were we just images?

Even though the case was heavy I carried it by the handle as I walked into the departure hall. I detested the tiny wheels, first of all because they were feminine, thus not worthy of a man, a man should carry, not roll, secondly because they suggested easy options, short cuts, savings, rationality, which I despised and opposed wherever I could, even where it was of the most trivial significance. Why should you live in a world without feeling its weight? Were we just images? And what were we actually saving energy for with these energy-saving devices?

– Karl Ove Knausgaard, Death in the Family (My Struggle, Book One), p. 210

Knaussgaard

The family is not my goal either. If it had been, and I could have devoted all my energy to it, we would have had a fantastic time, of that I am sure…Every day I see families who successfully organize their lives in this way. The children are clean, their clothes nice, the parents are happy and although once in a while they might raise their voices they never stand there like idiots bawling at them…Why should the fact that I am a writer exclude me from that world? Why should the fact that I am a writer mean our strollers all look like junk we found on a junk heap? Why should the fact that I am a writer mean I turn up at the nursery with crazed eyes and a face stiffened into a mask of frustration? Why should the fact that I am a writer mean that our children do their utmost to get their own way, whatever the consequences? Where does all this mess in our lives come from? I know I can change all this, I know we too can become that kind of family, but then I would have to want it and in which case life would have to revolve around nothing else. And that is not what I want.

Sally Mann in her book, Hold Still

“The voice of despair suggests seducingly to me that I should give up, that I’m a phony, that I’ve made all the good pictures I’m ever going to, and I have nothing more worth saying.  That voice is easy to believe, and, as a photographer and essayist (and my early mentor) Ted Orland has noted, it leaves me with only two choices: I can resume the slog and take more pictures, thereby risking further failure and despair, or I can guarantee failure and despair by not making more pictures.  It’s essentially a decision between uncertainty and certainty and, curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice.”

Real love, the kind that soothes and lasts, is not a feeling, but a verb, an action. It’s about what you do for another person over the course of days and weeks and years, the work put in to care and cathexis.

Laurie Penny