Friday, July 17, 2009


Are you listening to me? We all crave attention, I think, of one sort or another. If no one ever commented, would I still blog? Well, yes. I'm writing (and posting pictures) for my future self. My current self pays an inordinate amount of attention to old blog entries and their predecessors, online journals created by my former self. I pay so much attention to myself that I don't need much from others! My tweets would drift off if no one ever responded, though. (I send them to facebook where I have enough 'friends' to get a rise out of a few people there.) But they might still go on even if the silence was deafening. After all the twitter-dom keeps them. Apparently for a long time.

I'm reading a book called "Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life." [Ed. Funny. LB: Shut Up.] Anyway, one point this book might be making for me as I read a few pages here and there is that "we are what we pay attention to." I'm a believer in a true reality...facts and truth are there, just too complicated for us to interpret sanely sometimes. But I also think that our own 'objective' reality is based on what we are exposed to and focus on.

I'm often amazed at comments about pop culture that not only do not resonate with me but indeed leave me as confused as if they were in another language entirely. I went decades without paying attention to popular music, have put up a firm resistance to lots of TV, books and movie offerings (although I'll often read reviews of these things, perhaps to keep up some culture cred for crosswords or just to understand why I don't want to start paying attention to the actual things).

In my world, my husband gets my close attention. My father gets a lot of attention although probably not all he needs. My condo and its objects fall under my gaze and penetrate although it is easy to lock things away, look until you don't see, etc. And a book cover observed is not a book read.

I read news, in actual papers and online. I read about some events multiple times. I read certain bloggers religiously and others casually. Thus, these inputs inform my reality. That and the voices in my head. Reading about stuff, however, isn't living it. I can try to imagine living in a mud hut with a charcoal fire or wearing a burka or risking violence toward me if I didn't. But this is largely unsuccessful. I attend more to the shorts, jeans, T-Shirts, slacks, blazers etc. that I actually wear and to the reality of a tenth floor apartment in a high rise with AC and a microwave and a plasma TV.

I read a study once that followed children from the crib to school age. Kids that were very sensitive to environmental changes in the crib (such as the amount of light) tended to exhibit shyness as young kids. Maybe shyness is simply too much response to things. New people and environments are overwhelming to certain people who pay attention.

Today I took a walk. I noticed people. I noticed an argyle sock in the gutter. I saw a feather, two small rubber heels from shoes (a block apart) and a sandwich container from a convenience store on the sidewalks. Things like this penetrate and get my focus. To no one's surprise I don't focus on great deeds! It's taken me days to do this blog entry for heaven's sake.

[Today's photo is courtesy of the shop window at Haven Gallery on W. Sixth. I still think my photos are art. The ones where I take a more central role, though, maybe not so much.]


Sarah said...

I agree. Your photos are art. Your photos are what drew me to your blog in the first place; then I became interested in what you write.

Linda Ball said...

Why, thanks. Maybe what makes art is one other person thinking it is so!

Annie in Austin said...

Photos of Picasso & Dali showed that life can turn the artist's face into art. Your interesting face in "the central role" seems like art to me.

Annie at the Transplantable Role

something else said...

I think that you write beautifully and have an extremely rare eye for taking photographs. I wish I had some of those qualities. Two things I really enjoy but have never been particularly exceptional at. I post often. I post without comments and I still get a great release after I share my ideas with the world. Even if no one is listening. I enjoy reading and seeing your blog. If people stop commenting. Please do not stop posting!

B. said...

I totally think your photos are art and often remark that to myself!

Love the comment that you pay so much attention to yourself that you don't have to wait for someone else to do it. Uh, me too (understatement)!

deb said...

So....what HAVE you been up to for over a month?

Linda Ball said...

Hmm...a tough one!

deb said...