This is such a hard post to write, because what I feel goes beyond words. My tendency when in deep distress is to isolate--I'll share my emotions with a few people, which helps for a bit, only to return home to hide out again. In the case of the last few days this has meant spending too much painful time looking at news sites, trying to make sense of it all, even though it will never make any sense. I suppose struggling to share how I feel here is my attempt at reaching out, a way of giving shape to the sorrow and the fear that I know I'm not alone in experiencing.

It's frightening even to type the words because it makes it that much more real--what happened in Newtown on Friday was so shocking and horrifying it's impossible to grasp. I spent that first afternoon struck dumb by a state of disbelief. Over the weekend I tried to push my feelings aside in order to tend to the girls; I saw people, went to a party, spoke to my mother on the phone, and somehow couldn't bring the subject up. I stuck to safe topics, dancing around the rawness, all the while surreptitiously checking my phone for details. As the weekend went on I could feel the pain encroaching on the edges more and more, and by Sunday night my defences came down and the heartache began to set in.

Yesterday dropping the kids off at school was physically painful. I'm uncomfortable being emotional in public, so after they walked through the doors I tried to hold myself together, waiting until I was home to break down. I think what happened at Sandy Hook in part has been so hard for me because it echoes my own life a little too closely--it's been difficult to distance myself from the sense of loss. June is in first grade at a similar public elementary school in a pretty suburban neighborhood, and it strikes right to the core of me. Apart from the feelings of grief the shooting has brought up in relation to my own personal fears is the deep sadness I feel for the families, in particular for the children themselves. I think that may be the worst part of it--the unfairness that they won't get to live out the potential of their lives. It is also profoundly sad to me that teachers, the people who care so much about the welfare of children, had to die.

For my own girls I've been able to be my usual self when with them thankfully, and despite my sadness I had a nice time with them last night. June wrote a story which she stapled together into a book called "My Poor Puppy" which she had me read to her about thirty times, and I didn't mind a bit. Still, the deep love I feel for them stabs at a bittersweet nerve. Now I'm hoping to be able to stay away from news in all media and focus on the day-to-day: continuing to do my work, trying to allow myself to be mindless on Pinterest, Instagram etc., without guilt, while tending to the usual laundry and dishes. The typical domestic monotony now feels like a gift.

The only thing I can really close with is to say how sorry I am to the mothers and fathers, siblings, children, relatives and friends of the victims, and for the community of Newtown. The tragedy is beyond comprehension.


New portfolio/new images

There's way too much to write--when I wait this long to post it feels almost impossible to begin. But given the amount of editing I've been doing lately I want to have something concrete to show for it, so in addition to the images above--which I've been putting together for Life is from the spring/summer/fall--I've also decided to begin showing some work from Iowa on my website. I consider it an "under construction" venture for now, which means I'll be uploading, rearranging and obsessing over image quality to the point where from one day to the next the gallery might look very different. Despite that, I'm making it public because having it out in the world helps to keep me feeling motivated and connected. The portfolio is called Carlisle, which is the name of the town where the farm is located, and you can take a peek at the preliminary edit here, though I think that first image might be too magenta. Or dark. Or something. It might even be gone by the time you check it out. Ok, don't listen to me, I'm going a little crazy over here--too much time spent staring at a screen, along with my usual artistic monkey mind.

That's it for now--the other post I was going to write about vulnerability, what it means to be true to oneself during the creative process, and my usual broken-record "Desperately Seeking Balance" thoughts will have to wait for another day.