I think Dante was about right; the path to paradise really does begin in hell, or at least the path to achieving a fully aligned, in date order photo book definitely starts in purgatory.
Now I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with me when it comes to these, somewhat testing, books. I like to think I’m a pretty tech savvy mama and posses a modicum, or more, of common sense, yet the moment I log in to my account all rational thinking goes out of the window, I enter in to a state of blind panic and begin living in denial: What book?
It’s as if I suffer from photo book amnesia. As well as forgetting how to actually create this modern album, I also plum forget what an awful experience it is. I manage to completely blank out the torment, distress and bloodshed I, invariably, experience along the path to photo paradise.
And believe me, it does not get easier. You’d think I’d learn how to do it, but no! Each time, I embark upon this road to perdition, I instantly regret it and find myself mourning the demise of ye olde photo booke album. Oh those halcyon days of waiting, with bated breath, to collect photos from the actual photo shop, looking through with excitement on a bench, outside an actual photo shop, then manually arranging each photo in to a funky, cardboard album, methodically using a tea towel to help smooth over the plastic covering, whilst keeping everything crossed the end result would be crease free! Okay, I’ll admit it, perhaps I am looking back through rose-tinted spectacles because that plastic stuff was definitely the Achilles’ heel of the albums of yore.
But, hey, those were all the old days and these are the new; this time will be different, right?
It was with a whitened pallor and fear in his eyes that my husband speedily left the room when I reached for the loving creation of: Sam – The First Year. It’s like he knew.
Oh look, I thought to myself, upon Sam turning two, wouldn’t it be nice to flick through his first year photo book? Oh look, I thought to myself, upon flicking through said book, wouldn’t it be nice to create a book for his second year? I know, I thought to myself, I’ll create one for EVERY year henceforth. What a super idea! And what a wonderful mama I am.
In a flash I’d been overcome with that warm fuzzy feeling of love, and joy and happiness, (and most probably wine) the spark within me had reignited: Photo books are great! All hail the most wondrous digital album! The photographic future is phantasmagorical! I was going to do this.
Plus I’d had an email. There was money off. And just what did my husband know? I had beautiful memories of lovingly creating: Sam – The First Year, reliving every photo whilst smiling to myself at the hidden jokes within each frame. Plus, well, I know best, according to me, so in for a penny, in for a pound, right there, right then, I took that deal and I made it happen: Ergo this book shall be!
There was now no turning back.
The second my transaction completed the warning signs were there. I logged in to my account, that place of desolation and dashed dreams, coming face to face with my numerous unfinished endeavours, vestiges of hope and promise, the reality of unfulfilled realisations. Temporary albums strewn here, there and everywhere; hangovers from internet crashes; my ignorance and simply losing the will to live. Oh yes, they were there, and yet, still, the sense of perseverance remained strong within me.
Where I may have failed before I would this time succeed.
I didn’t even make it to the first page before I felt a sense of foreboding dread. My old friend panic set in and I wondered what fresh kind of hell I had, voluntarily, let myself in for. AGAIN. There was only one thing for it:
With a huge sigh, a bit of a mumble and a quietly uttered “I told you so” my technical advisor, aka my knight in shining armour, arrived, wielding wine and a biscuit and the ability to upload photos. My hero.
And so I find myself, pretty much one year on from the date of my last foray into hell, visiting again. Aligning photos, date ordering, zooming in and picking a theme, hunching over my laptop whilst craning my neck at some sort of gravity defying angle, all in the name of my 60 page book of happiness, knowing that despite every best effort, I’m going to be in this exact predicament this time next year.
I’m just utterly and immeasurably grateful that I didn’t go for the hundred page deal. My husband speaks some sense after all.