A photograph often tells a thousand words, or so it’s been said.When you add poetic verse to animated images and the inquisitive eye of both Erica Lewis and illustrator Mark Stephen Finein you find yourself victim to the backward realities and ideas that lurk inside the book titled, Camera Obscura.Memories are ingrained in our minds but are subject to change upon our re-telling or remembering them, but a photograph cannot morph or change into an altered version of reality. While a photograph can age and the shape and images can fade, that moment in time stands still. In examining how a memory can be kept alive or reinvented is discussed in the pages of illustrations here, all while remaining safe in the creator’s mind. Images actually reside in the receptacle of saved images the mind keeps tucked away.  This hybrid work of art and poetry asks us, the memory-makers to look closely at what we hold so dear.  What is real and what is imagined? Do recollections through art (written and photographed) stand the test of time? Do they outweigh the memories in our mind? How and why we recount stories the way that we do? How accurate are our re-telling of stories or viewing of old photos can be when we lose the organic nature of each simply in the re-telling.

This month over at my fiction column here at TNB, I decided to have my focus for August be about Jewish authors in the name of the upcoming High Holy Days. I had a stack of books I thought I’d go through but found, of course, that list was a bit too ambitious. I find myself trying to do too many things, always saying yes, never saying no to anyone or anything. My therapist is always telling me that I’m like a pretzel, always ready to twist myself into any shape necessary to accommodate others. While I’ll always disagree that I’m not that flexible, I know she’s almost always right. That’s the trouble when one person knows you better than you know yourself.  I hate being a foregone conclusion, so this was my attempt to prove my therapist wrong by setting some limits and reviewing books I’d already made time to read.  If they happened to be Jewish authors, well then, so be it. (Tod Goldberg, you know you’d be at the top of my list of authors to pimp out if you weren’t already so good at it yourself, just sayin’.)