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{I am a Witness. I have a Voice. I Intend to Use it.} Looking Back on Year Two of Being a Writer

8728474819_71223eda2e_oThere are moments when I hate what’s inside my heart, tarry and thick with things quite undesirable. Learning to be comfortable with yourself, and equally discontent in order to be transformed, is one of life’s most difficult lessons.

I’ve just completed year two of “Being a Writer.”

OTHERS

As I have received affirmation from other writers and publications it amplifies to me the incessant poverty of my soul: the need for attention. Like a sacred signal, others have the power to bestow and to validate. And the bedevilling truth is that my soul craves it. To know how others perceive your work. The challenge has been to confront that gnawing need.

I want to write from a different place—a place of purpose. I have learned to question the longing for endorsement, which is particularly challenging when we all know that it is through others that we will become more influential and be read.

As I search about for evidence of my ability I have seen signs of it. I can admit how good this feels. I feel honored and humbled to be included in projects, and I fly for a while, intoxicated by seeing my words in places other than this little blog.

LISTENING WELL & SHARING PARTS

This year has been less about perfection and more about process.  As I settle in to liking my own ideas, the words collected on the page, I fight a little less with each sentence. Hold less tightly to what Anne Lamott calls “little darlings.” Precious sentences are usually over heavy, causing the reader to stumble and perhaps even give up.

Though writing is difficult work, I am learning that reading should be a delight, smooth and sweet like cream.  I have also learned that editors can make you sound better than you imagined possible, if you will only listen.

The responsibility to scratch words down is about more than cleverness, more than holding truths in my two hands and hammering it down on the page, more than dazzling others and more than pride in my work. It is about letting go of sacred totems and knowing when to hold back. It is accepting that your soul truths are precious and must only be shared with intention. One’s life and experiences, the anguish and pain must (at times) be sacrosanct.

Too much spilling over, with emotions a rushing avalanche, crushes the reader.  People look away if the ideas are too stark and as they do you are left alone with the sorrows. Then you must take care with what you share of your own life.

So, I was drawn to a new prayer life this year, to solitude, and came to the understanding that to be a writer is a grave, holy responsibility.

In a language of prayer then I returned, after a time. Open-handed with God first, then to the pen and page. Collecting the words pooling up from a tuition paid in the blood of one’s life, letting go of some things. My suffering is sacred to me but it is only after the dross burns away that it grows suitable for others to read.

I look ahead with eyes blazing, fiercely determined to learn from my life.  And as I peer into the mist of tomorrow’s sure ache, I am conscious of how little I know and yet I find myself strangely satisfied.

To write is to be exposed. While uncomfortable this is also a revelation.

Year one was a stew of fear and childlike developing aspiration. I was a little too comfortable with my naïve perceptions.  Year two has been a rich smelling curry of risk-taking and yearning but had a stench of feeling left out. For even online there’s an in crowd, the A-team, the coterie of the Elite Lists.

YEAR THREE

I hope in year three to let go of “I Can’t” and of “If Only” and face things squarely.  This is who I am.  This is what I have to offer.

As I set down goals, and slowly begin to achieve them, I feel purposeful and ambitious and aspiring.  I will write about things that are heavy on my mind: a deepening faith, mental illness, the injustice of racism and sexism, and my ongoing sobriety.

This year has been mostly survival and “writing down the bones.”  Being a mother, wife, daughter and friend has invaded my personal goals and aspirations. And, living with ash in one’s mouth all the time, you only offer the remains, hoping these odds and ends are meaningful but knowing in your deep places that they were sometimes artless and ghastly, often self-indulgent.

This year as a writer has taught me that life is to be lived well—in order to have words worth reading—which often requires that I step back and reserve the parts that are too hot and holy.  This is the growing up of year two.

This year was hard.—

With lusts of envy and greed creeping in,

with personal heartaches and deepening spiritual awareness,

with “real life” weighing tragic and heavy in ways that I have been unable to express.

—All demanding balance and requiring a maturing of spirit, soul and mind.  Admitting it here is the easy part. It has required honest and brave time alone, necessary no matter how long it takes.

Although I live often in the darkness, I’ll fight to write no matter the grief.

Over and over this year, I have been surrounded by awareness of Women, witnesses in the Holy Scriptures and all around me in life; the women who were and are faithful to Jesus.  They went back to the tomb, were greeted and commissioned by Jesus to bear the good news of the resurrection.

I’ve struggled with my role as a woman in the Church and in my church.  And out of a desire for unity, out of fear of being misunderstood, from a place of insecurity I have shut myself up.  In year three I hope to become a stronger advocate for women.

