this public mechanism is so weird, a blog. last entry contained a portrait, i had posted it, removed it, saw jude (www.spiritcloth.com) had posted a portrait, took courage, and posted the pic again. photographs have the strange ability to tell truths and lies that eyes do not. mitigated by skill and equipment, photos are art or tools or messages.
i teach journaling to my students, writing and art combined. for high school kids with emotional issues, the journal is a safe place to express visually as well as a place to practice writing, which is my ultimate goal. so i think a lot about journaling and how a blog is a journal (or not) and what the purpose is. i think about the book as a tool for conveying story. is the blog a journal, a book? the kids use photos in their journals (there IS a connection here) and tell stories with words and photos and art. they make self portraits with film cameras and in photobooth and iphoto. they watch the video Dying to Tell the Story about dan eldon. they come to treat their journals as precious, even as art objects. i journal right along with them. the portrait is a way to see, examine oneself.
i'm convinced books are valuable. even my poorest readers have books they love. and every student i have had has valued the journal enough to take it home in june. the journals grow fat, become sculptural. this year i've selected moleskine large soft covered journals instead of composition books for the quality of the paper and the pocket in the back. will this practice inspire these kids to write for publication, even term papers should they go on with schooling? i'm not kidding myself. but i do think it's possible they will read books to the children in their lives, passing on the valuing of books and stories and pictures.