30 November 2009

Sunrise in Bedlam. Tell Your Story

  400 mm. f/6.3, ss 1/400  ISO 1600, first light
 Sunrise in Bedlam, Pig Barn.

    When I was struggling mightily with sleep and night terrors, I went to see a shrink who was a sleep specialist. He was not surprised that I was having trouble sleeping, as I was going through a lifetime of changes at once.
  What would help? I asked, as I was exhausted from months of sleeplessness.
  Tell your story, he said. That is healing.
   Now we're talking, I thought. Forget pills and Internet remedies, this is a treatment I can get behind. It was good advice.
   I've been telling my story for years, but am learning to do it more honestly. Somebody posted a message on Facebook about changing, and about  regret at the collateral damage we cause to other people in our lives.
  I regret that. But this same shrink said, look, at some point you have to forgive yourself and just move on, and live your life. It's all you can do. Most people make mistakes, but few do anything about them. Be one of those, he said. You will feel better.

Daily Potholders. More cats in the future.

  I track potholder sales much more closely than I follow the stock market. The potholders matter to me, whereas I have nothing of value in the stock market, or any other market. My remaining IRA would cover a weekend in New York City. I am rich in other ways, and I have no notions of ever retiring anyway.
  I might end up helping Maria make potholders. She is trawling for more vintage cat fabric, as the cat potholders she mailed flew out of her studio. She has all kinds of ideas for limited edition and other theme potholders, which she can describe for herself on her website.
  The potholders are a compelling evolution and lesson in creative marketing. The idea of inexpensive, utilitarian art worked from the beginning. Then, as the potholders have assumed different meanings and personality – some made from the fabrics of loved ones, others representing themses like cats – they have evolved further. And are evolving still. Maria even has notecards and shipping labels now. A far cry from the early potholder days.

Smile. The Hound of Love has found another mudhole.

  I have to say having a dog like Lenore provides perspective and grounding. She loves food, playing, water and gross things to eat. And she loves all of them every day of her life. She inspires me to do what I love, and love what I do. And to live my life. For my birthday last August, Maria gave me a money clip. I always stuffed money in my pockets and it was always falling all over the place. It is engraved, quoting Mary Oliver the poet: "Put Your Lips To The World. And Live." It is one of the nicest gifts I've ever received, and that verse was my mantra during some dark days. I said it all the time, wrote it often.
  It is my ideology, really. I love the idea of putting one's lips to the world. And living. It's what I hope to do all the rest of my days.

  ___

 Farm decision notes. I am moving towards some clarity I think. I am not ready to sell the farm right now, which works out, because I don't think anyone is ready to buy it right now, either. Life is strange that way, sometimes lending  a helping hand with decisions. I am holding off on any animals, because I don't want to get any if I'm not committed to staying awhile, even though I have few problems re-homing animals, if the home is good.
  The farm works for Maria and for me. We both feel very creative here.So I'm not all the way there, but that's where I'm leaning, and it feels pretty good. You can always sell a place. But you can't always stay. I may sell off a couple of small chunks, if I can, to lower upkeep and taxes. It's where I am now. I don't know if it's a heart versus mind decision or not. I love writing here and living here, and as my friend Arlene said, that counts for a lot.

Rainy day, cont.

Raindrop in front of the bar. 100 mm macro, ss 1/100, aperture 2.8, ISO 200
The red was enhanced a bit in Aperture. I highlighted the contrast to make the drop stand out
from the backdrop. No sunlight, very cloudy.

 November 30, 2009 – To be honest, today sort of got away from me. It's been raining and dreary, a true November day, and I was interrupted by too many things to recount – phone calls, business stuff, farm chores. I made a bit of headway on the short story, but felt a bit down, so I'm quitting, heading to Manchester for dinner and a visit to the Image Loft to check on my photos for the January 9 photo show. Be back at it tomorrow, posting more tonight. The photo was good for today.

Rainy Day. And struggles

   I see from my messages all the time that many people are struggling these days, something I can see around me. Everyone has to figure out their own way of responding. It's tempting to envy animals, who don't worry about their troubles, simply live around them. Aquinas wrote that animals can't really suffer because they don't know they are suffering. Interesting idea.
   We are not so lucky or wise. I told a pastor friend yesterday that hard times are difficult for people without some ground underneath them. Hard times are challenging, but often lead people to meaningful things – faith, friendship, self-awareness, strength. I wish I only had good times, but I cherish hard times. I always ask how I can make something meaningful out of them. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. But hard times have brought me the greatest gifts I have – stories, dogs, photography, Maria, the farm. And the best thing about hard times is that they are always followed by better times, if you read much history at all.