Tuesday, November 03, 2009
The Party Or The Pictures
When a girl turns fifteen in Hispanic culture, she has a quincenara, a religious ceremony followed by a huge party where she dresses up and her entry into womanhood is celebrated. With the ritual, the girl's family hires a professional photographer to document what she looks like at this time in her life. The whole party costs a lot of money as do the pictures so more and more frequently, the girl has to choose between having the pictures or having the ceremony. Most girls choose the pictures that make it look as if she'd had the event over the actual event. Which strikes me as truly post-modern and bizarre. Until I consider how many times I've chosen the artificial over the real, the fake over the actual. Like the old Saturday Night Live line, it's more important to look marvelous over feeling that way.
During the rough times in my life, I find myself narrating as if to distance myself and assure myself that I will write about the experience at some point. We know inherently that documenting a thing changes it. This is why reality television doesn't really exist. And this begs the question about photographs -- if you have proof of an experience, does it make it real? I look at old photographs, some staged, some candid and think about the past, try to piece it together even as I'm cutting parts out to fit my version of the story.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Silver makes everything into nothing." Andy Warhol
Drinking novel suggestion: Music Without Words Ann Packer
Benedictions and Maledictions