I have my own translation and when I read it months or years later, I remember it all. I take photos as well but there is something about taking pencil to paper and drawing the simplest thing that puts you closer to what you are seeing. Hope that makes sense...


  5. Is it not true what the senses discerned,
    and the things that are into the heart burned
    are those that the mind thinks they are earned
    while all others, like a jilted lover, spurned.

    Susan, Enjoy your trip. i take it you are still in Dublin.

  6. "Does that happen to you as well when a lot of information has been passed on to you."

    Susan...does WHAT happen to me when......oh, I forgot what I was going to say--big grin!!!

    I LOVE reading your posts.

  7. Susan, can I start writing a book about how that happens? I've lived my entire life moving from one place to the other. My family took photos, and I have some memories based on those photos. When I got older, got married and started moving around with my husband, I stepped into that life with the mentality I had personally had as a child - I live here. I am not a tourist. Are there photos? There are some, yes. Did I photograph everything I should have? No. Do I have regrets about that? Absolutely not. Every place I have ever lived is Home in my heart. I have the images forever inside my head, and the emotions that well up when the images are conjured. Those feelings are priceless, and so much more pleasant than color on paper. But let me tell you - do take some shots. A few shots are worth the having. Just don't kill yourself photographing everything and miss out on the beauty of "being" in the place. But you already know that.

    BTW, your photo of the church up there in the right corner is exquisite.

    I do hope you're having a blast, Susan! It seems you are... :-)


  8. Well... Yes definitely taking photos or videos is great to see the facts as if live again..
    it's a shame we waste those moments taking pics in an attempt to capture and keep it forever

    but the feeling and insight you get when you travel remains only in the soul and mind and the new fresh air that gives you the fact that you were there- if only for a second... nothing, no one can get you away from that unique moment...



  9. Cynthia:

    The mind takes it all with passion and intensity and that for me is the best :)


    Oh yes, it's been a while. I tried taking a journal but soon gave up. I do take some pictures but then for some time I stay still, as i have mentioned. But then it's all recorded.


    Missed you :( Been quite some time. Hope all is well. I love reading your comments :)

  10. Govind:

    In Belfast and not in the Republic (Dublin) as it is called here. Jilted lover and all eh! I so ferevntly missed reaidng those verse comments. Hope you are doing well and happy!


    You seem to understand me so well. It's absolutely amazing when someone shares a kindred spirit with you. It creates a kinship of sorts. You get what I mean. I do take shots so that i can go back to them but I realise that everything cannot be simply captured. Some space ought to remain for the memories.

    Oh, all churches are lovely from outside and inside (when nothing is going on, you see). There are many here - Presbytarian and Catholic.

    Hope you are having a swimming Sunday!


    You said it! Unique moments seem to attack me in the dozens, you see and that's why I am having troubles -- 'Unique moment(s) trouble.'

    You take good care dear one.

    Joy always.

  11. Lovely contemplations. You are lucky to be born with such a sensitivity and a deep perception of what goes on around you.
    I recognize everything you say, there are so many impressions, that our mind goes on overdrive. Releasing some of what you feel into your writing (as you do) might help.;)

  12. Zuzana:

    Your comments always enable me to connect with myself and feel good in the process.
    Thanks Zuzana. And, the Battenbergs were not bad but they were too sweet for me. Let me try other stuff by Kiplings.

    So long.

    Joy always.

  13. Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean. I travel with a journal and my camera, but no matter how hard I try, I have the feeling that I'm forgetting something.

    So glad you settled in, Susan.

  14. And with that you capture the most sensible feeling a person experiences..! I have experienced similar thing.. my analysis of the whole thing was.. at one point you understand..nothing captures anything better than your own mind.. the whole experience of being there..! Then camera appears to be too much of a nuisance interfering in the process you wanting to experience something you can hold in your memory for a lifetime.

  15. Oh yes. It happens to most of us Susan. We tend to fail in the process of remembering things. Its not possible to capture everything in a photo. The best is to let ourselves enjoy the everything we see (especially when you are in a new place with a new culture).But of course, we have to take pictures too. When we see them years later, they rekindle our memories of that trip or occasion.

    Have a good week Susan.


  16. That shot of the Church was good i must say.Take it easy girl and do what comes to you naturally.Enjoy the place and certainly what appeals to you the most or has left a deep imprint you will capture it enough to later tell us in all it's sensitivity and beauty.Shots are for memories and some memories maybe the best ones are never shot...they remain...'inward eye'...'bliss of solitude'...remember!

  17. dear susan - ah, you are in one of my "homelands" i see - how wonderful for you - and yes, i so totally know exactly what you are saying - and, like nevine, having lived it all, too, know only too well the importance of living it all, transforming from the visitor to the native, so to speak - but do take some photos for re-visiting later - and for sharing - your image of the church is indeed fabulous! i'm sure you will have many many stories and insights from your belfast visit - and by the way, my paternal grandmother's family hails from county antrim ireland -

  18. I found your blog through Zuzana’s and came for a visit. I think you are right, you can get culture overload. When I was in Florence, Italy, going to many museums, after a while, it felt like I had been drinking too much wine. I like museums which show several interesting pieces in a room instead of hundreds of them. Once in Memphis, Tennessee, they had an exposition on Napoleon. They had some selected pieces with good commentaries. I went there years ago, but still remember it well. Your blog looks very interesting, and I’ll be back.

  19. Angie:

    Absolutely! Turning into a semi-native of sorts, Angie. Hope you are well and happy :)


    Hmmm. Cameras, you see capture reality but memories are etched within.


    How can i leave without pictures? I also snatch the memories, though.

  20. Shivani:

    Hello and hope you are well. There are so may churches here. It was dark and so the church looks amazing. I liked the shot as well. Bliss of solitude, I remember. There are daffodils here: all yellow, just like in the poem!!!


    Grandmother! Wow! Then I am here where you would have strolled some day. Great, by Jove. Stories are in the dozens and insights too. How did your travels go? Do tell us about it.


    Welcome and happy to see you here. You have been a true vagabond when you meandered your way from Zuzana's to Susan's.

    Thanks for your kind words. Looking forward to more of your vagabondish meanderings.

    Joy always :)

  21. Happens all the time, but the miracle of all of this is, you remember the exact words n experiences when you wish too, dusted out from the inner most realms of your memory bank:)

    Happens to me many a time and it surprises me that a passing glance or talk or thought, which I never consciously registered then, seems to be picked up by the subconsious mind and eureka...u have it out when u need it, image, word, sound, people, et al.

    Reminds me to give Freud more importance than the mere sarcastic nod or apporval I give him most of the time:)

    So long...

    Hugs hugs n more hugs...



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