Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Of Custom Scrapbooks

My friend D is a freelance designer when she's not working her boring day job. She is particularly gifted at scrap-booking and gets orders from people who don't have the time left to imagine. While D perpetuates their memories beautifully she can't obviously capture the subtleties of personal emotions. She is one of the many service providers that help outsource our modern lives.

My first acquaintance with the scrapbook came about when I was about ten years old. It belonged to "Grandpa" next door. It was an used cloth bound notebook on which he had pasted newspaper clippings, picture postcards, stamps, letters and photographs. It was a collection of treasured memories for fifty years.

Grandpa was always happy to answer my questions, his face lit up with joy at the pleasurable old memories. It was not long before I started my own scrap book and writing a journal. I loved the way Grandpa had created a time capsule of his life and wanted to do the same for mine. He showed me how the most trivial things can turn significant when viewed in perspective. Whenever I see fancy scrapbooking kits I remember him. His was the labor of love that need nothing more than a used notebook. I learnt from him that a scrapbook is not a craft project, though it requires abundant imagination. It is a story you tell without words.

Ted Hughes once said that writing is about trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life. Maybe as our lives turn "fuller" we become incapable of taking possession of it through writing or any other means and have to turn to others do it on our behalf. D becomes a ghost writer for the story of another's life. She looks in from the outside to grasp which of their life's minutiae they would value over others. Like a good ghost writer her prose is polished and her storyline never sags. She turns out a book that impresses but does not inspire a wide-eyed ten year old like Grandpa's scrapbook.

I have a box full of J memorabilia that I plan someday to turn into a scrap-book. D has graciously volunteered to take on the project for free. I would not impose on her kindness. I would try to give to J a part of the real me and my own thoughts -whenever I can. If I fail she would still have the box of memories in the raw and know her mother at least tried.

1 comment:

bleu said...

the article in the link is very interesting!