Recently someone asked me if I had always taken pictures and written notes throughout my life, or if this was simply started in adulthood.
It wasn’t until late 2002 that I started to take my passion for writing and photography seriously, and of course, it was on the advice and encouragement of Angie. Up until that time in my life, I only casually took photos, and write about inconsequential things about my life when there wasn’t really much of anything worth writing about. When I first me Angie, my passion became more focused, and I found myself photographing and documenting, and publishing more on the Internet than ever before. It seems that all I really needed was a muse, new adventures, new experiences, and a lot of supportive, loving encouragement. I was 22.
For many years, during my childhood especially, I experienced so many unbelievable and amazing things, the vast majority of which were not documented or recorded in any way. The details were simply lost, only to exist in my mind as inconsequential bits and pieces of memories that, as the years go by, fade away slowly their nostalgic value ever increasing, though never to return again.
My father left behind a large cardboard box in the attic when he passed away. The box was unmarked, though completely filled with random and haphazardly unsorted snapshots and photographs documenting my childhood years, more specifically the times when I was home. He also left behind several photo albums filled with photographs, documenting the days after my birth to 1990, when I first went away to summer camp. The amount of photographs started to dwindle in the years that followed, especially in 1994, when I began to alternate between summer camp and boarding school. By the time I moved out of my parents house, the photography had all but ceased.
At the very bottom of the box were a handful of cassette tapes, recorded when I was 8 years old. Sadly, despite years of begging my parents to invest in a video camera, one was never purchased and I do not have home movies of my parents.
In recent years I have been asked why I neglected to document the most important and pivotal moments in my life, as if people assume that I was a successful prose writer from an exceedingly early age. Despite showing a fascination with the written word at a very early age, scribbling down little notes, ideas, and observations by age 8, and simple stories and narratives by age 9, I often ask myself why it took me so long to take that documentation of my life seriously, and sometimes, I don’t know.
Sometimes I fear that not adequately documenting the many years of childhood, especially my travels and experiences, now lost in some ways, mostly philosophical, that I might feel regret through to my last mile. Some might speculate that as an adult I might just repeat earlier experiences in adulthood, and I could very well do so, of course, though life was easier when I was younger.
People were much more willing to forgive and forget the little missteps and trespasses of others back then. I did document some things, on an often sporadic and unpredictable schedule. Whatever I had written down was far less censored, fearless, and devoid of any concern for the consequences that might have been rendered.
I wrote mainly through the lens of a voyeur, documenting things through the lens of a full-time news reporter following my every life experience, charting every last detail as if my life depended upon it. Instead of simply making outrageous claims of experiences, I actually lived and sought them. I was young and stupid, but in my writing, I was older then.
The Tapes | Generation Gap | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures (1992-1994) | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures (1996) | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures, Part 2 | Camp Chateaugay, In Pictures (1991-2000) | Harvey Slatin Radio Interview On WUOW