Telling Stories. . . .

When I began blogging, oh, I don’t know how many years ago, I did so because I thought I “HAD” to in order to promote myself as a photographer. I thought I would go pro, as it were.

That didn’t happen. But I kept blogging, off and on, nothing regular, and maybe that’s part of the problem. I didn’t, and still don’t, know the rights and wrongs and the shoulds and shouldn’ts of blogging as promotion.

But some things are still clear to me about photography and stories and the ways we tell stories. Right now, I’m in a photography slump. The camera is actually sitting here on the couch beside me, and I haven’t picked it up in a week. Last weekend, I took pictures at a reunion of Newberry College band people, and some of my stories tell a story–the story of Bill Long, conductor of the Newberry College Marching Band and Big Jazz Band conducting and the impact he had on his students; the joy of my son playing jazz that he loves (he played the saxophone solo in “Baker Street,” which has to be one of the best riffs ever!); the admiration we have for both Janet and Bill Long, and their relationship as teachers and mentors and guides. But that is their story; it’s not mine.

I’ve been reading–A LOT! I’ve finished the published books in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and I know why readers are so fond of these books! They are timeless, and I don’t mean to pun on the time-travel theme, either! Seriously, the themes and stories told in these books–fear, love, family, loyalties–they are there! And yes, I’ve started watching the STARZ TV series, but, while I enjoy them, they are not as addictive as the books were. I’m impatient to read the next book in the series. I want to shout loudly enough, “IT’S 2019! WHERE IS THE NINTH BOOK?”

And I’m on book 5 in Sara Donati’s Wilderness series. Again, like Gabaldon, Donati follows a family through several generations. Like Gabaldon, she deals with universal themes, such as fear, love, family, loyalties, with some added notions of patriotism. Her novels are set after the Revolutionary War through the War of 1812. She throws in a few other themes, such as spirituality; her characters are Native American, European, and second/third generation Americans, and Africans. Some of those Africans are slaves, and some are free; some are runaways. She challenges readers to think about race and gender and prejudice as she weaves the stories of the citizens of Paradise, New York. The themes of sexism and gender and race are especially strong in the story of Hannah Bonner, half Native American, half white, as she tries to find her place in these two different worlds and as she tries to establish herself as a doctor in a world where women are expected to stay home and be wives and mothers. There is a sixth book in the series, which my public library does not have available in ebook form yet. It better come soon! Seriously. I have to know how these various stories end.

And what has this to do with my original reasons for blogging? Well, I’m not sure, except that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we need stories in our lives, whether those stories are told by others in fictional form or through photographs or television series, movies, or any other way. I guess in a way video games are themselves a form of story telling as well, depending on the game.

And for now, I think I will keep telling my stories one way or another, whether it’s through my photographs or these random postings. I think, one day, it will be the stories that begin to unite us once again and teach us that no matter who or what we are, we are all one in the human race.

By Olivia Fulmer

I am the OliviaIrene of OliviaIrene Photography. I am a photographer, a teacher, a story teller. I use this space to tell stories of life, family, and faith through words and images. I'd love to share your stories as well. Join me in this journey.

I love conversation, the close, intimate kind amongst friends. Won't you join me? I look forward to a good coze.

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