I am a witness. I have a voice. I intend to use it.

MY CONCLUSIONS

Life is hard.  You cannot write about all of it.

Work on internal integrity.

Learn to trust yourself and your voice.

Take risks. It is usually worth it.

Don’t let life overrun your goals and aspirations as a writer.

Listen to the places where your heart breaks and write about it.

Thanks for sticking with me in the writing, growing, and dreaming.  I’m grateful your hearts, following along this journey.

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{rough thoughts on love and mortality in the middle years}

I have no business writing when I need to be packing, preparing, paying bills, picking up prescriptions, cleaning house, and washing laundry, readying myself and the family for me to leave town.  These are very drafty thoughts on aging parents, ailing friends, launching teenagers, and being human.  

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Love and Mortality in the Middle Years

Our middle years—carry

the work of tending to ailing parents

and sometimes losing,

nursing them respectfully and without impatience.

That is love of a child.

 //

Our middle years—rambling side by side with good friends,

you and I, fighting illness and the frailty of being human.

Growing into who we were going to become.

That is the love of a partner and friend.

 //

The human toll of ageing all the while launching

children to fly! The human ache of

watching lives unfold.

Let them fly, let them flail.  Breathing hope into their

youthful lungs. Speaking truth all the while

shaking your head as they roll their eyes in disgust. Wobbly legs

running out and away.  Knowing this

is what they are meant to do.

That is the love of a parent.

 //

We all need wisdom, grace upon grace and more joy (oh, for more joy!).

In the midst of relentless sorrow and loss,

your doorway remains open.

In this middle space of anticipation, of letting go

in more ways than is reasonable or comfortable,

all of which is profoundly difficult

and is the principle achievement of being human.

 //

Middle years: Caring and holding,

loving and letting go.

All this is the Life and Death of the middle years.

This is love and mortality

in the middle years.

An Ode To Joy: When Chasing Significance, Ministry, Motherhood, & Alcohol Isn’t Enough

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My daughter thinks she Knows My Dreams, she pushed hard recently trying to get me to admit them. Telling me “Go to seminary and be a pastor that writes, mom. That’s what you want. Just do it.” It’s so easy for her to say, I think to myself, with my incessant dissatisfaction and oh so many fears.

I think to myself: I’m stuck. I’m not worthy. I’ll never Be.

First came sin.

I mean we’re all sinners for sure, but the home I grew up in, I never met Jesus. I never knew Grace.

I didn’t know Jesus who is the Lord of the Universe and Hope for the world, that my Dad was always talking about.  I couldn’t believe, not for decades, that I was loved and that if I were the only Blessed Sinner on Planet Earth, Jesus would have died that grizzly death, for me. No Way.

Work Harder.

I have lived day by day, believing that if I could just be A Better Person.  If I accomplished that much more than other people, worked harder, worked longer, worked better, then, I’d be okay. And so for years that’s what I did. I worked and worked and worked, and I lived a lie.

I was never okay. I was always terrified.

I was a mess inside, deep down where you cannot admit working at a Christian organization that you’re not sure that you ever believed.

Motherhood.

So I quit all that, thinking Being a Mother is noble (enough) and even a very good thing to do.  I mean, who doesn’t find meaning in motherhood?

Never mind that I just wasn’t ready to be at home.

Too Broken Up Inside, Not Even Knowing Jesus and With a Hole in my Heart, I quit work in ministry for all the wrong reasons.

Then came Despair on a Colossal Level.

Was I ever unprepared for the depth of my anguish. For the loss of meaning without Work. The hole in my soul was frantic with fear, day after day, still.

I thought to myself I must miss My Important Work!  All those years of Chasing Significance and Feeling Important, all that had made life meaningful in the past was gone.

Stripped Naked, the rug pulled out from under me, I fell hard; I fell flat.

Major Depression.

Depression hit just as I was starting to meet the Jesus Everyone Knew and Believed in. We were now attending a lovely church that ministered to my Broken-down Heart.   Just as I began to learn and study scripture for myself.  Just as I was learning that no matter what things I did or didn’t do with my life, I was loved and okay.  Just as a little of that truth sank in,

I slid down into the darkest pit of misery and hopelessness and despair. A place So dark, so bleak, so heavy that I was surprised by this new level of unhappiness.  I never knew that people could feel that lost. (I wrote about that in Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression.)

