Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Creative Control

The best thing about getting older is, surely, that your birthday presents get better. By better I don't mean more expensive, more elaborate, or more luxurious. I mean more fitting. As friends and family get to know you, develop an understanding of how you work, they are able to give gifts that suit your mind and life. That must be what people mean when they say: "it's the thought that counts." Of course, you have to understand how you work, yourself, before others can.

I couldn't have had a better birthday if we'd been rich and I was given a fifteenth century manor house in Kent. Every neatly wrapped package I opened said: "I understand and love what you are." They will all aid my work, hugely, and my work is me.

I document everything with a camera. This acts as a memory aid, but more importantly slows me down and makes me really look at the world. Thus, I am able to be pretty specific in my writing with regards the details of everyday life. This camera from Bob will help me see even more as I have full manual control: no more point and shoot for me. He even got me a tripod to keep it steady.

No longer a handbag sort I'd been wanting a rucksack to cart my stuff about, and save my back, for ages. I had begun to think I'd never find one to suit both my size (small) and purposes. But Bob researched and found the perfect one for Stevie to get me: collaboration at its finest. (Picture courtesy of present from Bob!)

About this I am evangelical: yes, I love the smell, feel, and look of paper, I've been known to buy books just for the cover, but I don't need two million sheets of it in my house. Acres of wall will now be freed for paintings, and I'll be able to fit a couch – so I can stretch out as I read and learn my trade – into my study. And reading in a breeze just became a breeze.

This arrived in a huge box from my distant (geographically only) sibs. A healthy baby sister for the subject of my last post.

Kelburn Castle. We went on Sunday because I wanted to practise using my camera. I'm using my 30 year old Pentax lenses so am having to dredge my memory for the meaning of f. stops and the like.

Graffiti detail: my old camera would never have picked up this texture from our fenced off distance. Just imagine what I'll be able to show about household implements, and cake.

So, thank you for all your well wishes, I had a marvellous day, and that marvellousness looks set to continue and grow.


Carole said...

Now those are super nice presents. I can't wait to see more pictures. You find the funnest things to record. Kuddos to your family for the great gifts.

red-handed said...

Nice! I've reached some kind of birthday nadir, and look forward to the day when I just get a cake.

Kim Ayres said...

We'll have to have a photographic day and swap tips and tricks :)

Pat said...

Lucky lucky you! I shall probably be influenced by you - not for the first time and - eventually get a kindle - so much easier in bed.
I'm ashamed to say that in the not too distant past I have looked appalled at a gift horse in the mouth, and thought 'How could they know me and give me that?'
And yes I am ashamed of myself but dissembling is not my forte.
Your presents are all exactly right and well deserved.
You don't look a day over thirty:)

Jim Murdoch said...

I think that’s the great thing about the advent of digital photography the fact that we can record everything. When I was young and had my first SLRs I was canny to say the least. Photos cost money and so I took time over every one, framed it properly and watched my exposure. Now I can fire off a dozen and fiddle with the picture in Photoshop and yet I still find old habits die hard. I'm not that kind of a writer and I’m not that kind of a photographer. My wife’s bought me a new camera bag for my birthday. She got me a new DSLR for last birthday but so far I’ve only photographed myself so I could put pictures up on my blog and I really do need to get out and about with it. For months it’s been sat on a shelf serving as a bookend.

Carrie also bought me a Kindle. In essence I have no problems with e-readers – she bought me my first one about ten years ago so I’m an old hand – but I’ll never prefer them to books. I’m afraid I always want to push the boundaries and so when I got my Kindle I started uploading PDFs and books with tables and hanging indents and it really copes very badly with all of these. But for a straight straightforward novel, words on a page and nothing clever, it’s fine. But give me a paper book any day of the week.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Belated happy birthday wishes from Manhattan! There, as long last, is the pic of the new haircut I've been waiting for. I approve!

I have to ask an idiot question but since you don't actually know me I guess it's okay. Were you intentionally positioned next to the bird so that it seems he is perched on the headrest and whispering in your ear (or pecking at your head)?

I'll never buy an electronic reader. NEVER! DO you hear me!! (Am trying to convince myself more than you.)

