“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
~~~~~~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
The original title to this post was going to be that I fell off the wagon, which I did, but I have so much unresolved in my heart that it often drives me close to madness. I mentioned the last time I wrote that I had a big surprise, and I do and I feel like I can announce it here because I will not be sharing this post on Facebook.
I was hired to write an article for a local paper, the Lincoln Times. It is supposed to be published on Monday and I feel like it will be. I should be excited, and I am, but I highly doubt it will ever amount to anything. I still feel like there is a place for me somewhere and if I can stay sane long enough, I will get there.
Last week about killed me. The weather was so hard on everyone. I am glad my school schedule was much lighter during the week so I could focus my energy on keeping everyone going because it took all of my energy. Everyone made it through the extreme cold, ice, snow, etc. which is surprising. I thought for sure we’d loose rabbits, but we did not. Of course, I could go out this morning and find dead ones, but we are experiencing a virtual heat wave right now. It is 33 degrees; it did not get to 33 degrees much of last week. I am sore in weird places from walking on ice so much. Between the two of us, Wally and I unloaded 800+ pounds of hay; 1,000+ pounds of feed; and 500 pounds of Chaffhaye. In addition to all of these loading and unloading is the daily delivery of feed, hay and straw. Plus the worrying about pipes freezing. It sucked.
On falling off the wagon: I am keeping an “Inspiration Journal” as part of one of the classes that I am taking this semester. I write in it like a fiend. When the teacher reviews it, she laughs because she knows, like everything I do, I do it well and to the best of my ability. In the Journal I wrote that I was going to try to take more time to make pictures here on this farm and stop looking for the exotic elsewhere, but I have not done that. I wrote to another instructor telling him that I wanted to do more on this farm (to him, this farm is exotic), but it feels too ordinary and I miss the wildness of our former farm. I miss the coyotes howling. That farm backed up to a conservation district and there was a lot of land there that could be explored. Here, the road is too close; our neighbors are too close — not the neighbors themselves, but their fences. I feel a bit trapped here. I need to make it into a cocoon and envelope myself in it. Of course with all the snow, ice and now rain, it’s an ugly muddy mess. Can mud be beautiful? Probably.
Light: I need good light to make my pictures this semester. They cannot be done in the studio nor can I manipulate light using a flash or light modifiers. I am dependent upon natural light. I do not like being dependent upon anything. Photography is light + time + (according to photographer Keith Carter) an elemental sense of memory. I know photographs of farms make people happy, but, as I wrote on Facebook earlier this week, our food system is based on lies. People want to see fuzzy pink pictures of farms so that they can believe that is how their food is grown or raised. Realistically, however, that is often not the truth. I do not want to make pink fuzzy pictures. I want to tell the truth.
I have been lazy too. I carry my cameras with me most of the time. I see things on the way to and from school or where ever I am going and more times than not, I do not stop to make the image. That is laziness. My trip to and from school has lots of interesting things. Many times, I pull over so that I can let the vehicle that is riding up my butt pass so I can drive at my pace to look. I see things, but I do not stop. I need to stop.
I feel like I am floundering around with life, but perhaps it is not such a bad thing. In Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas Are Born, Denise Shekerjian writes:
“Cut short of the floundering and you’ve cut short the possible creative outcomes. Cheat on the chaotic stumbling-about, and you’ve robbed yourself of the raw stuff that feeds the imagination.
For many of us, staying loose is an uncomfortable, unsettling feeling if sustained for too long. Ambiguity is confusing, even alarming. We like to frame our inquiries in sharply delineated terms and prefer clean, tidy resolutions to yes or no dictions. Fuzzy circumstances, the ragtag and bobtail of daily uncertainty, exhaust us. It’s much nicer, we think, to have our options cast as either black or white, entirely excluding the hazy middle zones of gray.
Creative people, by contrast, seem to have a great tolerance for the ambiguous circumstances that begin most projects and are more accepting, even welcoming, of this unstructured time. They aren’t lusting after quick outcomes or definitive bottom lines. They are more willing to entertain a prolonged period of leisurely drifting about, curious to see where the unpredictable currents will take them. From this lightness of spirit come the fruits of imagination; there will be plenty of time for the sweat of exertion later on.”
Maybe I need to just accept the floundering and see where it brings me.
Until later …