Friday, September 26, 2008

LOM: scrapbooking the deeper meaning.

I just finished scrapbooking a layout that has taken me almost six weeks to complete. I truly regard this as a Library Of Memories (LOM) success and I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled.

On the surface, these photos are not all that special. A couple years ago my best friend and I went to NEO, one of Chicago's oldest underground nightclubs, with another friend. A couple weeks later, still another friend came in from out of town, and it had been so fun we three dragged him there with us again.

The first time we went, I took a few pics with my camera and those pictures are dark and not great. When our out-of-town friend visited, we took more pictures with his more expensive camera, and those came out really well. So I had a mix of non-matching photos on hand, just because I'd ordered prints some time ago, and I decided to quickly scrapbook them.

Well, that plan went out the window with all the hoops I've had to jump through. Since I have not really scrapbooked in several years, most of my supplies and papers are in storage. What I do have here at home was tucked away in various places when I took down my scrapbooking area. I couldn't even find any black cardstock so I had to buy some.

Then I attempted to find some of the various industrial/urban type papers I've collected over the years -- determined to finally use some of it, since these photos are exactly why I buy those papers. Failure to find paper I know I have, led to buying some Cropper Hoppper vertical paper storage, collecting all the paper I actually have on hand, and resorting it in this new system.

In the meantime, I was also buying 12 x 12 plastic drawers and turning those into "color drawers" as per Stacy Julian. I also switched to Stacy's storage method for smaller embellishments (buttons, brads, eyelets, etc).

Then I discovered my eyelet setter was missing so I went on a failed hunt to buy a new one, and in the end, bought a whole new eyelet system from someone online, and had to wait for it to arrive. I knew I wanted to use certain foam stamps to create my title; I couldn't find them for two weeks, which drove me crazy. And I realized I would have to set up my printer in order to journal on these pages, which was a whole nightmare in itself.

So basically, these pages were a process of fits and starts, of reworking when supplies were found or purchased, of tearing the place apart looking for items to use, then creating storage systems and moving things around quite a bit in my home to make room to store my supplies in a newly functional way.

Here's the thing. Six weeks is waaaaaaaayyyy too long to spend scrapbooking a few photos from one night a couple years ago. Especially since the occasions weren't anything special, in my opinion. I have been to NEO so many times in the past 18 years, with so many friends. It's no big deal to go to NEO. And if I took 6 weeks to scrapbook every grouping of 4-5 pictures, it would be like trying to hold off Hurricane Ike with a Totes umbrella. My style of scrapbooking, and my goals, are anti-perfectionism, anti-scrapping-psychosis in nature. I can and have created many pages in less than an hour. Get the memories on paper and move on, already.

But then I realized.... Six weeks is not too long to spend documenting a place that has been so important to my Chicago adulthood. And to get it "just right".

And that's one of the ways LOM has freed me. On the surface of it, LOM appears to be simply a photo storage system. Maybe a way of putting layouts in albums. But it's so much more. Because once upon a time, I really would have thought of these pictures as rather uninspiring shots of me and some friends goofing off on a Friday night or two. I might have never scrapped them because the "issue" of having non-matching photos of two separate but similar events mere weeks apart would have stumped me. Or I would have felt I needed to scrapbook them separately, and then document what we did and what happened both nights. And thus include every single picture I'd had printed, because if not, what else would I do with them? Borrrrrring.

Because of LOM, I sat down and wrote journaling about this club, NEO. I wrote about stuff that's not in the pictures at all -- how it was the first club I went to, right after I turned 21. How my brother and his best friend and I would go there on Thanksgiving night, after our respective family dinners, for years. How I have run into friends there and taken friends there and how no matter where else in Chicago we might go to dance, everyone always ends up at NEO. And about what a Chicago institution it is. As well as a bit about how great it was to finally take my best friend there, because she had never been.

In the LOM system, in which pictures illustrate memories and are removed from chronology, events and photos are thought of topically. Things are not scrapped because "This is something that happened in 2008." Instead, things are scrapped because they fit into a topic: Is it a Place? Is it a Person? Is it a Thing? Is it about someone's personality? Is it describing or detailing some more important aspect of life? How are these photos connected to ME as a person? More than simply, "I was here"?

So now I look at my photos, and I think, what, if anything, is the deeper meaning behind these photos?

When I went to the Arcola Broomcorn Festival a couple weeks ago, yes they were pictures of a road trip and a festival -- but the deeper meaning is, I went because I collect brooms and have done so for 17 years. So that layout has that deeper meaning. I didn't journal much on those pages, but rather than put these pages in Things I Do album, as in, "Here's something I did one weekend", I will store them in an album about me, who I am, and what's important to me. And even though I have taken pictures of my collection, and written about it, and showed it off.... these pages are the first time I have mentioned on a scrapbook page that big aspect of who I am.

When I scrapped pictures of my brother learning to surf this summer, yes, we were on a camping trip and we went to water park where they offered surfing -- but the deeper meaning was, my brother has a big sense of adventure, and I really admire that about him. So instead of putting these pages in a Places I Go album, I'll put them in People, because the pages are really more about my feelings about my brother now.

