12 for 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

By now, I've written a few essays on 2014. Each of them felt stupid, too glossy, or too sad. I kept writing the paragraphs and feeling a pit growing in my stomach and then deleting them. 2014 wasn't an easy year. It felt lonely. Big and small and the same time. Growing up is hard, I already knew that, but it never gets easier. Being accountable to yourself, your relationships, your passions, it's overwhelming at times. I feel like I'm constantly breaking out of my skin and growing into it. 

There were happy parts too though, a few trips with friends and to visit friends. The pale blue and grey sky everyday.  The calmness of building a home here with Steele. The tiny flame of a new project, which is being fed slowly. 

I could give you an entire account of 2014. But, my memories aren't that vivid. I try to isolate them and it just never happens in quite the right way. So below is a journal entry from the middle of the year. If I could sum 2014 up, this would be how:

June 9, 2014

Tonight I'm feeling content in my small life, in my home at night. I guess I wanted to write about that before I lost it.

This isn't the stuff of big stories—doing laundry in a dank and muddy laundry room (laundry basement), cleaning out cupboards and rearranging the shelf above the fridge. Steele's back is pulled so he just sits while I putter about the kitchen. This isn't dramatic. The way we do yoga in our tiny living room, barely enough space for us to each spread out, and writhe into the positions. We're not graceful. 

This isn't beautiful—not in the way you think of as beautiful. It's beautiful in the way every single day seeps into your bones and makes you who you are. And even is this is utterly quiet and small—and not even in an outwardly poetic way—even if it's a meager offering at a beautiful life—it's mine. It is mine and every second of it—the way our bodies tangle on the yoga mats, the shadows on the outside of our house from the porch latticework, Steele's open sleeping mouth, my thighs and breasts rubbed down with lotion after my shower—all of the tiny seconds are seeping into me. Saturating me, building me up layers at a time, until I resemble a human—a beautiful human. Who is made deeply and richly beautiful by all of these tiny still nights. 

And now, images, by month. Here we go: 

January, on the exit ramp to my then day job

February, down our street during a snowstorm

March, evening tea with Steele, on our porch

April, on Guemes island

May, an empty bread pan on our kitchen table
June, picking strawberries on Sauvie Island

July, catching water shadows in Washington

August, the last visit to my childhood home in Colorado

September, the vaux swifts in NW Portland

October, an underexposed self-portrait in our home

November, a moment from an ordinary day

December, catching the last light on my way home from work

rearranging the bricks

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hi guys. I'm about to get on a plane to Colorado. The plane keeps getting further and further delayed and as it is, we will be rolling into Conifer around 4 a.m. or later. My life as of late has been fast paced and full to the brim, sometimes full of white noise. This space has felt it. My heart has felt it. My bones have felt it. 

I won't say that it will get better or that I will change, because that implies that there is something wrong with right now. And to be honest, there is nothing really wrong with right now. I am aware of all of the things in my life that need shifting, and I will shift them. Not change them, but shift them back into the places they need to be. I'll remove some bricks from my load and add others. I'll sort the order and put new bricks on top. Isn't that all life is? Rearranging, sifting, sorting, shuffling. I'm beginning to understand that there are certain things about me, about how I approach the world, that will never change (even if I wish I could change them.) And so instead of hacking at these bricks I'm carrying, trying to shape them into something else, I will re-stack them so they're manageable for the road forward. 

Now isn't this all cryptic. That's what I've been missing. Now for something solid and real, just look at that image up there. How much more solid can you get? It's been a while since I sat in front of the camera. And this was sitting--literally, I was on the floor. It's fitting, I think. I was scrambling around trying to get into the right position. I shot this frame, looked at it and saw something I liked. I kept shooting with the intention that I would get the same look but have my body slightly titled, but it just didn't happen. Sometimes (a lot of the time) the first photograph is the one I end up using. There's some amount of truth to it. I'm posing, but it's before I know how it will look. Before I'm trying to tuck my hair this way and bend my elbow that way. Even with the flaws, the image comes out looking more natural than the 30 I shot after. (This is a problem you don't get with film--no chance to self-correct, so every image comes out in that slightly naive way.) 

