July 30, 2011

Moments in Time

I am as much a writer as I am a golfer or landscaper. I mean I like to golf and I am pretty good at it but I would never consider myself a GOLFER. I mow my lawn once a week and it looks no different then the neatly manicured lawns in my neighborhood, but a landscaper, far from it. That's why I struggle with the term WRITER. Isn't everyone at some point a writer? My son makes up these nonsensical stories at school about how the world should just be turned into a planet based solely on Star Wars characters, I guess that would make him a writer in the loosest sense of the term.

I have a hard time when I am forced to write on a certain topic as most of what I say seems forced, or not truly in a voice that represents who I am. What I like to write about, and always have, is moments in time. Maybe it's the journalist in me coming through, but I don't want to force something that isn't there. I spent years behind a camera capturing moments and turning them into stories based on what I saw. You are taught in television not to stage anything, if you missed it, so be it. You have to figure out another way to tell the story. When given a topic to write about, I feel almost as if I am staging something, and I don't feel good about it.

Most of what I write about today is based on the images I capture. Whether it's a particularly moving photo that I took or even just a snapshot stored in the back of my head, everything has a story. Take for instance my nephew Dylan, we were at an amusement park not too long ago, and he was getting so upset that he might not be able get on a certain roller coaster, you could tell he just was not going to enjoy the day without at least giving it a try. We snuck on the back as we always do, I mean really who wants to wait on lines when half the thrill of the ride is the thought you might get caught cutting in front of everybody. As we headed up the first hill, the anticipation from this boy was bubbling over. Once at the top, he was ready to explode. The sheer enjoyment from him could not be expressed in a bunch of words written down on a piece of paper, this was a moment in time that could only be captured through the lens of my camera. Sometimes you have to realize that an image tells the story better than words ever could.

Other times the image can be the basis for the story. I wrote a story once about how I almost lost my son on a family vacation. This was the last photo we took of him before the unimaginable happened. We were on a Disney Cruise three hours out to sea and my child turned blue and began convulsing. As a parent I feared the worst, my son was dying right before my eyes. I really had no idea what to think at the time other than here we are out at sea, on our way to the Bahamas and my lifeless child was sitting there right in front me, and there was nothing that I could do. To make a long story short, he had something called a febrile seizure, which it turns out is pretty benign, but when you haven't seen something like this is person, it can be the scariest thing imaginable.

Here I was, four years later looking through photos on my computer and up popped this image. A flood of emotions ran through me and I was transported back in time to the day it happened. November 16th, 2006, what could have been the worst day in my life was staring me in the face. Something I wanted to forget was now burning holes in my eyes. I had to get this story written and the only thing I had to go with was this picture. One image, one moment in time is all it took.

Me? A writer?

Maybe not.

Someone who captures moments?

That's more like it.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?



  1. Wow man - so if that is how well you golf, shoot. You should become a "golfer."

    Love this post.

  2. Thanks so much Janice! Unfortunately my golf game has taken a hit since staying home with the kids. Gotta make it up elsewhere. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. You shoot beautiful pictures. You put together meaningful word groups. You can communicate in a gifted manner. It doesn't matter what you call it.