Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Red Project

It must be the Catholic short story writer in me that tends to blog only when I can create a vignette or a sermon. I'd like to be a more frequent blogger, who plops down the detritus of the day but I seem to wait for something momentous to happen.

You've been exposed to my dating woes, for which, in some ways, I'm sorry. It brings out the whiniest in me. For a while, I was thinking of the couple of men I liked who did not seem to reciprocate as being "love poisoning". You know, you eat some shrimp & spend the next day violently ill & are shaky for a couple days after.

In the wake of my heart bug, I started a new project, The Red Project. Walking dogs can sometimes be so idiotically boring that I often carry my camera with me. It's gotten so that I've made some prized calendars of my neighborhood & of dogs, at least by people who are under contract to adore me. So in my fit of the blues, I thought it might help to have something ongoing, active, engaging to do, something about love but anti-disappointment.

I decided to start taking pictures of random red things. Some photos worked & some didn't. For instance, an abandoned red shoe made it on to the Brooklyn Heights Blog But some weren't worth the struggle of getting the dogs to hang on so I could snap the damn thing.

I like taking pictures. I can't draw a stick figure without a ruler, so it's amazing to me when my friend Anna, a painter & ceramicist, goes on about my "eye". Who knew? It makes me feel better to have taken a picture, as though I'd done something as creative as making muffins or writing a poem. There is hope when I upload photos into Adobe & then go in to edit them with my very crude abilities. Will they or won't they "rise"? Will they or won't they "rhyme"?

I think I've always liked taking pictures because I remember that when I was a college sophomore in Stratford-upon-Avon on Shakespeare's birthday, there was Moorish dancing on the green & leaning out of a third floor window of a Tudor hotel was a chef. I've never gotten over not taking that picture. It's been more than twenty years. Maybe I'm still trying to take that picture.

The Red Project has taken the pressure off my little foray into dating, although I might still be dating as well. The jury's out & I'm too busy with the book, dogs &, until yesterday, The Red Project to dwell on it too much. Then tragedy struck.

I had taken Boomer & Roger out for a walk in the snow and when we got back to Roger's house, I had to pee violently. I stripped off everything in a big hurry to waddle into the bathroom and my camera -- my primitive, beloved Fuji that my parents gave me a couple of years ago, went crashing to the floor. It takes pictures but the flash is busted & if I set the zoom, I can't move it without turning the camera off.

Last night I took a little tour through readers' comments at Amazon & laid down some, for me, Serious Money in order to reclaim my Red Project.

In the meanwhile, however, I have missed the following photo-ops:

An abandoned Spider Man umbrella in the trash.
A strip of Chinese New Year paraphernalia dangling from a naked tree.
Many wild rain boots.
A long line of men at CVS with armloads of heart-shaped candy boxes & truly awful stuffed animals.
A swatch of red leather hanging in the shoemaker's store.
A swarm of people at the local luscious flower shop making their Arrangements for tomorrow.
A woman with a Southwest Indian bag dangling from her shoulder.
The neon yin sign in the local fortune teller's storefront.

I contemplated buying a throw-away digital camera but I know that trying to upload the disk I'd get back would make me insane. & I have a month's free trial of Amazon Prime so it should be here five minutes ago. Still, Valentine's Day is nearly over & I won't have the knack of it even if the lines at CVS are even more desperate tomorrow evening.

It's kind of a great metaphor for dating. The photos I've seen in my head & haven't been able to take, the photos I've seen in my head that were hopeless when I uploaded them (the three red bottle caps, for example). The photos that are great but blurred. The photos, like the one above, that are almost red & too irresistible not to take & show off. My moderate skill that I've boasted about. The time they steal from the book. How I cheat just a little bit by adjusting this & that with Adobe.

A much more complete metaphor than love-poisoning.

Yep. Morris dancing. With white knee socks & everything.


Anonymous said...

I, too, find it very frustrating when the picture I see in my head does not come out of my camera. For me, it's kind of a metaphor for body image, too. The picture I have of me in my head is never what I really am.

Nan said...

A little commiseration:

(This one got run over by a car.)

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that that was "Morris dancing" not "Moorish dancing" you saw in Stratford.

Unknown said...

Happy Valentine's Day. Loved the post!

Bea said...

In the days before cell phones I had to carry a beeper when I was on call. I hated it. I managed to drown one in a toilet and ran over the second one with the car. Then I got fired so was not issued a third. I guess this actually has nothing to do with your post about taking photos. Happy Valentines Day anyway.

Cindy said...

I love the red project. And the metaphor. And, I prefer Moorish dancing to Morris. Since I have no clue what it is anyway, Moorish sounds way more intersting.

Cindy said...

Oh yea, and dating IS all about me, and so is my blog.

Laura N said...

Frances, your red pictures are excellent. I love the idea of this type of project. Last week when we had an ice storm, I saw a clown statue (for the life of me I forget where) that had a big open mouth smile, and the big icicles hanging down looked like fangs. He was decorated in red, of course, as all clowns are. And as all clowns are, he was scary as shit. I hate clowns. With icy fangs, he was even scarier. I thought of your red project when I saw him, and wished I'd had a camera with me.

I loved your post over on AFG. Great work you are doing.