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

You are so right. Gifts from others which show a real resonance with one's own thoughts and ideas are so very pleasing and satisfying. We are sure that you shall have great fun getting to know your new camera and recording the incidents in life that take your fancy.
We nearly passed your blog by as it contained the word 'kitchen' ...absolutely not a favourite place for either of us. However, we are so pleased that we read on and have been captivated by your lively and eclectic writing. We are signed up!

nick said...

That's great that people know you so well they can give you exactly what you want rather than yet another embarrassing no-no! Jenny and I still have difficulty buying each other presents because our tastes are just so individual and unpredictable.

Eryl said...

Carole ~ I suspect there will be lots more photos on here once I know what I'm doing with the camera.

Red ~ next year I will want nothing as I now have it all. Cake is the one thing the boys can't do, this year's plasti-coated, supermarket offering was so vile I couldn't even eat a whole slice.

Kim ~ that would be a very dull day for you: I don't even know enough to ask questions, yet.

Pat ~ so, so much easier for reading in bed, and you can vary the print size and make your reading glasses redundant.

One day I'll tell the story of the spiked rubber back pack that Stevie bought me for Christmas: I really thought our days as a couple were numbered!

Jim ~ I agree, digital has made it possible to record everything, and it's also taken the fear out of photography. I used to take my SLR everywhere when I was in my twenties but couldn't afford to use it enough to become proficient. Now, once the camera and its accoutrements have been purchased the cost of practising is next to nothing, so only one good shot in thirty is no longer disheartening. Be interesting if you do get out with your camera, but I guess you have to want to photograph something to do so. I think I document everything because I'm greedy, and afraid of missing something, it's a compulsion.

I hadn't even considered looking at books with tables, how does it fare with unconventional poems I wonder? One of the problems I have found is page numbers: I never know what page I'm on, so citation could be a problem. The thing I really love about it, though, is not having to hold the pages open with my arthritic thumbs. Reading books for long periods of time had become a painful business, and I'd pretty much stopped. Now I can read for hours again.

UB ~ such a non-idiotic question: it looks intended, and I'll have to ask S. who took the shot. If it was, he's surpassed himself!

Glad you approve of the haircut, it's really the same as it was minus about three inches.

If you get an electronic reader you'll have more space for your beautiful first editions. Once I get rid of all my scabby paperbacks I'll get some of those shelves they have for journals in libraries that show the whole cover. A bit like old fashioned plate racks. My collection of lovlies isn't anywhere near as great as yours but they do deserve not to be squashed on Ikea white laminate.

Jane and Lance ~ hello, nice to meet you. I do do quite a lot of kitchening here, recently I went into a bit of a bottling frenzy, and if you scroll down you'll see pictures of what look like specimens in kilner jars. I also have a bit of a cake obsession, but I do get out too so I hope to keep you captivated!

Nick ~ interesting that you and Jenny have been together for such a long time, but still keep each other guessing. I'm afraid I am all too predictable.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like your loved one really do know you, either that or you've nagged them into these great gifts.

For me it's the audio book, I just cant gt into the kindle thing.

Acres of wall sound good though.

Catherine said...

This looks absolutely fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

Eryl said...

Denise ~ let's just say I've learnt not to leave room for interpretation. No nagging is necessary though.

A kindle wasn't on, or even near, my wish-list but I am now totally sold. Goodness knows what my walls look like behind the bookcases!

Catherine ~ you're welcome, thanks for stopping by.

Tess Kincaid said...

Happy Belate Birthday Wishes!! xx

rochambeau said...

Dear Eryl,
Happy Birthday! Your day WAS fit for a Queen. Oh how I long for a new camera, so I truly share in your new Camera joy!

Also, you are such a beautiful woman. I know I've told you before but it's worth repeating. I am intrigued by your beautiful face and exotic looks!


That Ukulele woman that you posted. awhile back just blows my mind. I've watched it over and over. The one you posted was the best.

Khnoum said...

Really sounds like you had the perfect natal day. And Kelburn Castle sure looks coooool. Belated Best Birthday Wishes!

Golden West said...

Hi Eryl,

Birthday greetings, late to the day. How fun to see you in your element - love the pictures! I agree totally, a digital camera takes seeing to a whole different place - lots of fun and adventures in store for you! All best wishes!