Friday, March 26, 2010

One photo instead of one thousand words

I blog daily and I blog too many words at a time. I know this. I know my blog entries are way longer than optimal. But I can’t help it. Once I get going, I can’t always make myself hold back.

And the blog just presents too great a luxury to deny myself. Ordinarily, I’m a print journalist and forever constrained by word count. I know that according both to search engine optimization rules and the attention spans of most of my friends, I should write half as much in each blog entry. But I just can’t make myself do it. I did get as far as Googling the phrase “ideal blog entry length” recently. It confirmed what I already suspected: mine are beyond the pale as far as what new media gurus recommend. Oh well. I like to write, that’s all. I spend so much time in my life as a journalist cutting words, writing to word count. In my blog I like to let loose.

But once in a while I wonder why, and I especially wondered why when I saw this photo on my friend's Distracted Hausfrau blog. My friend is a photographer, and her approach to blogging is different: whereas I write hundreds of words in my blog every day, she takes one magnificent photo and describes it with a few sentences. When I saw this photo, I felt like emitting a long sigh. How perfect it is. The essence of simplicity. No words are necessary at all, though she does give a brief explanation about the varying hues of syrup in glass bottles at a maple sugar house she visited. Who needs words at all when you can capture the essence of an early spring Saturday in a photo like this one?

Poems are written by fools like me, but only God can make a tree, wrote poet Joyce Kilmer. And yes, long rambling blog entries are written by fools like me, while Distracted Hausfrau takes one breathtaking photo of syrup in jars with the thin March light seeping through. I spend a lot of time searching for the right words, revising, editing, rearranging, trying ever harder to say exactly what I want to say in the most well-crafted way possible. And every once in a while, I glimpse a better way. I’m not a talented photographer, and I don’t want to give up my blog. But once in a while, a photo like this one makes me catch my breath and just hold off on the deluge of words for a little while.

1 comment:

  1. nancy, i'm so very, very flattered by your kind words! i would probably write more if i made the time to do it. as it is, i, too, spend a lot of time searching for the right words and way of expressing myself even in the short entries i manage to post :)