11 April 2014
oh hey, teaching a few photography workshops at the create/explore/discover art retreat in tahoe this fall. on the roster: instant magic and a class I call five for five. and then: patchwork collages and painting with mati rose, crocheted stones and arm knitting with anne, image transfers and paper flowers with courtney. in tahoe! tahoe! I've never been but the people, they say nice things. I'll tell you, organizer sarah stevenson has outdone herself. I am excited.
meet me in tahoe in october? I'll be there with bells on. well, maybe not bells. I'll most likely be the one with all the polaroid cameras.
(retreat registration officially open! more here)
07 April 2014
me, through the eyes (and lens) of my brother. I'm forever thankful for it, don't even really have any words for it except I wish we could have seen into the future when we were kids. wish we could have seen who we are now, what we do, what we make. I wonder what we would have thought of all this. I like to think about things like that.
and then there's this:
I'm amazed by the work my brother makes. I really am. and I'm honored to see little bits and pieces of projects we've worked on together in this reel. I'm excited about the future. friends, if you want to fall down a beautiful, beautiful rabbit hole, head on over here. get lost in nate's work. it's easy to do.
p.s. if that first film has you jonesin for polaroid fun times, stay tuned. instant magic workshops (two!) are happening. announcements= right around the corner.
04 April 2014
(more diptychs here and many thanks to my lovely co-collaborator xanthe for putting these fine diptychs together)
(she's the cat's pajamas, she is)
25 March 2014
20 March 2014
every year around this time, I sit at the little wooden desk by the window in the front room and I watch. I wait for the little explosions, for the tiny green buds on the two trees in the front yard to break open and scream pink. every year, I watch and I wait. and every year, when it finally happens, it reminds me. of that time we said yes, that time we closed our eyes and leaped into that place they call the unknown. or, in our case, the great pacific northwest. pink blooms remind me that we were brave once. they ceremoniously mark another year here for us in the city of portland, oregon.
I think about the first time we drove down our street. a knotty-headed two year-old ezra, a wide-eyed six year-old ava, a bewildered seventeen year-old cat and a thoroughly exhausted 36 year-old me and 38 year-old ward. we'd just finished driving across the country. seven days, eleven states. georgia into tennessee into kentucky into illinois into missouri into kansas into colorado into wyoming into utah into idaho. and then finally, oregon. oregon with its green green green everything everywhere, its commanding, unforgiving winds and magnificent vistas, its chartreuse moss quietly covering every surface in sight. and then we were driving across a bridge (who remembers which one) into a brand new city and then we were driving down our street for the very first time, beyond exhaustion but also wild with excitement and above all else, wildly hopeful. when we pulled up to our house for the first time, all we could see were the pink blooms and a spectacular mess of pink confetti on the front sidewalk. the trees have thrown us a little party, I thought. it's got to be a sign.
seven years later, here we are, exploding pink trees and all. when things started to bloom last week, all the old feelings came back again, just like they always do. I walked outside, camera in hand, just like I always do, tried (in vain) to shoot the exploding trees in a way that would tell the story, just like I always do. every year, I try. I always try. I pointed my SX-70 at those little pink guys and hoped for the best. last shot of the pack, last few days of the blooms. and the last time I will sit at the little wooden desk at the window in the front room of this house and wait, the last time I will watch the two trees in this front yard turn bubblegum pink, the last time I will point my camera up towards those bloom-covered branches. because in a few short months, we'll be making our way back home. we'll be moving back to atlanta, georgia.
there's a longer story, of course, but the short of it is that we miss family. we're tired of living so far from the people we love. we love portland, but we love our people more. that's what it comes down to, I guess. we're choosing the family we love over the city we love. is there any other way? any other choice? for us, there is not. most days, I vacillate between weepy and giddy-- weepy for everything and everyone we're leaving behind, giddy for the mountain of good that waits for us on the other side. I am a tangled, knotty mess of emotions. and I am currently up to my eyeballs in purging and packing, in list making and problem solving. I am swimming in change, paddling fast, struggling to keep my head above water. I can see the other side but just barely. there are still so many miles to go, so many miles. I find myself wishing the time away, begging for something like a giant fast forward button. and then I panic when I realize what that would actually mean. when we've finished with the move and we begin the big road trip home, this part of life will officially be over. portland, as we know it, will be over. a thing we will talk about, past tense. and I cannot imagine it. I want it to be over but I never want it to end. does that make any sense? probably not. but that's the sentence I find myself repeating over and over. I want it to be over but I never want it to end.
in the meantime, petals are falling. little papery bits of pink are beginning to carpet the front sidewalk. soon, the ground will be covered and I'll take my shoes off. I'll walk barefoot through the confetti, just like I always do. I will stand in it one last time. and I will remember that time we said yes, that time we jumped, that time we were brave.
