I've been feeling extremely stuck lately. I tend to play mind games with myself thinking "once the girls are in school things will get better" or "once the summer is over and I'm stuck inside and have to work things will get better" which eventually turns into "once the winter ends and I'm not stuck inside things will get better." It's a continual struggle, the antithesis of Zen. In the moment is not my specialty. And no matter how many self-help books I read or mental exercises I perform the present remains mostly elusive. I have instants of clarity, but when I'm unclear I forget that I ever felt creative or motivated. So for all of my "things will get better" thinking, frankly I have to say right now they're not improving. But yesterday it occurred to me that I have a copy of The Artist's Way lying around, so I went and pulled it off the shelf after not looking at it since we moved to New Jersey. I find it oddly embarrassing to admit to having used it once; I shouldn't knock it--it's a great book and highly beneficial for artistic types, and years ago it kicked me back into gear--but it's also pretty corny, and I always feel like I need to make excuses for cheesiness. Long story short, I'm hoping it will get me back into the swing of things, despite my admittance earlier that self-help is not always helpful.
This afternoon I sat down at the computer around 3:00 and thought "I have loads of time." The next thing I knew it was 5:30 and I'd gotten nothing much done. I picked up Cameron's book and saw this quote: "It is the attention to detail that stays with us: the singular image is what haunts us and becomes art. Even in the midst of pain, this singular image brings delight. The artist who tells you different is lying." And for the first time in a week or so I felt like writing a blog post. Maybe just the act of reading something, anything, about art was enough to motivate me, even if the moment will ultimately be fleeting.
I think this was the first morning in nine years that my immediate thoughts didn't turn to 9/11. It only took a few minutes to remember the anniversary, but every year feels further from the life I had then, and the shock of it all. Nevertheless, I did what I always do, which is to replay the day in my mind. It's almost ritualistic now: I think about the red pants and black shirt I was wearing, I think about my office, my boss telling us about the planes, I think about the phone calls and strangely and especially the bathroom where I privately broke down. I think about my colleague Meg, and how we walked home to Brooklyn, I think about my apartment which was under renovation, and lying on the mattress in our empty bedroom watching the news. I think about the restaurants, the friends we ate with, how it was all we could talk about, and the financial papers that drifted down onto our terrace.
Most of all today though I'm thinking about how so much in my life has changed--except for James as my one constant I live in a different place, I now have children and a dog and my closest friends are for the most part different people. Still, the weather is uncannily exactly the same. After I got out of bed I spied on the girls in the driveway from the bathroom window, Edie riding her bike in circles, June playing with her stuffed animal, James loading up the minivan for bulk refuse day. It almost hurt to look at them, but it made me happy too.
at 10:31 AM
Another great resource to check out is the Indie Photobook Library. Put together by my talented friend and one-time college roommate Larissa Leclair--mentioned more than once here on Tethered--it's an amazing collection of all types of photography publications. From the website:
The Indie Photobook Library (iPL) was founded in 2010 by Larissa Leclair. It is an archive that strives to preserve and showcase self-published photobooks, photobooks independently published and distributed, photography exhibition catalogs, print-on-demand photobooks, artist books, zines, photobooks printed on newsprint, limited edition photobooks, and non-English language photography books to be seen in person through traveling exhibitions and as a non-circulating public library. Having a specific collection dedicated to these kinds of books allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection, and for scholarly research to be conducted in years, decades, and centuries to come.
Upcoming places to see the Indie Photobook Library collection include the Flash Forward Festival (Toronto, October 6-10, 2010) and FotoWeek DC (Washington, DC, November 6-13, 2010).
at 2:58 PM