When I look at these pictures of me at NEO, I think, these are pictures that have a whole history behind them. And I wrote the journaling to reflect that. And these pages won't go in a Things I Do album, like, "My friends and I go out to nightclubs, isn't that fascinating???" No, they will go in my Places I Go album, because these pictures document a place I go and have gone for years. And if I never take more pictures there, now it's documented.

That's one of the best things, to me, about LOM. It makes me actually look at the pictures themselves in a whole new way. It makes me scrapbook them in a more meaningful way. I've always considered my scrapbooking to be a documenting of my life, but now I consider it more a documenting of who I am. And when I have a set of pictures I can scrapbook them in any NUMBER of ways, not just the most obvious or easily apparent way.

And that's a LOM Success Story, because now when I look at my NEO pages, I am really excited. And it was worth all the hassle to finish it, because that's an important part of my personal history, there.

Yes I know -- this would be so much better if I could include the layouts in the post! Sadly I don't have PhotoShop on this computer, so scanning is not an option, and I have yet to find that dratted camera cord either.


Photo 1: NEO sign from actual photo on the layout. Chicago, IL. Taken by me. June 2006.

Photo 2: Handmade brooms for sale. Arcola Broomcorn Festival. Arcola, IL. Taken by me. Sept 2009.

Photo 3: My brother learning to surf. Kalahari Waterpark. Wisconsin Dells, WI. Taken by me. July 2007.


BonnieRose said...

what a wonderful post... I am a LOMer too. and what you shared is sooo true.. good for you! hugs bonnierose

Katherine said...

WOW! I'm a LOM '06 Alumni and I don't think I've heard a better description of the benefits of LOM (except from Stacy herself!)

I have a hard time describing to non-scrapbooking friends what I am doing and why and I think you have finally voiced the main reasons this process is so important to me!

Thanks so much for sharing!!
-Katherine aka Csmoferret

borcherding said...

LOVED reading this! You are so right...LOM makes you look at the meaning and story behind the photo, not just the obvious. You nailed it!!

Fun Mama - Deanna said...

What a great post! I agree, this is a great explanation of LOM and why we do it. Congratulations on your insight!

falwyn said...

Congrats on the LOM success and thanks for writing this great post about it. I too think that SJ's systems are genius.

P.S. Can you believe - I started to read just this post and thought of another blog, a myscrapblog blog that I used to read (I found it through Rockester's scrap list long ago)... went to try to look it up, it won't load, but then read that part about you collecting brooms, and started poking around the rest of this blog and realized that it's you, and you relocated! How fabulous... I'll definitely be subscribing.

Meadow Walk said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the comments! It's so nice to hear from you all!

This is not my first LOM post at all, by the way -- there are some even more detailed earlier ones talking about how I learned about it, how I'm implementing it and what it is doing for me and this hobby.

Oh falwyn, it's you! Can you believe this -- I actually posted all my LOM stuff in that stupid scrapblog and now it won't load and it's GONE!!! grrr! So I just started moving everything over here. I've been able to copy and paste a few entries by using the Google cache feature. Stupid scrapblog!!!

Anonymous said...

very cool post, girl! Very thoughtful and right on. So flattering that Stacy thought so too!

Thanks for continuing the inspiration threads on 2Ps..I'm loving it!

and now I'm really curious to see your layout of the club! LOL


jacqui said...

wow, this is awesome and so inspiring. I've been battling to get my LOM system up and running. You have given me renewed inspiration to give it another try!!!Thanks!!!!!

Marissa said...

I am so glad that you sent this link through another MB, and I got to read it.
You are very inspiring with your writing. LOM makes sense to me after reading your thoughts. It makes sense. And I love it.
Thanks so much for being an inspiration. Now please find that camera cord and post the LO!!!

Jana said...

Wonderful explanation.
I took the class and am struggling with getting my library set up. I am putting it into high gear again. Thank you for the kick in the rear. I needed that.

Carrie said...

Welcome to FREEDOM! Great explanation!

Marcie Reckinger said...

Woohoo! I loved reading about your experience with LOM! Welcome to the new found freedom and great explanation! You give great insight of what it's all about!

DeeJay said...

Michelle, I love your post about LOM. I've taken LOM twice and am totally sold on it but am not as articulate as you when explaining it. I am coping your blog post so that I can show it to others when I talk about LOM. You have hit the nail on the head and people will GET IT after they read this. Thanks. Deb J

Rockester said...

Hi there! The brooms photo was taken at the Seattle botanical show in 2007 by a friend of my moms. Here is the link to the vendors list for this year but I don't know the name of the business itself that made the brooms in the booth.


Kristi said...

How cool to find Rockester again! I used to follow your articles, but went through a couple computers, crashed hard drive etc. and lost those things.

This post is inspiration to seriously consider the LOM system. Twice I had the book in my hand at Archiver's to use their 30 percent off coupon but I really kind of like chronological scrapping!

I'm torn. Maybe I need to just buy the book. I will be missing one of the retreats that I normally go to (a friend's wedding), so maybe I should just sign up for the class....HMM!!


Meadow Walk said...

Hi Kristi -- I think LOM is mostly for people who are frustrated by chronological scrapping. if you like it and you do it, then keep on doing it! I had stopped scrapping at all and found the idea of it more a chore than a joy, so LOM was a good option for me.