Time is so relative, says The Artist on her 56th birthday. I’d make a case that it’s almost arbitrary except the regular machinations of our celestial neighbors and our own orbit would betray my theory. It’s hard to believe that months have passed since creation of this blog, and it has occupied my mind daily. Not that my mental mastications made it to the page, or screen, or anywhere beyond my little grey cells.
Starting off on the intentional step to be a professional photographer (however I end up defining that for myself, because I’m certainly not a typical anything, much less someone highly trained in the care and feeding of a camera), my mind was blown away on a million levels: This lovely blog, so easy to use it’s scary; the wonderful artist’s reception earlier this year and the sales, support and projects that resulted; a Facebook page for my photography that gets a few hits every day even though I haven’t done much on it since Spring. These benchmarks represented possibilities that I yearned for and didn’t realize were so very accessible. So possible it freaked me out and sent my thoughts tumbling inward.
Good use has been made of these months, this nearly-finished Summer. Household maintenance tasks including plumbing, carpets and painting of childhood spaces directed my attentions to terrestrial tasks, while my mind wandered to the afore-mentioned freak out. What happened? What was the sudden block? Had I gotten what I wanted in some way, finally, only to realize…[fill in the blank here with the million self-negating thoughts humans like to hide behind]…
Only to realize that it felt incredibly narcissistic to purposefully market my images, to suddenly be discussing money with people when I really just wanted to throw my photographs up like confetti and let them fall like the flower petals, to be – eek – marketing myself! Ridiculous, in this age of social media that I would show up shy, but there you go. wtf.
What the heck, indeed. What was at the root of this?
One, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. I was used to carrying that invisible bag of aspirations and hopes around with me but not used to the feeling of setting the bag down and looking through it, getting my hands on those bright, shiny ideas and playing with them in the real world. That took a moment.
Two, in the increasingly-longer moments when One was deemed manageable and set aside, the results of a ton of deferred maintenance on my house and life became obnoxiously apparent, and off I darted to tend things that suddenly seemed important but of which I was either unaware or in denial up until a few minutes prior. As if clearing my desk off in preparation of creative work, and the marketing of said creative work, I realized that fixing plumbing, painting and other even less onerous challenges lie between myself and a blank slate. It might have seemed a temporary misdirection, but the level of creative empowerment I received when overhauling/refreshing my childhood bedroom, installing a new toilet and fixing long-drippy sinks was enormous. It was next-level. I learned that I could sit at an open cupboard beneath the kitchen sink and marvel at the simplicity and impossibility of the drainage, certain that I would never manage to put the pipes back together and return the sink to operation, falling for a good ten minutes into a black hole of uselessness until suddenly one piece falls into place, followed by the rest in about the same amount of time. So, half an hour to go from impossible to flowing water and no drips.
The story repeats, the impossible (or at least not seriously considered possible by me) is conquered in baby steps, and with the house in adequate order, I return to my hiccupy start. Welcome back to us all!
Now? Now I sit at my shiny glass desk from the recycling center, a magnificent edifice of frosted glass on the bottom of a massive slab of tempered, blue-green reflective potential, considering all of the baby steps that call. Signage, cards, a look book or three, the continued venturing into the yard with my cameras, the stalking of birds, the seeking of water, the learning how to sell my vision in order to free me to follow it, the creation of a language with which to share with others that moment when one falls into the image and lands in a place of feeling and peace and focus/no-focus. Backgrounds, context, story – they fall away from a flower observed at a perhaps impolitely too-close distance.