Let there be light! Or at least let there be light in all the dark places. In our writing, it’s sometimes cathartic to bring light using our words to showcase redemption in our dark characters, or to perhaps illuminate the evil that always seems to lurk just below the surface of our skin.
As a writer, it helps sometimes to clear off the desk, ignore the mental clutter, and bring light to our soul simply by writing!
Photography is a whole other ball of wax! Light is an infinite scale to be manipulated, fudged, added, subtracted, by playing with settings, or adding external lighting such as portraiture work, or subtracting overexposure (operator error) with Photoshop or various editing software.
So the other day I decided to photograph my jet black cat in “negative” mode on my smartphone (an HTC Amaze). Sigh! Yes, these are the things writers do when they should be writing. Correction–these are the things all people do when they are avoiding productivity. WE PLAY WITH OUR PHONES!
So really this photo is actually a reversal of light. What is really dark, is perceived as lightness. The cat is black, as is the shelf behind her. The green box is really pink. The purple box is really rather yellowish-tan.
So what could’ve been just another crazy pic, ended up being a stimulus to get the writing hands moving again. Leonard Cohen once said:
There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light get’s in.
I took a picture simply to play. But instead it inspired me to work at my writing. Yes, light is an infinite and timeless energy source, once it’s tapped into, both in the physical world and the metaphysical and metaphorical world.
Voila! Let there be light!
Tree Picture Taken at Raleigh’s Raulston Arboretum — October 2013
One dreary evening under a spooky old tree,
a spirit seemed to beckon me.
What do you think you want to do with your life?
A profound question whispered eerily.
Dark and ominous it quite did appear,
but by capturing it in time,
I began to allay my fear.
THIS! THIS! This is what I want to do!
Weave words and pictures together.
What say you?
Saturated: soaked, impregnated, or imbued thoroughly; charged thoroughly or completely; brought to a state of saturation.
Have you ever been absolutely SATURATED with life? Yeah? Tell me.
What color or colors are you saturated with these days?
August and September were hard months in our home. Everything was sinking, it felt like we were all falling underwater so to speak. Everything felt like it was tangled up together. Everything felt completely blue. This photo is at a pond at the Asheboro Zoo, but the reflections look sad and wintery, when I turn up the saturation full throttle.
Our lives mirror our art. Sometimes when looking at a piece of writing, or even a slice of our life (i.e. current circumstances), all we see is murkiness. But when seen from a far, a bigger picture emerges, one of clarity, and color, and vibrance. We are no longer saturated, but satiated.
If you feel saturated with your writing today, or perhaps your life, walk away for just a little while. Look at the bigger picture. Hang in there. Maybe your current work is providing the contrast to the future big picture!
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Channel
How big is your freedom these days? Do you say what you want to say? Or do you self-censor because maybe it’s not politically correct or it may offend in some way? Do you think we are more free or less free to say what we really want to say?
In writing, and photography, and art in general do you create what’s in your soul or what you think people want to hear, read, see, or purchase?
I have made a decision in my life and in my art. I’m going to say what I mean to say. I just am. People came to this great country so they could carve out their own destiny and control their own life and be who they were born to be, not who those in power say they ought to be.
I see in this world a great need for those in power to CONTROL those of us who choose not to be. I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I just want my freedom to be me.
What does freedom mean to you? Is it a big idea bigger than all of us? Or is it an attribute to be handed out to us incrementally by those who claim they know what’s best for us?
Would love to know your thoughts on FREEDOM in art, in your choices, in your faith, in your life, and where you live.
Say what you want to say. Be who you truly are–the destiny God set upon you before you were here. Be free to create something beautiful and true today.
Freedom! Cherish it always!
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem
Ah the Golden Hour! In photography, it’s that magic window of time that occurs about an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, where everything is in shades of gold, brilliantly lit with silhouettes who magically appear like whispers on the horizon and where dark characters are outlined by light. In writing, well…..not so much.
I find in writing,the Golden Hour is like trying to corral these three precious dogs! You’ve got your dog Inspiration, the dog that is always super excited, chomping at the bit, and raring to go. You’ve got the wandering dog, Time. She is the rascally one that always tries to get away from you, and then you’ve got Substance (sometimes who answers to the name Results) the dog that is actually your prized purebred, your show pony if you will–the one you hope will make you known.
But in the subdivision known only as Reality Bites, Inspiration always seems to get pushed out of the way by Time, the one who constantly demands you chase after her, so you’ll be forced to ignore the other two. But once in a golden sunset, Time will behave, and Inspiration will sit on your lap for a while, and when that happens, your shy, enigmatic, and often elusive dog Substance will finally make an appearance.
And for once, all is WRITE in your world.
“Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves?” — Friedrick Nietzsche
“When asked, ‘How do you write?’
I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’” — Stephen King
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” — Agatha Christie
Writing is a curved process. At least it is for me. It’s never linear. I start on a topic here. And another one there. And then I go back and add and subtract some words from the first piece. Then I start writing about a third and fourth topic. Then life interrupts me about 1,729 different ways and I don’t do any writing. Then I play with my photography. Then life calls again.
Will it all come together someday? Will that novel in my head ever make it to print?
I hope so.
Writers today have to immerse themselves in every kind of technology you can think of just to get your name “out there”. You try and promote your writing on Facebook, and/or Twitter, and/or a zillion other blog sites. You have to submit and face rejection and often absolute nothingness. You have to learn how to multiply your contacts, exposure, connections, and ideas. By the time you figure that out; you’re spent!
You probably waste hours and days figuring out the process when all you really want to do is create. It makes you feel like everyone else is ahead of the curve and you’re a thousand miles behind.
I remind myself daily that writing, photography, and any other artistic endeavor worthy of consuming is unfortunately now days more about learning about process than it is creating of craft. I love creating. I detest learning about process, and yet I know that’s what I must do soon to take either hobby to the next level.
Our words flow in linear fashion but our thoughts and ideas are far from such tidy organization. Perhaps when we are sleeping, both are being stitched together, day by day, like the curves and lines of a peacock feather. One day we finish “it” and just know:
I created something beautiful
Writing can give so much joy; it can also make one feel utterly worthless as if you are wasting time and not living a “productive” life. Then all of a sudden–an encouraging word is granted, a glimmer of hope shines, a nugget of wisdom is gleaned, or a new challenge is mastered.
You’ve been thrown a curve ball. Only this time you catch it and say: