Writing a Life: Representation in Language and Image
AbstractI recently spent several days reviewing more than twenty-five thousand digital photographs I composed and collected during the past decade. I have been feeling a sturdy need to organize and preserve these myriad and multiple images of quotidian life, each image like a fragment of memory, a trace of the heart’s desire. We know ourselves only in images, written in words and light. My sense of who I am in the world is an effect of language, a sense of presence, a representation, seemingly whole but always fragmentary. In all my autobiographical writing, in every poem, anecdote, narrative, or incident, I perceive myself as a character in a fiction, in a story that has been made up. I am both present and not present; or more accurately, I witness a person who is both me and not me.