Taking Hemingway's Advice
Caught an earlier train this evening, the 4:09 from New York which the Conductor said is new, only starting on Monday. "Don't tell anyone about it" one woman commented, before noting how quiet it was. A few minutes later we emerged from the dark tunnel, and I observed the rich tones of sunset falling on the unremarkable warehouses that rest in front of the unparalleled Manhattan skyline with the shapely Art Deco Chrysler building and the boxy, but nonetheless impressive Empire State.
It'll be nice to get home before it's completely dark, at least today that is. Most times, I can't even make this train as it requires everything to work out ever so precisely including but not limited to how many elevator stops it takes to get out of my building, how long it takes before the cross town subway arrives, and then the duration that passes before the downtown train arrives. Of course I always have to fight my way across Penn Station, never an easy task at any time of day, let alone rush hour.
With all of this careful maneuvering and precise timing, I opt for a more calculated approach to my listening selection. No random shuffle from Pandora, but rather a mix of John Mayer songs spanning four entire albums. I smirk at the irony of the first title, "Stop This Train". It's actually one of my favorites, with the songwriter sharing a personal anecdote about aging, and the conversations between him and his father. I can relate, and it makes me think of my own Dad, and his passing.
I change gears, reading an article with advice from Hemingway who often provided insights on how to be a better writer. One of his tips is to really pay attention to the way everyone reacts to things that happen around you. The small details are essential, and we must truly listen and observe. I am inspired by the passage and rather than moving to the other articles I've saved, I want to start writing. This is what came out.
Hemingway's advice was directed to writers, but it absolutely applies to visual arts like photography as well. The idea is to be fully present, taking in the entire experience with your eyes and ears before turning to the viewfinder.
Read the full piece here.