The boundaries between genres are blurring.
Why shouldn’t we include photographs in memoirs? The only reason I can think of is that some (maybe many) publishers don’t want the hassle. Publishing images is more complex, more expensive than publishing text only. Unless, of course, you’re publishing on the internet.
That damn internet. It’s changing everything.
Some publishers are welcoming work that combines text and image. Some of them are here on Medium. Many others can be found in this list of cross-genre publishers curated by New Pages.
Here’s my attempt at a cross-genre piece combining photographs of trees with text about family trees.
I see a “B” in this tree. Or maybe a “D,” or a sideways “A.”
Or a man, hanging face down with his arms extended, reaching for something on the ground.
Or a lizard with its tail curled up behind it. Or the predictable snake.
Or a tree, twisted by snow and ice, and the deaths of other trees, and by forces I cannot imagine, putting forth the predictable new growth in spring.
I leaned against trees, wrapped my arms around trees, swung from trees and hid in trees, and walked on limbs as if they were tightropes. I prayed to trees, I raged at trees. Far away, the half-brothers I now know cut trees down for very little pay.
In my private forest, which isn’t mine, but belongs to the town, I watch this tree, and the spiral of fungi around its trunk that curves around in question marks and other symbols. It might be my family tree: no hierarchy, no single ancestor, and certainly no single pattern.
New stories mean new names. The earth ripped up with the tree is now called a tip-up mound.
What’s left of the tree has the pocked and scored look of the karst limestone under the ground around these parts. Maybe the tree has taken on some characteristics of the stone.
Even long dead, and even taking on other characteristics, the tree is still a tree.
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