Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Special Address:

Friends, photogs, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come not to bury Lenslinger, but to assuage him.
2010-11-05_12-10-12_734Okay, so much for the catchy lead. I'm ... stuck. When I started this blog in late 2004, I had no idea how long it would last. I only knew I had a few stories to share and once I got started, I just. Couldn't. Stop. Not that I've ever wanted to. In fact, my seven year foray into push-button publishing has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. And make no mistake: I am FAR from finished. But lately, a malaise has fallen over the Lenslinger Institute and considering that the Lenslinger Institute is really just the bonus room over my garage, it's been a stone-cold drag. The good news is I've been through this before. Every blogger has. But never before have I been so utterly bereft of ideas, let alone clever ones. Hopefully, this troubles me more than it does you.

Understand, the very idea of pulling back the curtain and acknowledging the gears are jammed offends my sense of wizardry. Needy screeds, pet photos, witless lists; these are the things that make blogs so Two Thousand and Late. I always wanted this site to resemble a magazine of sorts, a glossy periodical bristling with endless riffs but never straying from its core material. But any weblog worth its weight in pixels is a fairly personal one and this isn't the first time I've had to lament my lack of mojo. Weird, isn't it? A person not paid to write feels guilty for letting a handful of anonymous readers down. If that's not the basis for a new strand of psychotherapy, I'll sell my leather couch... and my tweedy sport coat - the one with the elbow patches and odor of clove cigarettes...

Anyhoo, all I'm trying to say is this: Viewfinder BLUES isn't dead. It's a little down, but not out. Please bear with me as I fend off this existential meltdown, for much like a bad case of gas, it too shall pass. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go figure out something to write about....

Sunday, May 01, 2011

B-Block Apostle

Jaded PurveyorAs a jaded purveyor of local TV news, I gotta watch what I get worked up about. After all, the same grim demeanor that helps one navigate a crash site ain’t half as handy at the home and garden show. I know; there’s been a time when the sheer pace of what passes through my glass has left me strangely out of sync. How else to explain my crappy attitude at the disabled pet-blessing? Or all those dark maxims bandied about in the glow of fire truck lights? My Mama taught me better. Which is why, on occasion, I stray from the chase. Not physically, mind you. I still can’t afford that. But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t slept-walked through another person’s worst day ever, or jungle-stared some struggling keynote speaker just for the fun of it. I’m not proud of it, but compared to the other long-term effects of news-gathering I’ve seen (affectation, self-hatred, logowear), it’s an affliction I can live with. I just can’t always write about it.

What I can testify to is the power and the (lack of) glory of the B-Block. Years ago I gave my lens over to the Church of Charles Kuralt. It was He who first discovered life after those commercial breaks. In doing so, he forged his own languid style and inspired millions of lesser storytellers like me. Which is while you’ll find me far from the opening moments of that oh so average newscast. I’ll be bringing up the rear - or more likely the middle - serving up the quirky and the absurd to all those viewers faithful (and lazy) enough to stick around while that Viagra spot peters out. A couple ties the knot at a Jiffy Lube, a marching band finds out they’re gonna strut through Manhattan, roadies fluff the mother of all Bluegrass festivals.. what do tehy all have in common? I wrestled them into existence under heavy deadline and still left the station that day before most photogs had loaded up their live trucks.

So why am I grumpy? I’m not really. This sourpuss mask is all for my protection. One quick glance and people leave me alone, allowing me to aim, gather and try to move you with heavily-edited television with a light and loving touch. I can’t help I look pissed in the process. You would be too, if the desk expected you to overshoot, undermine and out-perform the competition on a never ending basis. You know, whether you’re chasing an Amish Mime troupe or the leader of the free world, it really doesn’t matter. I’m photagnostic. It matters not to me if that Bigfoot fella is fake or if he just tore through an orphanage. I’m going to bring the big guy into focus just the same. I just gotta smile once in a while, lest I become the most grizzled dispenser of frothy news topping this side of that Andy Rooney Ice Milk Hut. Besides, who wants to be the simmering presence at the Easter Egg hunt? Not me. My life’s too short to be kicked out of a(nother) Kiwanis Club.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go practice my scowl. It came with the cape.