Why I Scrapbook

Blusteryday06In “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Ramsay attempts to create an enduring legacy by controlling those around her, primarily her children. I understand the motive that compelled her to do so, but it was a failed experiment. The thing that comes closer to immortality is art, because through art we are able to make time stand still---we capture a moment. The process of taking pictures, matting, embellishing and journaling gives us the ability to freeze time, to chronicle our lives, our times, to tell the world that we lived and inhabited this space and made it meaningful.

In “To the Lighthouse” as in real life, moments of unity and meaning pass quickly. The dinner party disperses, the children grow up, they grow out of their clothes and into their own lives. And yet, as a mother, I witness this passage of time and feel an aching sort of loneliness. I want to hang onto the first moment I saw my baby girl lying asleep and all rolled up like a burrito in the crib at the hospital. So I take this moment and I try to pay homage to it by matting it, embellishing it, and tucking it away in one of my scrapbooks.

Each scrapbooker has a particular strength or gift they bring to the artform. Ali Edwards (one of my favs) has a great eye for design. My friend, JoAnn, has a knack for capturing even the simplest moments that so easily escape most of us. I think I am a journaling-based scrapper. I experience my life and then I reflect on it, letting the things that matter most rise to the surface, buoying their way up through the chatter, the debris, the grit of everyday life. As I reflect, I write. As I write, I re-capture that moment.

My scrapbooking has evolved. I have stopped worrying about “keeping up” chronologically. My favorite layouts are the ones where I spent some time reflecting, writing, distilling the experience into a few, precious lines of prose. When I add the photos, the moment becomes alive for me. I tuck it away, knowing that whenever I want to remember, all I have to do is look at my pages.