12 March 2014
no words this week, just blue. and a thankfulness for friends with roomy blue floral couches and hidden blue vinyl, for blue skies and launderettes and back door color. for xanthe and this color collaboration and a brand new happy place.
04 March 2014
when I was little, orange was my favorite color. I liked the way the word sounded, the way it rolled around my mouth. I could almost taste it, I could smell it. it was the one word that actually sounded like the color that it was. I can remember thinking this, remember the moment. the brown vinyl interior of the station wagon, legs stuck to the seat, arms out the window, driving through town, running errands with my mom. orange, I thought to myself. orrrrrange, you sound good to me. you feel right. so funny, the things you remember from childhood, the things that stay with you. little clips that loop endlessly, fortuitously.
I have been saying the word inside my head all week. orange. I have been thinking about that seven year-old girl. I have been missing her.
(more orange over at color//colour lovers, over at xanthe's)
(and now we are swimming in blue)
26 February 2014
not pictured: the bundle of small purple mums I treated myself to, the little bottles of purple nail polish I never got around to using, the grape popsicle I wanted (and the purple tongue it would have surely given me), the handful of purple houses I passed while the running of the errands (similar to the running of the bulls though not nearly as exciting), the lost prince 45 that was, of course, purple.
I will not lie. purple is not my favorite. but after this week, I don't know. I'm starting to come around.
(more purple over at color//colourlovers and over at xanthe's spot)
(meanwhile, we are knee deep in juicy, juicy orange)
17 February 2014
I'll tell you, I love this project. I really do. because the minute I focus on a particular color, I begin to see it everywhere. and I mean everywhere. in small places, hidden places, places it's probably always been but my eyes have glossed right over it. I never noticed that our paint brush handles are that lovely shade of green. and I am sorry to say, but I probably would have walked right by that green bicycle. I might've noticed it for a second but it would not have jumped out at me. it would not have commanded me to stop and inspect it, to point my camera at it. because that's what the color does, it screams out at me all week long. notice me! see me! here I am! no matter what I have going on in life (and friends, there are things, there are big things), the color is there. to remind me, to ground me. to root me squarely in that ever important little time period we like to call the present.
you know what else? I am loving co-collaborator xanthe's green balloons. I am loving her green fingertips. and I cannot wait to see the purples and violets this week brings. I am wondering what places I'll find them, where they will be hiding.
15 February 2014
number twelve off the list: own a pink ukulele.
because, january. because, february. because, I don't know. I just wanted one. it's a very twee sort of thing to want to own, I realize this. and I will admit to something else. I did not even think about actually learning how to play it. I just wanted it. I wanted to hold it. and look at it and take photographs of it. I wanted it like a kid wants candy. because it's sweet and pretty and good, because surely it would lead to happiness.
but when I got a little bit of birthday money (an amazon gift card, actually, thank you sweet in-laws), all I could think about were the practical things I needed. a new kitchen knife, for one, because I have been cutting fruits and vegetables with something akin to a butter knife. I have lost my mind over the cutting of pineapples, have thrown my fists up in the air over a pile of carrots. people, I need a new kitchen knife. desperately. and new sneakers. I have worn mine down to the nubs and my body has had it. she tells me this after every walk I take. I need new sneaks.
but I think you know how this story ends. to be fair, I researched the heck out of trainers and a most excellent kitchen knife sat in my little amazon cart for weeks. in the end, I went for the pink ukulele. because, of course I did. and when it finally arrived in the mail, it made me as happy as I thought it would. happier, even, because I've started to teach myself how to play. at night, of course, after everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet. and you know what else? ava has started to play too. I hear her plink plink plinking away and it fills me with so much happy that it just spirals right out through the top of my head.
and we don't really know what we're doing, we're probably doing it all wrong but we're making up silly songs and we're learning chords and strum patterns and at least now there's a little bit more music floating around these parts. dang it if it hasn't been the best thing to happen to this house in months. also? favorite pink thing, ever. ever. of course, I still curse every time I cut into a pineapple and wince a little bit after a long walk but I'll take it. because I don't know what we did before this little pink ukulele. I really don't.
09 February 2014
friends, it's been a wild, wild week. still, I looked for pink. and found it, in both likely and unlikely places. not pictured: the seventeen shades of pink nail polish I wanted to buy at the drugstore, the old pink cadillac that lives in the neighborhood, the tiny pink paper umbrella I keep in my desk drawer, pink cheeks cold from the first big snow we've had here in portland in three years.
and there's one more pink thing. a special pink thing, my new favorite pink thing, maybe my favorite pink thing of all time. but I shall share that tomorrow.
(more pink over at color//colour lovers, a collaborative project with the spectacular ms. xanthe)
05 February 2014
forty is not the new twenty. forty is not even the new thirty. forty is the new forty. because forty is forty. forty is good, forty is great, forty doesn't need to pretend to be anything it isn't.
