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Entries in inspiration (5)


Trust and the Path

Sometimes it's hard to know exactly where you are, and even harder to trust that where you are is a fine place to be.  It's a struggle I've been intimately familiar with over the past six months (a year??) on my own creative path, and I'm happy to be guest blogging about the challenge of seeing - and trusting - over at Shutter Sisters today.  I'd love it if you join me there.


Gutsy: Interview with an Artist

This is Christopher Owen Nelson, a painter and the subject of a short film a friend and colleague is making.  My friend asked me if I would interview Chris for the film and what followed was a coffee-fueled two hour conversation about how he knew he had to be an artist, what inspires him, his process, and the similarities between art making and fly fishing. 

Chris has created a technique of carving and painting sheets of acrylic into vivid images of the natural world. There are a lot of trees in his work, and he told me that he thinks of painting them as portraits rather than landscapes.  You've probably noticed by now how much I love both portraits and trees so this whole idea basically made me tingle.

Even in a weekend of snowy Colorado fun this stood out as a highlight for me.

I don't want to scoop the film, so I won't spoil too much about the conversation here.  But I will share this: we talked about what it looks like when gutsy shows up in your heart, studio, work.  Since I often get paralyzed in the thinking part of, well, everything, this part of his response struck me:

At some point, you just can't go around thinking your whole life.  You've got to pour some resin into a mold.  You've got to rip something out.

You've just go to do.  Do.


More doing.  Less thinking.  It was on my list of intentions for the year.  Here it is, showing up again.

What does gutsy look like for you?


Where My Head Is

358.365 14mm f8 1/500 ISO 200I am possessed.

I woke before 5:00 this morning, full of words to put to paper, ideas to sift through.  I lay there in the dark, mind whirring, hoping the high pitch wouldn't wake the husband or the dog.

This is the part where the fears come up and try to put a wet blanket over the small flame in my heart.  This is the part where I have to whisper over and over to myself do not wait for an invitation to put yourself out into the world. 

This is the part where I must remember that having my feet on the ground is not the important part.


Hero Worship

341.365 135mm f5.6 1/640 ISO 200Christine is my bestie's bestie from kindergarten.  I met her years ago on a backpacking trip and promptly fell in love.  She's like that.  She's smart and beautiful and funny as hell, the kind of woman you would hate because you're not her, except that you can't because you're too busy wanting to be next to her.

I had the good fortune to spend time with her last week when she was in town being a professional badass and she let me shoot her on a down day.  These aren't the photos she'll submit for the conference program at her next keynote address (though I think we got some of those too) but for me these pictures catch a sense of her confidence and the comfort she has developed in her own skin.

She is an inspiration to me - her career, her courage, her grit, her conviction.  I'm hoping the more time I spend with her the more it will rub off on me. 

Plus, we'll laugh.


One Weekend, Two (Incomplete) Lists

First, things to let go of:

  • the compulsion to prove myself the Life Of The Party
  • the disappointment that I'm not
  • the urge to dance with 10,000 weirdly dressed freaky people at the Thievery Corporation show at Red Rocks
  • the anxious stomach, at the thought of Doing The Right Thing
  • the one remaining ticket to Burning Man, to be mailed to a deserving soul in San Francisco today
  • the vivid Playa dreams I've had for the past 12 months
  • the fear that I'll never be able return to Black Rock City

I chose the quiet space this weekend, though the fleshy little crescent moons dug into my palms betrayed my fight to release the Showy, the Loud, the Fun.  It is possible that the fact that I was too busy all weekend to write proves that I still have a way to go toward the quiet space.  But never mind that.

So, List #2.  Also known as, steps toward quiet satisfaction:

305.365 50mm f1.4 1/60 ISO 1600

  • Is it weird to profess moving toward a quiet place and then immediately show a photo of a DJ?  Baby steps.  But when your brother -- who has excellent taste in intelligent music and who is really getting the hang of matching beats -- invites you to dance... and when the dance is in a dark room with no alcohol and no expectation that you'll even speak to anyone and only the impression that you'll let the music move you...  well, at that point it becomes kind of like a late-night yoga class.  With big speakers.

306.365 50mm f3.2 1/320 ISO 200

  • Come to think of it, toddler birthday parties are not famously quiet either.  But being the world's Least Organized Mom (manifested this week by my inability to plan Ezra's birthday party more than three days in advance) does have occasional advantages.  No Chuck E Cheese.  No pool party.  No Children's Museum mayhem.  Just a couple picnic blankets, some cupcakes, and a small gathering of the kind of long-time friends and family that let you know you've arrived at Community. 

Ezra will turn three this week secure in the knowledge that he got his birthday cake.  And I will keep from him the secret that there is still a vat of homemade cream cheese icing in the fridge.

307.365 50mm f1.4 1/60 ISO 800

  • Finally, I had been torn between an invitation to a salon my long-lost friend Marjorie was hosting last night (quiet) and the Thievery show at Red Rocks (loud).  I met Marjorie in a writing class years ago.  She has been cultivating a writing life ever since and gathered a collection of some of her favorite writer friends for dinner and readings. 

Wow.  Just, wow.  First of all it was incredibly flattering to even be invited to the same gathering as these people, under the guise of being a Writer.  I mean, they were reading chapters of novels they're working on and memoirs and poetry.  I took the out offered on the invitation and read the work of someone I admire, Kate Inglis.  Seemed a better option than reading aloud the glorified journal entries I post here. 

But here is what I have to say about this: the food was delicious, the people I met were talented and fascinating, the variety and quality of their work was inspiring, and I could have stayed to talk for much longer if we had not already been on the verge of turning into pumpkins by the end of the night.  I did not wish for a moment that I was instead dancing among the throngs at Red Rocks.  Thank you, Marjorie, and all your writerly friends for including me in a completely nourishing evening.  It was exactly what I needed.

(But feel free to keep reports of Thievery Corporation to yourself, people.)