Broken by a life that was bereft of meaning, tired beyond comprehension with three babies in diapers, bored by being at home, dissatisfied with my contribution to the world, rejecting Grace still though I had begun to understand it intellectually, then came drink.  It was a respite in the beginning, an oasis.

Alcoholism.

As the years went by what had been a brief escape, a place to go when all else seemed

Worthless, Hopeless and Endless,

I drank.  And drank. And five years passed, and I was

Work-less, Meaningless, and soon a Fallen Down Drunk. I was addicted.  And working through the Depression and All Of The Above, I finally heard the

Sweet

Whisper

of the Spirit.  By this time I knew a bit more, I believed in the Grace of Jesus and God broke in and confronted my

Cycling Toilet of Shame, the hole in my heart leaking pain all over the floor, and

my F E A R.

An Ode to Joy.

A decade has passed and I’ve been sober almost five years.  I’m still

a colossal addict even sober, who wakes up every day on the verge of an existential crisis.  Deep, DEEP within, I crave significance. I crave making a meaningful contribution to the world. I long for Joy, real Joy.

Even now, listening to the mystical, providential, sweeping Spirit of God who Speaks and Holds me every day and quiets my frantic heart, that says:

{Just Be. And wait and Trust me.}

The surrender daily is bittersweet. Because I still don’t know What I’m Doing with my LIFE.  This poverty of spirit within me breaks my heart; I feel I betray Jesus in every moment that I’m

fearful, restless, dissatisfied, and confused.

Because unlike what my daughter believes, I don’t know what I am to DO, more than

Just Be. And so, I wait.  And in the waiting, I am transformed.

[I Asked God for More] than Motherhood

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I woke up on Sunday full of lament. The depression that had been crushing me was now a throttling choke. I woke up straining. Strangled and gasping for air, for truth, for relief; I woke up.

I woke up on Sunday already giving up. Begging for it, the answer to the question depression always asks:  Why am I here?

All night long, relentlessly; a jangling chorus, a litany of failures, a litany of fears, a litany of shame. Making a list, my brain ordered them into meaningful classifications, one by one, a citation of what’s gone wrong.

Then, I went from listing to knee-deep in real water that came in while we were sleeping.  While he slept and I tossed about listing endlessly my disappointments. They were a song, the cacophony of my failures, singing and dancing in a winged frenzy above the bed.  Those songs have always been there for me, silent to him.

The water is rising around us and soon I forget my question, my list while living the longest day that I can remember. We vacuumed 600+ gallons out of the basement, while it kept coming.

That day, on a Sunday, I woke up, realizing the only one who declares me a failure is me. I am my own worst enemy. Only I am disappointed and angry with me and

I am angry at God.  I thought God and I had big plans.

A missionary kid, I watched my parents traverse each Continent of the world, going where others feared, doing what others wouldn’t, changing things, making good happen, and always leaving us to DO THINGS.  I assumed – I thought I would be a part of this in the end, do something big, significant. Eventually I would do something special.

I thought I was special, when I was doing, making, performing, achieving.  God and I, I thought we had plans.

I woke up on Sunday and realized, failure isn’t at all what I thought – and when life took a detour for me, into shame, regrets, sin, my mistakes, it all taught me and turned me into a new person.

Redeemed, New and Different, I woke up.

And knew, again. And the question changed.

What is success in life if we cannot be there for our family, to be nurturing, teaching, holding, comforting? What I rarely felt growing up, this is my offering now. Even though it isn’t within my control what my children choose to do with their lives, who or what they become, I woke up on a Sunday and realized.

I’m no big shot, except in my kid’s lives and there I am.  And I’ll struggle for this to be

Enough. And I know it’s not forever

Except it will last forever, for them.

Silent for Days, becomes Years

Silent for Days, becomes years
when the Girl Child now Woman is afraid of her own words,
allowing her many fears to overwhelm.
sometimes offering Powerful Utterances
that shape, guide, portend,
sometimes paralyzed.
Deep calls to Deep, inside
the Place Where She is Full, saying
lay down, let go.

Silent for Days, becomes years
when the Girl Child now Woman
knows and comes to love
herself and comes to believe
in the One who Gave His Life for us all.
Still waters, Silent
deep, deep inside
the Girl Child now Woman is daily groping,
hoping not to misstep.  knowing
she holds one, two, three, four
Souls in her sweaty, grasping hands.
she is hopeful and
needing, wanting to nurture and heal.
so much faith, so much potential, so much possibility.

