The sketchbook concept grabbed my attention in the year or so before I joined a memoir writing group in June 2012. I was planning out a series of visual art pieces designed to reflect and comment on the evolution of tradition and community, integrating local maps, archival photos, and history. The geography that had dominated my daydreams was becoming increasingly structured. Around scenery of my kayaking and cycling trips. Around a strong connection to my physical neighborhood. At the same time, I was obsessed with creating abstractions expressing the reaction I had to each location, without the detail. Hence, one of my favorite memoir stories was “Soft Snow Fear.” Writing about these dreams presented even more of a challenge than a “true” story. Real elements were obviously mixed with imagined events. I was fascinated thinking back about the recurrent setting and the consistent, symbolic tone. While it contained some melancholic parts, this was the first lighthearted story I was able to tell, among those of spinal surgery and many other painful memories. I captured a bit of myself through my description of place – geography, season, neighborhood, and home. And I revealed the fragments of my family portrait that I was comfortable sharing. Photos I’ve taken over the past 25 years turned out to be short story frames. I want to share these with you. I am sure that you will care, although the chances are that you are a stranger to me. Nonetheless, I created SB 2013 with my family in mind. Since I went away to college in 1984, I’ve lived significant distances from my brothers, parents, and other family members. I have cousins that I’ve never met who’ve frequently occupied my thoughts recently. From the carefully selected pictures that I photo-transferred via TAP to SB 2013, I adequately represented my feelings about winter, the central character in this story. This is my first photo-memoir sketchbook. I’m now confident that a well-chosen photograph tells the truth.
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