We humans love to think in terms of beginnings and ends, and where, in reality, January 1 carries no more significance than any other day, we see it as a beginning of a new year full of promise.
And that is fine with me. 2015 was a difficult year for me, and I am damned glad it is over. I want to look forward to new opportunities.
First the good stuff from 2015:
My family is well and healthy, and I am going to be a grandfather. One of my daughters who was a bit estranged is now back ‘in the fold’ and we are all having such a good time together.
Project 52 started out with a bang in August, and the level of artistry in this year’s group is absolutely awesome – and you all know I do not use that word lightly. Project 52 is the glue to my existence these days. Thanks to everyone who is taking part.
My friends are all doing well, although a good bud of mine in Texas is having a rough year. We are all thinking about you, Charles. I know you can kick ass on that thing.
I made a decision to ride a motorcycle from Phoenix to Fairbanks, Alaska and have begun to get ready for that ride starting August 1, 2016. When I made the pronouncement I didn’t even own a motorcycle. I do now. And I am loving taking solo rides through the southwest.
The motorcycle is a luxury, I know… but I needed something to get me excited again. It seems to be doing the job.
Now the other stuff:
2015 was the worst creative year I have had in decades. I feel like my mojo done mojo’d off somewhere. I took fewer photographs than I ever have in a year. I was interested in some aspects of my creative life, but other parts just seemed to be sluggish at best.
You mean, what’s my excuse? I don’t have no friggin’ excuse. Excuses suck. Even more than my creative year of 2015 sucked.
My leg bothers me more than expected 2 years after the incident, but that is always going to be there and while it is annoying as hell, it is not an excuse to fall behind creatively. And I have worked through other challenges worse than a stupid leg cramp.
I fired three clients this past year. More than in a decade previous. Just got tired of the lame bullshit of diminished productivity. If you ain’t ready to commit, I am not interested in rowing your sinking boat. But that is just the way it is.
I pondered (picture me pondering… awesome…) over the last few weeks and have come to the conclusion that while I am pushing others to be their best, I may have slacked off on my own sorry ass. Not that I don’t work to be the best I can be, I just have not taken the effort out of the box to give it a shot.
Am I creatively afraid? I honestly cannot answer that.
I have rarely been afraid in the decades I have been making stuff, but I do feel like something in my core has fractured a bit. Not fallen apart yet, but fractured enough that it needs attention, Lots of attention.
Being creative has always been how I have defined myself, my work, my output. I may not be the most brilliant creative on the planet, but I do pretty well in the trenches. I love the trenches. I love getting into the process and the production, the grimy grit of where it gets made.
I love makers. I have always been a maker.
At least, I was until last year… and while I made some stuff, my output was lower than acceptable to me. It seemed like every time I started something I knew I had to do, it would get messy, and confused… and I would begin to pull away from it, not wanting to continue. A book is left half finished, another in nearly final form but sitting on a drive and without much love from me.
Maybe this is what they call a “Grand Funk”… or a “Creative Block”?
Who the hell cares what they call it, I want out. Desperately want out.
My action plan:
I have been working pretty hard this month to get ready for this ad-hoc ‘beginning’ of 2016. And I have been making stuff, getting it done. Shipping out is next, and that means I have had to shift some priorities. Slide a little here, shave a bit off there. Axe that crap right off the table… shifting.
My goal is to make something every day.
Produce something every week.
To ship something every month.
Less FB, more camera/pen/stylus in hand. More time outside. More time working this fucking leg to either get it strong enough or kill the SOB.
If the last few weeks are any indication, I should be able to meet those goals.
Lighting Essentials is a big part of the plan. A new look coming next week, articles and tutorials that will put my creativity to the test. I hope you stick around to see what LE will become.
I know this is not your typical “GoodGollyGee, I am so awesome and have been doing better than I ever expected” end of year post, but it is heartfelt.
And I know I am not the only one in a funk, a darker place, a trench in the front yard of Mr. Happy’s summer fucking home.
If you are going through something similar, may I suggest you DO something, and ship it. Get it done.
Small successes can lead to a tiny bit bigger than small success. Hey, it takes time.
I will keep you posted occasionally on what my funk level is, and perhaps we can help each other.
Until then, I will leave you with something that has helped me get going. A heavy metal band, Disturbed, recently covered a 70’s piece by Simon and Garfunkle, “Sound of Silence”. To say they made it their own is an understatement. I have watched it a gazillion times – not only for the wonderful musicality but for the incredible visuals of master photographer Matt Mahurin… a lifelong creative and someone I am influenced by. Enjoy.