It’s a Visual World

kids 1990
Family shot taken in the fall of 1990. I think. It was about then, anyway.

I’ve never been an avid photographer. Just ask my family. You know, the family whose lives I failed to chronicle on film like a normal parent? Yeah, that family, the existence of which is supported by very little photographic evidence.

In Easter finery, 1992
In Easter finery, 1992

Note that I said very little, not none. I took these photos out of my thin family album and scanned them as proof that I did, in fact, take the occasional photograph. Craig and I are both camera-shy, so I’m not showing you any shots that include us.

Because I don’t have a lot of photos on hand, I often have a hard time illustrating my blog posts. So I’ve been trying to make an effort the past couple of months to take more pictures, so when I blog, I’ll have images on hand.

But then, having images, I didn’t produce any words. Hmmm… perhaps some day I’ll get this figured out.

Today, instead of writing a post and then searching for images to illustrate it as I usually do, I’ll post some photos and then try to think of something to say about them.

I took these on March 20 and called them “The First Day of Spring.” Except it was actually the day before the first day of spring. Either way, they don’t look very spring-like.

1st day of spring 2015 - 11st day of spring 2015 - 2







After a false start or two, spring finally did get here, as you can see:

magnolia tree 04.13.15Here’s the magnolia tree we were told never blooms.  True, it didn’t bloom last year, but it made up for this year. It got nicer than this before it was finished, but I was so happy to see the blossoms, I took the photo before they were fully open.

magnolia blossoms 04.13.15We took advantage of the beautiful weather one Sunday afternoon recently and took a hike along a short portion of the Great Allegany Passage. A person with a lot of time and ambition can hike or bike this old rail trail from Pittsburg, PA to Cumberland, MD, where it meets up with the C & O Canal Towpath that can be followed into Washington, DC.

Not being that ambitious, we merely walked from Frostburg, Maryland across the state line into Pennsylvania and then back, a distance of 6 or 7 miles.Borden Tunnel 04.13.15

Oh, no, wait — we never did cross into PA, but stopped just past the Borden Tunnel.

There are several tunnels along this trail. This one was wide enough to accommodate two sets of railroad tracks, though they’ve long since been torn up. About five miles north of this one is the Big Savage Tunnel — it’s three times as long as Borden, but only wide enough for one train at a time. We didn’t get that far along the trail, though.

048Earlier, with the grandkids, we visited the Paw Paw Tunnel on the aforementioned C & O Towpath. I didn’t have my camera that day, but my daughter had hers, and I’ve stolen a couple of her photos.

And no, the kids weren’t supposed to be on those stair step rocks. But seriously — wouldn’t you climb them if you were there?

Our trip to Paw Paw Tunnel was a lot of fun. Maybe someday we’ll get up to Big Savage to see which we like better.0431

The photo on the right shows the trail along the far side of the Paw Paw Tunnel, with a remnant of the C & O canal alongside it. This is the same trail that will take you (if you’re hardy enough to follow it) from Pittsburgh to DC. If you want to make the trip, let me know. I’ll meet you at Cumberland to cheer you on.

The stinker 04.12.15When we followed the trail near Frostburg, Craig stopped to rest on a rock that seemed to be placed there just for that purpose. I tried to convince him to strike “The Thinker” pose, but he wouldn’t do it.  Then he said something about having indigestion. So I suggested he strike a pose similar to “The Thinker” but half-sitting/ half-standing, and I’d entitle it “The Stinker.” I thought that would make a great addition to my blog, but he wouldn’t play. What a spoil-sport.

They say (“they” being people who love cliches) that a picture is worth a thousand words.thinker If that’s true, then this post now imparts more than 11,000 words’ worth of information.

Though I like photos, I’m not as visually oriented as it seems most people are. I’d rather read written instructions than watch an instructional video. I much prefer to read a book than see the movie version. And I’m not into YouTube, Pinterest, or Instagram.

A lot of authors are producing book trailers these days — little video blurbs about their books. This baffles me. It makes sense to use a movie trailer, but I don’t get why you’d make a video about a book. It’s not the same medium, and it doesn’t quite compute in my mind how one relates to the other. Having no video snippets to use makes it very difficult to produce a trailer that doesn’t look hokey. I suppose it’s possible to do, but I’ve never seen one.

What do you think?


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7 thoughts on “It’s a Visual World

  1. OK, so let me be the token visual-thinking dissenter here: since I write books by recording the unfolding movie playing in my head, I don’t find the concept of book trailers to be problematic. I also read books by “watching” the imagery they invoke playing in my brain, which is why I disagree with those who say “avoid description and stick with action” when writing narrative. A book without lots of visual description is, for me, dry and uninteresting. I’ve been told that my one completed novel reads like one is watching a movie (makes sense, given how it was written). So I guess it all depends on how one processes verbal information in one’s brain–some folks “hear” a book, and for them, both extensive description (i.e., “Tolkeinesque” books) and book trailers are annoying, while others cognitively process written information by translating words into visual imagery. So I guess it all depends on how you read (and write) a book.

    Alternatively, I could just be writing in the wrong genre and should be inking movie scripts instead of novels . . .

    Love the photos, though!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Lisa!

      You make a good point — a book should enable the reader to “see” it play across the screen of the mind. (Hence the advice to writers to “show, don’t tell.”) But as we read, we visualize things from our own perspective, and what we “see” varies a lot from person to person.

      I used to watch book trailers when people first started making them, trying to get a grasp of the concept. Most were bad; some were worse than bad; and none of them seemed an adequate reflection of the book itself. For a movie, the creator of the video takes snippets of the actual content, showing prospective movie-goers what they’ll be seeing. A book trailer doesn’t show the book’s content — only words can do that, for each reader will be “seeing” something different. I found the trailers so off-putting, I don’t watch them anymore. Haven’t seen any in the last couple of years, so maybe they’re better now than they used to be. But I still don’t quite get the point.

      I liked your one completed novel, by the way. But I can’t envision any book trailer doing it justice.

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