Now the passengers that have arrived in Portland are departing the plane I'm about to board. Now I get to board that plane, go up into the night sky, and touch down in the dead of the night. 

On home. 

a story for seven years

Monday, December 15, 2014

Yesterday was our seven year anniversary. Seven Years. I just? Don't even know what to say at this point? Actually that's not really true, there are so many things I could say, but most of them belong inside of my relationship. I didn't write up an essay in advance or anything but I will say that year seven has been our best and that I've never felt more certain. 

Below is a short piece of writing I did about our nightly routine last week. It's strange, writing about this normal routine ended up being strangely poignant. I guess that's the everyday for you.  The photograph is a tintype we had made yesterday. We look so serious, I promise we are completely the opposite in every day life. Silliness is one of the very best things about our relationship. 

December 4, 2014

Every night after Steele and I have decided it's time for bed we go about our nightly routines. For him that means locking all the doors, plugging in his phone, talking off his shirt and getting into bed. I lope around the apartment. I always wash my face, brush my teeth, and put on face lotion. Sometimes  in weird orders. Oh, I take out my contacts. Okay, usually this is how it goes: I get into the bathroom, decided I won't bother with any of it, that I'll just take out my contacts. So I take them out. But then my mouth feels gross, so I decided I have to brush my teeth. So I turn the water on, but then it just seems silly to not wash my face, so I do. And then the moisturizer is the easiest part. While I'm doing all this, Steele is in bed. Then I'll brush my hair, go into the bedroom and get changed into my pjs (clean undies comfy shirt, sleep pants.) And then I turn all the lights off. 

Then comes the best part. the part where I slip into bed with Steele. His arm goes under my head and we cuddle and talk about the day, the next day, funny things. Sometimes we play a song. December is especially special because we have our advent candles that we burn down every day. So we can do that and see each other in the candle light. It's very romantic, as it were. 

Sometimes things happen differently. Sometimes I get my pjs on before my bathroom routine, or sometimes I make Steele wait to get into bed so that I can get in first. Sometimes, like tonight, Steele stays out with friends and I come home early and lay quiet until he gets here. (For the record, this is not sad, I like being lone at the house. I like to be quiet and still and calm by myself sometimes. I like to have ownership of the dark rooms from time to time.)

Those nights are sweet in a different way. They make me appreciate the other nights so much. They make me realize how utterly profound it is to have someone waiting in bed for you while you wash your face and brush your teeth. How wonderful it is to be held while you fall asleep. 

in which I get kind of rambly about art shows

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sometimes, lately, when I'm taking to a someone at a party that I don't know, I feel like I sound like I have it all together. Which is a ridiculous thought. (Those people should read this blog, because then they would know that I definitely don't have it all together.)

Tonight I participated in a Pop-Up show at Newspace. Every month the past gallery show gets taken down on a Tuesday, and the new show doesn't get hung until Wednesday. So one of the volunteers, Gwen, decided to do a Pop-Up show for Tuesday night only. I signed up to help out before hand. So today I got there at 4 and the gallery was completely empty. But then, over the next 2 hours roughly 50 photographers showed up and claimed a spot, hung their pieces.

I hung two new pieces. They're smaller prints then I would want for a larger show, and they're the first iterations (I have to think of them as rough drafts.) but here they are. And you know, I didn't have any long conversations with anyone about them, but people looked at them. People looked at them. And you know, read them and things. And I got a few nice comments. (Someone said they were fresh!) They existed in the real world, at least for a night.

I know I must have said this a thousand times, but it really is so wonderful to get work on the wall and have people talk about it. You can overthink things and over think things and over think things when they're alone in your head, and putting those things on the wall is so validating. Things, you know? It was also so nice to talk to other people there and enjoy the conversation. It was a lot of young people, a lot of volunteers, and even though the show wasn't perfectly hung with matching title tags, you could feel the enthusiasm.

More about this new body of work soon. More words. Better images. I just wanted to get this out there before I forgot about it.

So now I'm sitting on the couch eating off-brand Cheerios out of the box and watching the last season of the Gilmore Girls. I definitely don't have it all together. But I'm learning, I'm trying, that's all the dream ever was.