In Praise of Mind-Numbing Repetition

My current big project is a book that will include both photos and text. That doesn’t sound bad.

But there will be many more than 1,000 photos on perhaps 600 pages. That’s not bad either, just big.

Here’s the mind-numbing part: approximately 600 of those photos are now contained in about 50 individual pages of 16 photos each. And each of those individual pages must be opened 16 times, the photos matched to an alphabetical list, and each of the 16 photos individually cropped from the page and saved with its own unique file name.

At first, it is indeed mind-numbing. Quite repetitive, a strain on the eyes, and needing attention to make the right sequence of clicks and typing to save the file in the right format with the right name in the right place.

ImageBut after a while, I find there is a rhythm to the process. Just as knitting allows the mind to go wandering a bit while the fingers make repetitive movements, so I find that some design images come to mind during the cropping and saving. Add a bit of Beethoven to the background and the images take on color. Granted, they tend to be geometric forms (all those straight lines!), but it’s comforting to know that the mind is not completely numbed. And with my venture into weaving just two days away, colorful straight lines are pleasant thought indeed.

(The photo is a very old, very amateur, un-tutored attempt at weaving on a small and simple loom with whatever materials I had on hand. Kept because it reminded me of how much I wanted to weave and how much I didn’t know!)

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2 thoughts on “In Praise of Mind-Numbing Repetition

  1. There’s a meditative quality to work like that, similar to what you’ll probably find with weaving, a chance to let the mind drop into another state not so easily accessed in the usual chaos of our thoughts.

    Love the colors–I have a wrap with almost exactly those colors in it that I bought last summer–truly timeless combinations. A gorgeous talisman.

  2. I do love the colors. And what’s strange is I know I made the piece, but I don’t remember some of the work in it. It’s all yarns and ribbons that I had – some I still have – but it was at least 1996 if not earlier when I did it. Talisman – nice thought.

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