Silent for Days, becomes years
when Girl Child now Woman
lays down her life, lets go
of control,
of results,
of Knowing her Future or
knowing anything at all.
building calluses on her knees, head
bowed, tears flowing, hands
open, heart
free.

the Girl Child now Woman knows
how little she knows.
she lets go.  her heart
bursting from the agony of it,
the birthing of the one, two, three, four lives
put into her hands and
her One Life.
Just ahead, Looms.  Just ahead,
the One who Gave His Life for us all
Asks it of her
and she lets go.

What I will “Keep in my Pocket” this year?

Write thy blessed name, o Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved, that no prosperity, no adversity shall ever move me from thy love.  Be thou to me a strong tower of defense, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help and a guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life.

— Thomas a Kempis


What will I “keep in my pocket” this year?

Reflecting on the past year, I discovered some patterns – some good, some not so much.  I have had to face that I am can be a negative, scattered, and discontented person. (Ouch.) This is no surprise to those who truly know me. I’m a pessimist. A Cynic. An agnostic by nature?

I prefer the term realist because I know that on one level I will never forget. I believe I will always be a person that sees injustice and screams, an advocate against bigotry and discrimination.  And I will always speak and work for a more just world. And yes, sadly I can be a whiner, pessimistic and well, I’ll go ahead and name it:  I can be a downer!

Many times this year I have been so caught in my own brokenness — to a degree that I could no longer make out God’s voice in the cacophony of my injuries and the world’s throbbing sorrows.  And tragically then one ceases being useful.

And God is speaking.  He never ceases to speak. 

And it is intoxicating and magnificent.  Humankind cannot even imagine the kingdom of God here on earth, the way he wants it.  Even this year, God as has been healing me, I cannot conjure up what he intends. Most days I struggle just to believe. Amid his miraculous work, I only limit God by fixating on all my limitations.

And I know that others, perhaps you, certainly members of my own family, have difficulty trusting me, when I am so frequently scattered and shattered; when I don’t even trust myself.

I want to learn to trust in God, more.  And I want to become trustworthy.  

For 2012, I will focus on Abundance.  (as well as: Peace. Cease. Create.)

I believe this will come through discipline…

The discipline of giving thanks, of daily prayer and learning the WORD of God for myself.

I long for Peace.  I believe this will come in focusing on these things.

Being mindful. Being strong. Being a healer. Being trustworthy. Being healthy.

Some things need to Cease.

Less weight (as in actual poundage).

Less stuff.

Less (focus on my) pain.

I was made to Create. I will do that through being purposeful …

Words. Images. Life.

How did I get this list?

I was helped in thinking this through, by something a friend wrote when I asked about the process of finding three words, with intentionality, for the coming year. It took some time for me to sort this out for myself.

She said:

“the month of dec i spend a lot of time reflecting on the year passing by. it ends up beckoning the hopes for the coming year. i start making lists of words that feel representative of my intentions for the time coming. …  the words end up weaving in and out of the decisions i make, the way i take notice. they really impact the dailies. and since that is the marrow of our living- this daily bit- i love having them in my pocket. “

I love that.  “Having them in my pocket” whether it is literally or not, it’s a beautiful metaphor.

Really, what do any of us have but today—yes, this one day.  We are promised nothing more. We are given this one life and with it we can be scattered and flighty, erratic, untrustworthy, as I have been; or we can become intentional and resolute and positive, as I long to be.

How are you, as you head into 2012? What things will you keep in your pocket? How will you face today?

I dream of doing a lot of things, dream only dream…..

For a long time I have felt a growing disquiet and troubled feeling about my days. Because of the nature and pattern of them, I could endlessly sit and take in all that’s going on in the  greater world.  And because of my propensities, my heart hurts anew each time I read something: about the raping of women in Congo, genocide in Rwanda, plight of girls in China and  Afghanistan, homeless in America, immigrants, undocumented kids who grew up in the US, poor black kids in my city, incarcerated Black men, young unwed mothers, gays and lesbians I know are not really welcome in my and most evangelical churches, the plight of women in the evangelical church, racism …

… over and over, it hurts to read it all and want to do something.  I almost went to New Orleans during Katrina, I almost went to Cambodia, I dream of doing a lot of things,  dream only dream…..

I haven’t felt passionate about anything specific in a long time.

