. . . . long-form . . . word pairings by date + time
August 9, 2016
On this summer morning I am sitting in a quiet room while everyone else is still sleeping, yet it is very full of the anticipation and hopes of all that lies ahead. I am contemplating the promise of fulfillment and fruition, that of surpassing my wildest dreams. It’s responsibility that is all on me and it’s one that I owe myself. It will come slowly if I believe, pay attention, keep taking pictures, and then see what comes; all with a healthy does of tenacity.
I’m beginning to see how being in a place uncertainty opens the opportunity for ideas to come to me from the most unexpected places. I’ve been making my pictures that stem from what I am feeling being a mother. Scrolling over all of my images of the past several years, most if not all are so evanescent to me. Quite suddenly, I need something deeper, and different. I’ve found that what I really want to get to the bottom so that I can look up, to delve inward, to make work that speaks to what is happening inside me.
I look out the window at first light, full of openness - waiting! It’s okay if its a day or a month or a year before I can know what is about to unfold, but it might already already brushing against my skin. For the first time in a long time, I have butterflies in my stomach. The chill I so often feel washes over me, raising goosebumps on my arms. Just being in this new place has transformed me in a way that makes me feel tender and ready to sleep again, already, so that it can all soak in deeper.
Something has shifted in me where I have begun doing things that I have never done before. I dove into the pitch black water on the pond we’ve visited for so many years for the first time, at night. Beneath the surface, I opened my eyes and looked up. What I saw resembled an open lens from the opposite side that I normally see, and it felt a lot like developing sheets of 4x5 film in the complete darkness, only the wet was wrapped all around me. Then, I floated up to see a slathering of stars and possibility.
Do I have promise? I ask myself over and over. Can I speak to others with my photography in a way that interrupts, and changes people even if only a teeny tiny bit? That is my dream. I need to live and breath the creative process each and every day, and then amazing things will happen. Making sacrifices and dedicating the time will bring gifts unforseen. I must recognize more easily. Things can be different. It’s the differences that will define us; so, what makes me different?
I need to get out of my own way, get into my soul, and determinedly make myself get to the place where all that is within me comes together into glorious ideas. I can make things happen, I can make it happen. I think I can - I think I can. It’s going to take practice. My assuredness is like the flutter of a thought that whispers and flies away before it’s caught. Where I am feels very circular, and there are cycles in which I feel stronger and quicker in my reactions.
I see that it is going to take patience to know what is within me and why. This process is already full of surprises, and disruptions. It’s the pictures that have the information about these stops. I’m listening to them, and beginning to make the connections as I write in my journal. So much more still needs to be done. And then I will go back round, again and again, with more pictures and deeper understanding of what makes them and what makes me, me. It’s the way, layer by layer.
Leaves are rustling. I stare to the point of loosing focus, and listen, until I have another answer. And I take a deep breath, fill my chest, relaxing my hands and mind for the response. The sounds of a chirping bird gives a tune — a melody for creativity. It’s a heart song, ree-ree-reee-re-ree-re-ree-re-reee. I am listening and I hear you, dear bird!
My heart races in an echoing percussion. And so the refrain goes on as I look onward to all that is to come. It sort of feels like being newly in love. I am so nervous and excited. I am finding myself more tired than normal with the weight of all the emotions inside me. My foray into the darkroom this past year has been but an appetizer. There is so much that lies unseen and unknown that are waiting to be found, realized and discovered. I am beginning to see something.
I have put myself onto the path, however twisty and obscure; because, it’s going to be all about the feeling that wouldn’t be otherwise. If it weren't for me. This has become my new mantra, it reminds me that I can let too many pictures go left unmade. It’s going to be weird and wild, and wonderful!
And, every now and then on very special days, I will stop to share my discoveries with the world. I will probably feel exposed like the silver halides on a strip of film hit by light. I need to first understand the context of what it is I am creating. The pull is from within my heart which will serve as my over-arching compass. Of course, I will be sure to pack a few wrong turns for the unexpected, foul ups for learning, and string along the ever accompanying fear and frustration for motivation. But, it’s a whole new fantastic beginning.
December 13, 2016
In a momentary fog, I stand on thin, dark ice.
The frigid pool below is fear.
I begin to slip.
I hear my baby crying, only he’s not a baby anymore.
It reverberates in my ears.
Make it stop! I yell.
Then I hear the drum of the door slam.
More shrill crying.
A good memory is overwritten.
And takes away one without a picture.
I regret the sound of my beastly reprimand.
I feel a bitter chill: it’s resentment.
My stomach whirls in melody.
The endless refrain. If only I’d refrained.
These notes wrap a dark veil all around us.
The crescent moon is waxing.
It reveals a river connected to streams.
At first unseen, but THERE.
I feel a hug, long and tight.
A new lens rests in my hands
One that may connect us more deeply.
Looking through, I see light, and find myself again.
December 20, 2016
I hold on to photographs I made that may not speak to me today, but could at a time in the future, as my way of seeing changes. I am not really hoarding, just holding on, to each moment and item, and opportunity to remember, to be present. It’s all going past way too quickly. How does one recognize when it changes, when the holes left behind from memories and experiences fading away are more plentiful than all of the time left? Might not be true, but why does it feel that way?