I did not always feel this way. I mean, I opened my arms to forty. or, said I was going to or something like that. I said I was ready, I said I wanted it. but I didn't mean it, I didn't want it, not even for a second. I stood at forty's door and just stared through it, hopelessly. and that cool woman I thought for sure I would be, the one who'd embrace every wrinkle, every grey hair, every bit of sag and droop, the unashamed, unapologetic one who'd wear every imperfection like the aging champion she would surely be, that woman was nowhere to be found. truth be told, that woman was probably someone my twenty-something self foolishly invented. and so I began to see myself in photographs and think, is that what I really look like? and then: omg am I actually that woman? who sees herself in photographs and says things like that?
and then vanity became the least of my worries. things fell apart. my mom got sick and I watched her die. slowly. some other sad things happened and I got tired. I blamed forty. if this is what it means to be forty, I want no part of it, I said. if turning forty means things only get harder, that the hill before me tilts impossibly upward, no thank you. if it means I will care (more than I'd like to admit) about what kinds of clothes I should or should not wear, what shade of lipstick is age appropriate, where that one wrinkle come from or why I look so tired all the time (when I'm not tired, not even one little bit), if this is what forty means, I don't want it. if it means wallowing in a tepid pool of nostalgia for the rest of my days, then you can have it. and more importantly, if it means watching the people I love die then I DON'T WANT IT, OKAY. I DON'T WANT YOU, FORTY. I REJECT YOU.
so, I rejected forty, I refused it. as you know, it does not work this way. as it turns out, this is not exactly possible. and when things finally quieted down, so did the crazy talk. I cannot tell you when things changed for me but they did. somewhere along the way, I softened. there was no lightbulb moment, no woo-woo life altering experience. I just gradually found myself in that place, that good place you sometimes hear people talk about, that place you've earned simply because you have lived. and you love the way you look but you don't love the way you look and somehow, those feelings now co-exist in a way you never thought possible. you lose people you love and the heartbreak changes you so profoundly you cannot help but see your time in the world with new eyes, you cannot help but live with just a little bit of a lump in your throat. thing is, this is what makes the living good. better, even. the fragile, teetering part, the knowing part, the one that finally acknowledges that time is not infinite and you are not actually immortal. and when you see things with these eyes, the world around you changes. when you see forty with these eyes, forty is beautiful. because you are alive and you know what that means, what that really, really means. you are both flawed and flawless, broken but completely intact, imperfectly perfect. you are in your own skin, your own God given skin. finally. and it feels good, even if it is changing, it feels right.
which is when you realize forty is not the new twenty. it is not the new thirty, it is not the new anything. forty is forty because calling it anything else would be an insult to the decade you've worked so hard to find your way into. pretending it's anything else means you've missed the point entirely. forty is forty and what you know in your bones is that you wouldn't have it any other way.
(for lovely susannah and all the lovely women who've shared their story in honor of her 41st birthday and for all women everywhere, whatever your age)
04 February 2014
not pictured: the yellow tulips I bought, the spill of yellow paint on the sidewalk, the yellow balloons meant to attract potential apartment renters, the neon yellow straw I chose at the coffee shop, the old yellow cigar boxes stacked in the kitchen, the number 16 on the back of ezra's basketball jersey, the bag of lemons I brought home to photograph but forgot.
(for color//colour with xanthe)
(next up: pink)
26 January 2014
red used to be my favorite color. or, one of my favorite colors. pink, orange, red, yellow, turquoise, it changes all the time. I can never really decide. but back in college, it was red and I had this friend who secretly collected red things for me-- a pack of big red gum, a red bottle cap, a red pencil, a red plastic bracelet, a stop sign, an actual stop sign. when he finally gave these things to me, I didn't know what to say. because, well, it was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me. it was simple and thoughtful and creative and absolutely romantic. my eighteen year-old self did not know how to receive such a gesture. my eighteen year-old self was overwhelmed with the implications. but lookit, here I am, still talking about it twenty years later. darren, I still have all those red things. I still treasure them. you should know that, wherever you are.
so I have sort of soft spot for red. which I've been thinking about all week long as I've been collecting it-- a set of red numbers here, a bright red door there. a street performer's old band uniform, a pile of favorite red things from around the house. the act of collecting has brought me as much joy as that sweet little collection of reds given to me twenty years ago. at the big downtown library, I spent an hour in the photography section selecting only books with red spines. I wore red on my fingertips, discovered at least a hundred red things in my neighborhood. I began to see little bits of red everywhere I went. red, red, red.
red, I still love you. I really really do.
(more over on color//colour lovers, more about the project and more over on fellow color collaborator xanthe's blog)
(next up: y e l l o w)