In my twenties I worked with high school students at my church.  I loved that and gave up a part-time job just to travel with the kids to Florida Keys to camp. I went along on two Global Projects with college students to Kiev and Moscow.    I was not very well equipped for either of those opportunities but my heart was in the right place.  I loved taking survival backpacking or camping trips in high school.  The challenge really motivated me.  I like to push myself.  I am charged by effort, hard work, sweat on the brow, and I love being in the natural world which fills me up when I stay in it.  I love to travel.  I love to learn, study, get lost in a topic, get lost in book.  I love to take photographs.  I am a wordsmith.  I write poetry.  I blog.  I wonder what I should do with it all.  I dream of publishing a book of poetry and photography.

I am considering all this, where my leanings are, and asking “What is my one thing?”

So, I’m asking those that know me, would you help me define myself?I haven’t had a clear picture of myself in years.

What is it that I could be doing? I am listening, praying, asking friends.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not looking for definitive answers about God’s purpose for my life, my time and energies. I can only hope that God will continue to change me so that I might live peacefully with that purpose as it is revealed to me.

I know that the things I have learned over the last ten years about myself, the pain worked through, present opportunities for understanding and have a purpose.

May I face whatever is ahead with courage, honesty, and integrity.

Chime in won’t you.  Pop me an email on Facebook or melhhanson@yahoo.com or if you’re comfortable write something here.

Be well,

Melody

P.S. Some of my favorite movies of all time, without thinking hard about it, just off the top of my head: The Mission, The Killing Fields, Broadcast News, The Whale Rider, and more recently: Up.  What do they say about me?

A Prayer for Lent

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Image by M e l o d y via Flickr

“There is much emphasis on notoriety and fame in our society. Our newspapers and television keep giving us the message: What counts is to be known, praised, and admired, whether you are a writer, an actor, a musician, or a politician.”

“Still, real greatness is often hidden, humble, simple, and unobtrusive. It is not easy to trust ourselves and our actions without public affirmation. We must have strong self-confidence combined with deep humility. Some of the greatest works of art and the most important works of peace were created by people who had no need for the limelight. They knew that what they were doing was their call, and they did it with great patience, perseverance, and love.”

Confidence to know, ears to hear,  and strength to believe in the call, Lord, that is a what I long for.


These reflections are taken from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey.

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I feel a-swirl. I want to walk on the edge!

Silence frees us from the need to control others … A frantic stream of words flows from us in an attempt to straighten others out. We want so desperately for them to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people with our words. Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on that.

Richard Foster, from his book Freedom of Simplicity

Listening.

This is something that I have had to make an effort toward in my life.  I say too much, usually.  I am overly instructive with my children.  I am extremely enthusiastic with my friends.  I have too much going on in my head and it comes out in a frenetic pace both on Facebook and here.  I feel like I’m constantly “throwing up” all over every one.

Hearing.

I have such trouble hearing God.  I get impulses.  I get emotional responses.  I feel.  I emote.  I become afraid.  I become inspired.  But do I ever really hear God?  I believe what I do matters to God.  And then I don’t, believe.  I am a devout doubter.

I read his word.  When I am connected to the word, I have no doubts.  He absolutely speaks.  God is active.

I read blogs and articles, and follow the news.   My heart surges and leaps and responds.

Children in Haiti.  * Rape victims in Rwanda. * HIV * Girls in Afghanistan. * Forgiveness.  * Child rearing.  * Writing.  Photography.  *America.  Other. * Poverty.  Wealth. * visual Anthropology. * Educated.  Un.  *Racism.  * Sexism. *Immigration.  *Refugees.  *Aid work. * Adoption.

Primal scream! I feel a swirl.  I am schizophrenic, or at least I feel it.

“Let your heart guide you. It whispers softly, so listen closely.”

Purpose and calling.

I read an article in the New York Times about a woman who heard about the plight of Congolese women on an Opera.  She was so moved that she turned her life upside down to help.  She lost her business, fiancé, and home.  She lives to help these people.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to follow that path — losing family and love and home.

Listen.

Oh, don’t get me wrong I believe as long as I am listening my heart will be breaking for others.   But I long for just want the one thing.  The one thing to live my life for.  The one thing to learn about. The one thing to go back to school to study.

I’m 43 for God’s sake.

I have half my life to live and I want to live it with purpose.

With some sense of destiny and knowledge that God called.

I fear that I do not know how to listen.  Pray with me that I would be listening.

I would Live with intention.

I want to Walk to the edge. I want to live on the edge.

Listen hard. Continue to practice wellness and contentment.

I just want to know…

Why are we here?: On Purpose, Artistic Expression & Fear

I’ve got a problem and my mother summed it up correctly:  “Something’s got you stuck.”

