One of my “non-resolution resolutions” this year is to take more baths. We have a beautiful old tub but I never take advantage of it, and that needs to change! I bought a handful of LUSH bath bombs to encourage me, and tried the first one today. So pretty!
But laundry is so interesting! I wonder if the dishwasher needs cleaning. Time to reorganize the linen closet. I should check my email again…
By some horrific turn of events (I totally blame the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and a sudden fit of nostalgia), I’ve managed to recover a collection of poetry I wrote between 2001 and 2003.
It’s positively dripping with the angst of an oversexed, underpaid college freshman. What can I say? I’ve always had a penchant for the dramatic. But, seriously. “Ketchup love?” And what’s with the pointed aversion to capital letters?
More importantly, how is it that the me of 2007 cannot comprehend what was going through the mind of the me of 2003? Have I really changed that much? Obviously I have, but I can’t pinpoint a time in the last four years when I said to myself, “Self, from now on, you will stop being such a drama queen, and you will start using proper punctuation!”
It’s funny how change sneaks up on you like that. I can only imagine how much I will laugh if/when I dredge up this blog in, say, 2015.
On Saturday, I had photo shoot number one of six. I was anticipating a disaster, considering that I'm a) totally out of practice and b) a lot of important personal issues were riding on the outcome of this shoot. Namely: Can I still do this? More importantly, do I even want to? Thankfully, the answer to both of those questions is a resounding "Yes!"
But what made me feel even better is, when all was said and done, I was satisfied with the results without feeling that anxious craving for positive feedback, for affirmation that I'd done a good job. Simply knowing that I'd made something I liked was good enough, for once. I was even able to put aside the photographs for a few days and enjoy the company of a very good friend whom I haven't seen in many months. Then this evening, when I came back to the photos, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could look at them somewhat critically and not feel like I had to tear my talent down in the process.
At one point in my college career I took a photography class in which we were required to build a series of photographs around a written statement. I shot roll after roll of Kodak Elite Chrome (cross-processed, of course), and every week I'd bring my favorite photographs to class. There weren't very many favorites. At the end of the semester, my professor took me aside and said, "Look – I think you have a great vision, but you should be producing more work. The only reason I'm giving you a B is because I didn't see nearly enough work from you." What the professor didn't understand was, I'd taken a few hundred photographs over the semester, but in my mind, only 15-20 made the cut for a class critique. Only six made it into my final portfolio. I'd never given him or the rest of the class the opportunity to tell me what they thought about the other 190 photographs (minus dupes and brackets), because in my mind, they had already failed in some way or another.
When I say I'm my own worst critic, I couldn't mean it in a more literal way, especially when it comes to the things I take a lot of personal pride in. Some photographers have a problem narrowing down a selection of their best works… I have a problem finding two photos out of a hundred that appeal to me. I suppose it's good to have a finicky eye in some cases, but it also shows how hard I can be on myself (to the point of ridiculousness at times) and that's a part of my personality I'm trying to tame.
I feel good about this shoot. Not because it's perfect, but because I did it for me. These may never win awards, or see the inside of a glossy magazine, but that doesn't matter. They're for me, and I'm glad to be able to say that.
How have people mispronounced your name? How is it supposed to sound? Submitted by Lorie.
My name is spelled Caroline, but as a child, I was known as Carolyn. I’m not sure why my parents chose one spelling and then used another pronunciation in practice… maybe because they knew it would confuse every single one of my grade school teachers, causing me immeasurable trauma when said teachers demanded to know what my name was – Caroline or Carolyn? Apparently “both” wasn’t the appropriate answer.
I kid, I kid. I do answer to both, but I think of myself as a ‘lyn, not a ‘line. I’ve considered having it legally changed so that the spelling reflects the pronunciation, but it honestly doesn’t bother me that much (at least, not as much as it bothered my grade school teachers).
I am not supposed to eat the frosted animal crackers sitting on my desk right now. Why? Because I made the mistake of looking at the nutrition information while I was noting future food consumption for the day over at fitday.com.
I figured, hey, they’re animal crackers! With frosting! Wholesome childhood good-ness covered with sugar and those hard little confetti candies that could cut diamonds! How bad can they be?
Oh, I really didn’t want to know. I really didn’t want to know, because even if I were to successfully ignore the small bag on my desk, there’s still a giant bag of them at home, purchased on one of those dreadful, “I’m hungry, let’s go grocery shopping!” trips.
Damn you, Keebler, and all your little elves.
On another subject, I’m curious and have a question. What do you do at work when you have one of “those days”? And by “those days” I mean, “I should be working, but I can’t bring myself to do anything constructive, so I’m just going to make myself look busy while I’m really ____________”.
The first: I’m a recovering X-Phile. In high school and college my dorm room walls were plastered with pictures of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, Mulder and Scully, my favorite FBI-fighting team. I owned all the episode guides, read all the fanfic (even wrote some of my own, embarrassingly enough), knew all the in-jokes, and desperately wanted my heroes to get it over with already and screw like bunnies. Yeah, I was one of “those” fans. When everyone who knew better stopped watching the show in the 6th or 7th season, I was still securely anchored in front of the TV every Sunday night at 9, giddy with anticipation. Thankfully the show ended in the 9th season, or I might still be defending myself (poorly) to television critics with better taste than I on some obscure Internet forum somewhere.
My second nerdy love: Jon Stewart. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and makes fun of politicians for a living. But before he hosted the Daily Show, he had a small-ish role (alongside noneother than Gillian Anderson!) in a movie called Playing by Heart, which served as my feel-good movie for several years. It wasn’t a great film by most standards, but it made a certain hormonal teenaged girl cry in all the right places, so it served its purpose. The feel-good movie of choice has since been replaced by Love Actually, but my love for Jon Stewart and his biting wit continues.
As someone who’s spent the majority of the last five years thinking and breathing photography, it’s heartbreaking to admit that I’ve been in a creative slump for months now. And now that I think about it, it’s not really a “creative slump” at all; I still have ideas for projects, but I have absolutely no desire to bring them to life. The process of creating art doesn’t give me a sense of fulfillment or satisfaction. Instead, I come away from a shoot feeling tired, cranky, and frustrated with the results.
I’ve spent so much time investing myself in this hobby, making it my life and my passion, only to have it turn into a chore. I feel like I got dumped by my camera, or maybe I did the dumping. Either way, the “break-up” rocked me. I didn’t realize how much my sense of self-worth depended on my art, and so I’ve spent the last six months wandering aimlessly and feeling like a failure, sinking lower and lower. Photography was the one thing I thought I could really make a significant impact on the world with, but it turns out I’m just a Web geek with a hobby.
Speaking of which, the sudden change in the work situation doesn’t help. If I thought I lacked energy to create art before, eight hours at a computer doing mind-numbing batch Web sites every… single… day… really drives the point home. I’m pooped. All I want at the end of the day are mindless things: Warcraft, television, fluffy books, exercise, good food, and sleep.
I think I’m finally close to getting over it, though. It’s hard to accept the idea that I don’t have to be the prolific visionary, the starving artist… but maybe it’s okay to just have a hobby and not a passion. And maybe, sometimes, it’s okay to do nothing at all.