Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Questions, Questions Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink

For those interested, there's a new post up at Conversations about relationships. Am I ready for one? Does faith matter when I consider boys? Click here to find out!


Well, readers, once again you amaze me and make me wonder what I did to deserve your awesomeness. I asked if you had any questions for me and before I knew it you had come up with things that I have been pondering ever since. There was no "What's your favorite color?" (Orange, if you're curious.) I may well have to devote an entire post to each question, that's how deep they are. Hopefully, since y'all were the ones who asked, you won't mind reading through all the answers.

The first question comes from Marcus Aurelius:

"No self is of itself alone. It has a long chain of intellectual ancestors. The 'I' is chained to ancestry by many factors [...] This is not mere allegory, but an eternal memory." -Erwin Schrödinger We are all the end products of an unbroken chain of ancestors reaching back to the moment the first life form was able to reproduce itself. We inherit many things from them, but we cannot be reduced to them. What hidden influences, if any, do you feel from your ancestors, be it intellectual or genetic? What are your eternal memories?

Fascinating question, actually. I have a great-great-great- (and maybe another great?) grandmother who was on the Trail of Tears. For those of you who don't know about the Trail of Tears (and are too lazy to click the link), it was the forced emigration of the Cherokee people from their lands in Georgia to their present nation in Oklahoma. Thousands of Cherokees died because of the U.S. Government's policies, including my ancestor's entire family. But she survived, at the tender age of 14. I sometimes think any strength that I have, when confronting the difficulties of my own life, is a gift from her.

In general, I feel a connection to my Native American history beyond what many would expect. It's a visceral sort of connection, one that I can't explain in any logical way, but that I feel more deeply than I could ever say. I wonder if that's the reason I still believe in magic sometimes, or if that's the reason for my emotional nature. I wonder if that tie is what keeps me listening to the quietude in my soul, even in the midst of chaos. I guess it sounds silly, but I feel it. I feel it deeply.

I'm not sure what else my ancestors have left me. I imagine there are a lot of things about me that seem to be just me but that are really passed down through the ages. Wouldn't it be that way for all of us?

Lulu asked:

How old were you when you got your first camera? And what was it??

Ha, you know, this is a funny question to me. I flatter myself to think maybe this means I have managed to attain some level of respectability as a photographer, that someone might be interested in when I got my first camera and what kind it was. Unfortunately, though, the answer is not so interesting. I'm sure I had a few cameras from my parents when I was younger, but I really don't remember them. I didn't actively start taking photos until my senior year of high school, and then it was only because I wanted to make a scrapbook of my senior year. (I did make the scrapbook, btw, and I'm so glad to have those memories.) But what was I using to take all those pictures at high school dances and football games and girls' nights out? Disposable Kodak cameras. Seriously. They were just snapshots so that I could remember these events and people later.

It wasn't really until a couple years ago that I wanted to start taking more pictures again, and this time I actually thought about how to do a better job of it. So my mom bought me a small digital point and shoot and I started experimenting. It was a FinePix, can't remember the model now, and it was perfect for what I wanted at the time. I carried it around with me everywhere, just so that I always had a camera ready in case I needed one. And some good photos came from that camera, too, so I really couldn't complain.

My current camera is a Canon 10D Digital SLR, an older-ish model, but does everything I want and need for now. I fell into this camera by a stroke of luck and awesome friends. One of my friends is a photographer, and I was asking him for some advice one day about how to get more involved in photography as a hobby. He offered to loan me one of his older cameras to test out for a while, before deciding if I wanted to buy one of my own. After months of borrowing, he and his then-fiancee Tpiglette decided to let me keep the camera as a birthday / graduation / "Thanks for being in our wedding!" gift. So I ended up with a totally awesome camera that takes totally awesome (well, in my opinion) pictures! Woot!

Okay, those two are it for today. More to come soon. And in the mean time, I always welcome more questions if you have them, so bring it on!


Mrs. Chili said...

I love the idea of opening the blog to questions. I don't have anything interesting or profound to ask at the moment, though... it's still early....

Amanda said...

This felt like we were sitting down having a good old fashioned conversation.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What great history! I have difficulty trying to figure out my heritage, it's so awesome you know so much about yours! And so far back! :)

carmilevy said...

Hi there, Lara. I'm with Mrs. Chili: your q&a format rocks.

I have immensely fond memories of my first camera, too. Coincidentally, I started shooting seriously during my senior year of high school. I had worked as a lifeguard that summer, and used some of my earnings to buy a new Minolta XG-1. I deliberately wanted a simple, substantial camera so that I could learn the ropes.

I'm so glad I bought it when I did, as it opened my eyes to a world of images that's been so rewarding in the years since.

And the arrival of blogging has made it so much easier to share the photographic wealth. Good to e-see you again, btw!

Anonymous said...

As I'm sure I've repeated to you several times in your life, my favorite saying from my childhood was that our ancestors on my father's side (Vikings) discovered America and our ancestors on my mother's side were here to greet them when they arrived. I always loved that line!