Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
“Memories are like a still life painted by ten different student artists: some will be blue-based; others red; some will be as stark as Picasso and others as rich as Rembrandt; some will be foreshortened and others distant. Recollections are in the eye of the beholder; no two held up side by side will ever quite match.” –Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts
“There’s nothing wrong
with holding onto a memory.
Sometimes, its all we have to hold onto.”
This is a quote by one of my favorite authors that came to mind when I was reading the pages of ethnographic reflection on the “intimate ethnography” conducted on Waterson and Rylko-Bauer’s parents. Memories have always been a particularly interesting concept to me because I have experienced a significant amount of loss in my short 21 years. I have always found refuge in pictures to recall memories and held onto memories because its okay if they’re all you have left to hold onto. Since Mom died two years ago, I have adopted the idea that a memory is yours, and only yours. There is significance in remembering details or events “incorrectly” because to you- it’s your own truth. Only your version really matters.
I think a historian’s job is to collect accurate details, but an ethnographer’s main concern should be of the details conveyed by the subjects or the details witnessed first hand. There really is no true subjectivity. And I agree with these authors that this is where ethnography becomes art. To some degree, I think everyone has a significant story that they can offer regarding their unique life experiences and lessons learned. I believe this is one of the reasons why blogs have become so popular. The Internet offers a venue for a person to relay their memories, stories, advice, opinion, and photos to tell whoever wishes to read with very little likelihood of a harsh critique for “truthfulness” or accuracy. Of course there are blogs where truth plays a large role- for example a blog promoting a certain product for a business or a political blog would both require scrutiny for truth. However, the majority of blogs are just average people recording their thoughts and longing for their story to be told. In this, I am just like all the other bloggers out there, seeking validation, recourse or rejection for the thoughts I have and the things that I feel.