On Identity: Self-Portrait as a Camera

It is over a year now since the Wellbeing College first started running its Writing for Wellbeing courses, which began as Telling Your Story. The initial course ran across six weeks and covered themes including senses, emotion, memory, identity and changing perspective.  This blog post is dedicated to the participants who attended those first sessions and helped breathe life into an embryo project that has now flourished.

In covering the theme of ‘Identity’, participants were encouraged to create a literary self-portrait, using an inanimate object as a metaphor for the self, a technique inspired by the works of Pascale Petit and Colette Bryce (who chose a violin and trapped spider in a glass respectively).

The following poem was written by Mollie. To represent herself, Mollie chose one of the most ubiquitous yet understated objects of our time: the camera.

We See Me A Little Different – Self-Portrait as a Camera

I’ve only got so many shots left in me,
And I don’t know when this reel will be up.

I’ve got two settings –
Someone can flick a switch
And I have you in a hundred thousand colours,
Someone flicks the switch
And everything is grey, you’re there in black and white.

Either way, SLICE!
And I spliced through your life!
And set you back together, dead.

My flash is to catch your glory whole?
But it catches it like a fish, kills it
In the process.
The flash reels your life away.
I’m too close.

I break you into pixel-amount of parts
For every time your life was snapped
And keep you captured.

You’ve heard the old whisper about me,
That I steal the soul?
It’s true so why are you still here? Flee me!

So, you’ve got the whole of everything outside of me…
Then you’ve got the perfect mechanisms inside of me…
Then there’s a finger… on a button,
Joined through a body… to an exacting eye,
Unimaginably more exact than I could ever be.
And it’s him who’s eye it is you ought to fear,
And not me.

By Mollie

Photo by Mollie

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