On Descriptions, Exclamation Marks and Some Favorite Photos from January

While writing in my journal yesterday, I tried to describe a measuring instrument I had used at work. I failed miserably, and the entry I had expected to be short turned into an exposition on my feelings about high school English and how it shaped my life.

That was not a good explanation. I really haven’t had the mental capacity to write good descriptions in my journals. I’ve found I like to rely on my photos for my descriptive pieces. 

And plus, when I was in junior high (or maybe it was freshman year), I discovered I really disliked writing descriptions, especially lengthy ones. I felt it was a waste of time and that the writing space could be better filled with something else. I don’t know that I identified what that something else was at that age, but perhaps today, I have identified it: a photograph.

The other piece of this puzzle is that my English teacher loved full descriptions with lots of adjectives that painted the full scene in the reader’s mind, and she would replace periods that invoked depth to a serious statement with exclamation marks. I loathed that. I would accept the red marks (which I, as a strange child, would look forward to seeing on my short stories) begrudgingly, and then sink even deeper into my intense disdain of exclamation marks. Not that I don’t use them, but my teammates can tell you I fight when someone suggests replacing a period with an exclamation mark. 

In my mind, I can still see the handwritten narrative of a car crash in winter with a red exclamation mark loudly replacing the period at the end of a man’s sentence. Perhaps the story wasn’t effervescent enough, and my teacher (who loved being called effervescent) needed to add some light in the form of “interesting” punctuation to an otherwise dark tale.

That teacher and our dissonant views on writing shaped and defined my own style through the challenges she gave me.

But it’s only now that I realize why I disliked writing descriptions: I am a photographer, and that is how I show my world.

Here are descriptions of my world lately in the form of some of my favorite photos from January (click on a photo for the larger version and its caption):

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4 thoughts on “On Descriptions, Exclamation Marks and Some Favorite Photos from January

  1. Yeah we know the pain. Writing lengthy descriptions don’t cut well with us too. The captions on the photos are good enough for us! Besides the pictures themselves do a lot of describing…

  2. I do love reading your blog. That alpine ash is stunning. I think these simple things are wonderful and really do make me miss NZ (and now I say it N Zed).

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