Archive for December 3rd, 2010
I just had to take a photo of my new guitar. It is a simple, no frills gift to myself. When I left Canada, I took along a capo knowing that I would likely be buying the guitar. I didn’t want to take one of my guitars from my home in Canada because of weight and baggage limits. I knew that I needed to have more to do to fill the hours in China. Teaching, lesson preparation, walking and photography are not enough to fill all the hours, especially since I am not keen on hanging out with ex-pats in bars. But, it is hard to spend the money on myself – feeling guilty when others have so little, especially since I already own two other guitars.
Denying myself the access to music just built up pressure within. I am not a great musician, just another guy from the flower child generation that found a refuge in music and a way to be with others through music. Now, it is a way to be with myself. When I allow my words to flow on the keyboard and through music, I become more peaceful and as a result, become a person easier to be around – less tense, less repressed, less silent.
And so, I begin again the work of building calluses on the tips of my fingers, working through some pain in order to release the treasures hidden within my soul.
This is obviously a photo that is about China – a China that is now mythical, a place that is represented symbolically through architecture, colour and words. All work together to create an image that points to something that is bigger than China’s past, bigger than it’s future. Rather, the image is more about soul and psyche.
Living in China and spending a lot of time with the young adults who will be the future of the country, I can see how the images become more about myths and poetry than about history. The songs being sung, the movies being watched, the serial television shows that feature heroes and villains of the past show a story that is anything but the messiness of real life. All of the modern images of the past paint a story that is bigger and fuller than the prosaic stuff of everyday living, especially the simpleness of that living in times when living was a basic affair that often was focused simply on surviving and not great colourful epics. Like in this photo, what is taken forward is a mythopoetic story that lies beneath the surface of today’s Chinese people, a story that isn’t really about the past at all, but about today with a hint about what is to come tomorrow.
“. . . the mythopoetic imagination has never gone away; it is no further from us than tonight’s dream, tomorrow’s projection of symbolic material onto another person, or the affective energy of the next day’s headlines in our local newspaper.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 25)