January 5, 2017
I don’t know what is to become of them, or me, or us together. I can’t be sure that they are going to come out unscathed, avoiding all that I fear for them amid the chaos. This uncertainty is what I hold being their mother. This vulnerability replays out in my mind, as if I need reminding to keep them safe. Yet, this refrain is so hauntingly beautiful to me, as it’s as constant as the light and shadows of each passing day.
January 24, 2017
Yesterday morning, instead of coming to see me and using his words or something more sensible he decided to rip down and tear several photographs that were mounted on the wall beside his bed in a loud and explosive fury. I heard him from upstairs in my room above his, and wondered if he had taken ill, the noise was so abrupt and violent. I rushed to the top of the stairs to see if he was okay, shouted down and my other son answered back, “no he is not okay, he doesn’t want to go to school.” He came round that morning, changing clothes and having his breakfast, though we missed the bus. I was distressed by this unexpected vandal, yet curious for how to teach in such moment when I had been affronted in that artwork I had made was purposefully destroyed. His father thought perhaps he should pay for the prints, to replace them, but I think that there is something more that he has already done. Today he’s shown me that when we break down, there is an opportunity to rise up to stronger than before. We learned again together that when things get too hard, we walk away to a happier place, and then come back when we are ready to make things right again. When we do, it will be better than we would have ever imagined. New pictures can be made, better than any of the ones that were torn.
February 1, 2017
What is holding me back in writing about my pictures? Fear, mostly. So I will talk about that a bit. I am in a place in my life that is a bit uncomfortable for me. It’s been that way for a while, we struggle to make ends meet.The stress has been oppressive given the duration. I’ve been hanging on to hope, feeling powerless, worthless, depleted, and well - a bit blue. Photography has been the handle I grasp to get through. Life is meant to be hard, there are some joys that come expectedly, but what I’ve come to find is no matter how hard one prepares, works, and persists in putting one foot in front of the other, there is no guarantee about the way things will turn out. Confidence isn’t enough, and it doesn’t do much further when it runs low. Photography has been a way for me to garner myself up, grow, explore, and even escape. And to connect with others. It used to be that taking the pictures, snapshots of the everyday was fully satisfying to me; but the satisfaction has been more elusive. Better images begging for better images, begging for deeper meaning, begging for broader response. I feel a disconnect, a disruption, and an epic fog. Tongue-tied, and circling. Refrain, Round and round.
June 20, 2017
I went to brush my teeth before bed. It was late, and the kids were still awake. As I was walking around my room, toothbrush in hand, I spotted a firefly on the window by the chair. I went to sit, and watch it a while. After a minute, back in the bathroom I spit and rinsed. I decided I should go across the street to see if there were many more fireflies. I pulled on my softest sweater over my shoulders, and reached for my camera. Adjusting the ISO to the highest setting, I went down the stairs towards the front door. Opening it quietly as possible, I looked up to see a smattering of stars expanding across the sky, and many fireflies glittering across the way. One second later, I was back into the house to rouse the littles from their approaching slumbers. Come see, it’s amazing, I beckoned. They were awake enough to answer and rise. We went out together, as they conveyed their fears about being out in the dark. I tried my best to assure them, come sit on my lap in this chair, there is a shooting star! My older one said, there could be a coyote. They fled. My heart sank. I went off into the dark anyways. Walking over to the field, and down the grassy path into the flickering show. One landed on my nose. I kept taking pictures, too slow for hand held, I thought. The air smelled of the ocean, and there was just a hint of a breeze. I could see Orion as I walked back to the house. Maybe I made something as magical as the night. There is plenty more summer. Actually, today is only the first day. There will be a few more shooting stars and fireflies before it’s done, and time for them to adjust to the dark and admire the splendor around them that I see.
April 25, 2017
The cold air tickles my bare skin, raising goosebumps. I take a cold sip, drinking the space between me and them.
A morning dove sings perched up on the wire, signaling .
Hip-hip! It’s spring again, but the wave of pain, rolls within, like a sharp breeze skirting over the water.
Another year gone, ever the same, but underneath, fitfully unforeseen.
They are ever more layered, partly sprung.
Seeing beauty: it’s my well.
What are they living?
In these uncertain moments, an ache answers acknowledging fragility.
As they grow further from the nurseries, they nestle deeper into my heart through these salty seasons of motherhood.
April 16, 2018
The cold air is unmoving, except for when the wind thrusts it violently making me bend in its wake. Trees mockingly bloom with snowball cotton tops. Gale force winds throw the storm door off its hinges as I make my way outside. I hear the birds who have come back to our yard to sing, though the snow clings, swaddling the muddy earth. Could it be that winter is my growing season as I am blasted by aching pains? Bitter surroundings intensify, yet what is alight inside me radiates warmth back against the icy shivers. Slowly, daylight extends as the cold months tick tock. Sunsets shift further towards due west as its arcing trajectory swoops. A lingering golden rim on the horizon hovers like a tally mark above the distant tree line, as I count the days until the peepers share their song. I could wish it all away, but instead I find myself humming a harmonizing rhythm to this turbulent season. Glimmers emerge in the dark, catching light and sparkling, bringing me to notice the beauty. The bridge will come when the first forsythia blooms, signaling the end to winter’s fever.