23 April 2016

Red Nearby

Red Nearby

Red Nearby

Red is always nearby, I have come to take it for granted. When I am in my study, which is most of the day, Red sleeps under the table next to my desk. He does not move or make a sound when I work, but we are aware of one another. I went out of the office for a few minutes and came back and he was waiting for me. Nearby.

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Portrait: Rosemary And David

Rosemary And David

Rosemary And David

Rosemary Ahern and her partner David Hunt drove up to Cambridge from downstate today, Rosemary agreed to speak to my writing class at Pompanuck Farm. There are few people in the world who have done more for me than Rosemary has, I do not believe I would be a writer today without her.

Went publishing collapsed in 2008 and I lost my long-time editor, I proposed doing a book of short stories. I had never written short stories before, and I desperately needed an editor, commercial publishers don't generally edit too much anymore, writers are pressured to hire freelance editors.

Rosemary helped guide me through the short stories and stayed with me a I feared I would never write a book again. After my bankruptcy, Rosemary agreed to work without pay until I could pay her, which I have. Apart from that financial support, Rosemary gave me the faith in myself to continue trying to write, and she encouraged me to approach Simon and Schuster and she was right, I was given a book contract.

I am a book writer again, as I have long been, my book will be published in 2017 and I am talking with Simon and Schuster about a second book, that is not definite. Rosemary has stayed my close friend throughout this period and also helped focus and improve my books.

She talked to my students for two hours today, and she was, as usual, wonderful to listen to. She is always calm, clear, and she loves writers and always fights for our point of view in the never-ending conflicts between authors and publishers. She and David are a joy to be with, they are so comfortable with one another and connected to each other.

Rosemary has been a great friend to me, and we have become close friends as well as author-editor. She has helped me navigate the turbulent waters of the new publisher, and I think I am finally beginning to come out the other side, still alive and kicking. When I felt the most abandoned and discarded a few years ago, I think it was Rosemary's faith in me, more than anything else, that kept me going.

If she believed in me, there must be something there worth hanging on to.

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Spring: Sheep And Lambs

Sheep And Lambs

Sheep And Lambs

On the way to my writing class, I passed a farm with some new lambs, it made me nostalgic for all the lambing we have done. When we are doing it, we swear to never do it again. When we are not doing it, we miss the experience. It is always a beautiful thing to see.

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Still Life: Post Processing

Post-Processing

Post-Processing

Like many photographers, I sometimes post-process my photographs to bring out a color or a shade or detail. Photography has changed so much, the camera does so much of the thinking the photographer used to do.  The new software does a lot more. The photographer can mostly take pride from composition and eye, rich colors are now easy to get.

Post-processing can also be an art, I love my time alone with a photograph, touching them up here and there.

I still find, though that natural light, the sun in the morning or the afternoon, does the best post-processing, better than any hot new software. The world is democratizing, almost anyone can take a good photograph, inexpensively and quickly. But something lost also, when the photographer has little more to do than touch a shutter.

I think no software can match this late afternoon light falling on a brick (from Mr.Blockhead) by my office window. It is a special kind of light, I have never seen a computer process match it. Photographer's light is the best post-processing I know of.

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Different Verses: Be Fulfilled, Be Afraid

Go To Yourself

Go To Yourself

For some reason, the woods are a cathedral to me, a temple, I think of Jesus an also of the Kabbalah when I am out in the woods, there is something holy about walking among the big and beautiful trees. The peeling bark on the aging trees calls me to photos.

Verse: "Go to yourself, know your self, fulfill your self."

"This verse is addressed to every person. Search and discover the root of your soul, so that you can fulfill it and restore it to its source, its essence. The more  you fulfill your self, the closer you approach your authentic self."

That is the verse of the ancient mystics who believed that God's hope for people was that they be fulfilled.

Today, the message so many of us have received is different:

Hide and suppress the root of your soul, so that you can be angry and self-pitying and lead a hollow and substitute life so that others can make money and stifle  your spirit. The less you fulfill  yourself, the richer the coffers of the greedy people at the top of our world.

I prefer God's verse. Be fulfilled, not afraid.

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