Sunday, January 23, 2005


Good literature is like a well-taken photo. It is a reflection not of life itself, because life is too big and complex to be reflected in one picture (or one work of art), but of one part, maybe even a few parts, of life. It works by indirection, saying what it wants to say about that part of life of which it feels competent to comment, not straightforwardly, as in journalese or legalese or political economy, but by way of images, or narrative, or action, or even of rhythm or cadence or tone.

What is this photo trying to say? Is it any good? Do you find any use for it? Posted by Hello


Anonymous said...

hi ma'am, richmon here.

I agree that literature is like a well-taken photo. I think that you're right in saying that life is too broad to be reflected and instead only parts of it can be captured.

You know, I'm really amazed on how short stories contain such quantities of symbolism. When I was still in high, I thought that short stories are only stories that are, well, short and are just there to bug me whenever my English instructor would want me to read them. Now that I've learn to see short stories in an entirely different way, I must say that I really like reading short stories now more than, well, ever!

See you on Friday ma'am!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I haven't answered the questions yet...

The photo (well at least for me) is trying to depict a somewhat gloomy atmosphere. It's probably saying that its owner is a very troubled woman. By the looks of it, I can say that she (women usually own dressers, right?)is through tough times, probably the death of a loved one or a close friend.

It's trying to evoke this feeling of uneasiness. It's like the owner is deperately trying to fix her things up but stil I can see traces of intense anguish.

mda said...

Wow, Richmon! You saw a lot! But you must say what in the photo led you to your conclusions.

Anonymous said...

richmon here...

I dunno. Maybe it's in the way the dresser is "put together". The lamp next to the mirror is a trick used by designers to make any space look wider. I think that the owner of that dresser used the lamp to shed light on the darkest moment of her life. The grooming tools are scattered all over the surface of the dresser. Maybe she's not that organized or maybe she just wants them to be spread across the dresser for her to easily locate them when she needs them. It connotes a feeling of impatience and uneasiness, at least in my part.

mda said...

Hmmm... What about the diagonal line? Diagonal lines connnote action, movement. And how do you know that the lamp isn't the dresser owner herself, trying to reach out to the darkest corners of clutter? Note that the lamp is at the foreground, its light occupying half, if not more than half of the picture, while the darkness is at the background.

But I wonder what the others think?

Betchai said...

My aunt always told me that a person's dresser reflects the personality of the owner. And another teacher of mine told me that a picture tells a whole story.

Enough said for the moment.

mda said...

But that's not saying anything, Betchai!

Anonymous said...

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.

The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.

The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.

This is a fault.

Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.

They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.

That is all.

[Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray]
jerome delas Alas

Anonymous said...

Photographs are taken to keep memories of the past and forget the hideous future... Attempt to color the ultimate reality by preserving certain "life" on a piece of paper... this is lame. Are we too afraid to forget the memories that have passed our lives? Is that why we try to capture moments that we fear are too important to forget? Literature is like a virtual representation of photographs that drive us away from sane reality and encage us in our deepest desire to sleep... Escape... Cry... and be cried upon...

[excuse moi if you find such thing too profound...]
-John Doe aka allan quatermain-

bml said...

hello Mam A

hope you've rested well enough to watch the remaining sita & rama shows <^_^>

i'm using this username because my other blog here in blogspot is a lot "heavier" than the bml blog.

nice to see there are other ways to keep in touch with you

i hope i'm not, er, infringing on this english 1 blog =)

i forgot how i found out about it, i just did

as for the photo, hmmm, reminds me of rizal. literature can provide light to those in the dark. but if it is too much, or too sudden, the light can be blinding.

but of course, it is also possible that you were just, um, bored, and took a shot of your desk, and decided to make it a psych test, a rorschach of sorts! hahaha. =)

mda said...

Maybe the last is more like it, Blanche.

Just like you to say that!

What does one do to test a new camera? Take a picture of the nearest available object, of course.


bml said...

sana there's a blog for your former students, too (sigh)

but then again, it says "students of english", so does eng 41 count? <^_^>

later at 3pm is our last sita and rama show. watch us na pleeeeeaze? =( shniff! i wanna take a looooong break from puppeteering (?) and try to go back to my near-daily writing.

pwede po kaya i-post dito for your, er, comments, suggestions, violent reactions, flat 5.0s, etc? hehehe... i learn only from the best (wheeheehee)

"Just like you to say that!" hmmmmmm... =)

i'd say each piece of literature is a rorschach of sorts anyway. we just don't standardize the results of the interpretations slash perceptions we have of those.

and producing a piece of literature is, in a way, testing a new camera. "Take a picture of the nearest available object". a picture could take the form of the the words in that piece. words, after all, are images, too. and, usually, what one can write about is what is within the perimeters of the writer's reality. like your, er, dresser.

more tonight. i'll be late for call time. =)

Betchai said...

Whoever owns that dresser is like the dresser. There's a struggle between being orderly and not. Some things aren't at the right place in the eyes of other people, but for the owner, it is fine just being there. It is like breaking away from the norms, at the same time, still putting up an effort to be normal.

mda said...

Hey, Betchai, you've changed your logo! Valentine's Day, huh?

You mean you agree with Blanche, that it's a Rorschach Test? But it seems to me that Blanche is refering to it as a test for readers, not a Rorschach Test of the photographer's personality.

Or has she changed her mind since?

Blanche, I'm really sorry not to have been able to go to your play again! I even missed telling the class about it! That's because you should have come and announced it to them yourself!

Hey, Blanche, stop referring to that photograph as mine. Unless you two want to psychoanalyze me. Which is what all this may be leading to? Hmmm....

At least Richmon wasn't as direct. :)

That's to say, Blanche, that you're welcome to this blog.

Betchai said...

I'm not exactly agreeing with anyone since i'm not reading the other posts.. >_>

My friend's dresserpretty cool? I took a picture of it when I slept over at her place.

mda said...

Wait a minute.... What are we talking about now--art, or dressers?

:..M..: said...

My first time here through a myraid of flukes and links. I'm very glad to have finally proven that journey worth it..much more than just that, I've begun to believe.

I've yet to go through your entire blog but I want to, at the outset itself, tell you that I loved the little I've read thusfar.

I have a feeling it'll be an honor to read you.

mda said...

I myself am amazed at how you got to my site, :..M..:. It's good to know someone from India. Do you work in a hospital?

Carry on!

:..M..: said...

I did my training in one hospital. I'm basically a counselor, soon to be psychologist. Was doing a course at the time of my posting.

It is rather amazing how I found my way to your blog. :)

mda said...

Tell me about it, :..M..:.