As I sat in her living room yesterday, even my body spoke of the heavy, languid place I am in.  Slouching, holding my head which by the end of the day had become a migraine with nausea and halos, I was sinking; mired in body and spirit.

Earlier this week, my shrink really pissed me off.  I’m sure he did it purposefully and that makes him good.  As I see him monthly, this schedule makes it obvious that I’m stuck, afraid to move on with my photography.

For months, and months, I’ve been allowing everything under the sun, every good thing, to get in the way.  I found myself saying to him, “I know, I know!  I don’t want to become my mother!  In my 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s resenting and regretting all the “sacrifices” I made for everyone else.”  I don’t think she regrets them completely, actually.  Nor is she bitter, amazingly.  But I watched as she gave up so many of her aspirations and dreams for others, mostly my father.

Why am I stuck? …  What is it that I fear or is it even fear?

I am a lover of words (a wordie).  And I will travel down every rabbit trail of language’s meaning, fascinated by each manifestation.  It makes me interesting in a Bible Study group, and fairly annoying I think as a blogger, but just look at this list on words related to fear.

“Fear, as a noun, denotes the agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.

Fear is the most general term: “Fear is the parent of cruelty” (J.A. Froude).

Fright is sudden, usually momentary, great fear.

Dread is strong fear, especially of what one is powerless to avoid.

Terror is intense, overpowering fear.

Horror is a combination of fear and aversion or repugnance.

Panic is sudden frantic fear, often groundless.

Alarm is fright aroused by the first realization of danger.

Dismay robs one of courage or the power to act effectively.

Consternation is often paralyzing, characterized by confusion and helplessness.

Trepidation is dread characteristically marked by trembling or hesitancy. (www.education.yahoo.com)

Or is it something else entirely, inertia?  Don’t worry, enough about words.

Kafka was wrong when he said: “It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet. ”

It’s definitely lined with excuses whatever it is that is keeping me from doing something, anything with my photography.

I don’t have time to have an opinion on all the things I have an opinion on. I don’t have time to express all the things I want to express.  I don’t have time to learn all the things I want to learn, to create all I want to create,  to do all I want to do  …..  choices, blessed choices!

I think THIS is the midlife crisis I have been colliding into!  I can hear that big clock ticking ….  this is the funk I am in.  It is a little bit fear but it’s mostly inertia, dismay and consternation all rolled into one and I cannot visualize what I want for myself so I cannot go after it.

What does it mean to be successful at my photography?  The business aspect, say the bottom-line?  The artistic expression? The public accolades?

And so, as I put sarcastically to a friend yesterday, “I have been trying to know as little as possible about how to take pictures, and expect hardly anything as an outcome.”  I am sooo funny.  Sooo pathetic more like it.

What makes what I do worthwhile? Is it simply because I make it and I like it?? Or do others need to value it to make it of value? How do I determine what is worth pursuing artistically? Is it about listening to others cues or simply allowing my inner vision to grow and the world can stuff it?

Rosanne Cash said in an NPR interview that she isn’t a performer if she doesn’t get out there and perform. The music cannot stay private.

And yet, so much of art is how you market it, market yourself, the glossy package of your website, studio, groups you join.  If that’s the case I’m in trouble: My office is in my junky basement, my gear is okay, and I have no slick studio. I haven’t gotten around to making a website or …. all the other  elements of “Making your photography Business a Success.”   So what? How much of it is perception and how much reality.

And if you have some ability you can take dynamic, compelling images no matter what your gear.  That I really do believe.

I think what’s more important is what’s the message?  What’s the story? Does your art have to have a message and story to be ‘good.’  I lean that way and then can think of tons of art that is simply pleasing to look at, esoteric, full of mood, just makes me feel good ….

Here’s a question for you:  If you don’t know what the “rules” of art are (e.g. no classical training, art school etc. ) and you break them, can you make good art?  And who decides?  Should art have outcomes?  I don’t know.  And, I don’t know how or when I will be out of this stupid funk. And I’m starting to feel some fright!

The good news, it’s not depression (and if you know my story at all you know that is major).  It really is not turning into that, but rather, more of a Why am I here?  What are my days for?  How do I serve others?  Can I serve with my artistic talent?  If so, how?  Do I have to be paid money, written up in the New York Times, recieve critical acclaim in order to prove myself.  And who is it that I’m trying to prove myself to, besides my father who’s dead.  To whom do I owe ultimate justification of my exsistance?  If god real, what is really expected of me as an artist?  Starting from the belief that god is real, how does that change my actions, deeds, what I create.

My kingdom for a magic eight ball that actually worked…