Musings on Photography

The World

Posted in whimsy by Paul Butzi on October 30, 2009


I think most folks have a drawer in the kitchen where you throw all the stuff that doesn’t belong in some specific place. You go to search for the scissors, and you’re stunned to find no scissors but instead nine loose AA batteries of unknown vintage, a 15″ length of nylon twine, two bullet levels neither of which you remember buying, a doorstop, the leftover screws from an IKEA bookcase, two nails, and a thirty year old packet of thumbtacks. Every time you open the drawer to look for something, there’s a different collection of stuff in there.

My mind apparently has a place like that drawer.

For reasons I don’t understand, occasionally this drawer in my mind pops open and something flies out. Imagine you’re in the kitchen scrambling an egg for breakfast, and suddenly your junk drawer flies open and a packet of blue tack hurtles across the room and lands on your foot – it’s rather like that. I’m sure a psychotherapist could have a field day interpreting this random stuff and telling me what my subconscious mind was trying to tell me.

Anyway, this morning I woke up to find the following had leapt out of my mind’s junk drawer and landed with a thump in my consciousness – it’s one of Wordsworth’s sonnets:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

I have no earthly idea when or where or why I managed to commit it to memory, but there it is.

7 Responses

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  1. julie said, on October 30, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Do you think that stuff floating around in there has some sort of influence on your photography – consciously or not?

  2. Paul Butzi said, on October 30, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Do you think that stuff floating around in there has some sort of influence on your photography – consciously or not?

    It’s hard to imagine that it doesn’t have some influence.

    I just wish my brain had come with a user’s guide. This business of figuring things out by randomly pushing various unlabeled buttons can make me weary.

  3. Markus said, on October 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Well, what can make weary sometimes is probably the greatest strength of the brainware: To accumulate a huge reservoir (unsorted like the drawer’s content, but basically without clear limits) and at the next opportunity throw things at you. Isn’t it that those free form associations are a major groundwork in all creative work?

  4. Anita Jesse said, on October 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    First, you seem to have some pretty amazingly wonderful things in that mental junk drawer. It wouldn’t hurt if we all had a bit of Wordsworth kicking around amongst the useless clutter. Surely “garbage in/garbage out” applies to our minds, whatever creative work we produce, indeed, how we live our lives.

    I am fascinated by the fact that while you recall the sonnet you have no recollection of when you stored the information. Typical of what a muddle our mental junk drawers are.

    I confess that the user’s guide for my brain would probably manage to be so convoluted, yet boring that I still wouldn’t master use of my addled mind much less organize the clutter there.

  5. Paul Butzi said, on October 30, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Well, now. I didn’t awake greeted with the entire sonnet, just the first three lines, and then bits of the rest. Pretty solid on howling winds in there somewhere, and the bit about “for this, for everything, we are out of tune.” In other words, enough to drive me crazy until I looked the rest up.

    The sad fact is that often what floats out is more along the lines of part of the assembly instructions for a Heathkit 10Mhz dual trace oscilloscope I built when I was a high school student. Interesting in the abstract but not very helpful in the here and now sense.

    It’s not like I can reach in there and find useful stuff, like the oil:gas ratio for Stihl chainsaws. Or more Wordsworth. At least not on demand. I almost always get stuff that’s not useful right now.

    You see, if I were designing a mind, I’d store the Wordsworth next to the Frost, or something. There’s a fair bit of Frost stored away, some of which I actually *can* call up clearly on demand. But that doesn’t seem to be the way my mind is put together. Wordsworth apparently gets filed in between the recipe for a Rob Roy and the important things to consider when filling out an IRS form 990. There’s no sense to it at all.

  6. Juha Haataja said, on October 31, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Well written! If a human being had only a simple logical mind, how tedious life would be…

  7. belinda isley said, on November 7, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I stumbled upon your site quite by -happy- accident. Your photographs are wonderful and entries divine….

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