05 February 2016

color//colour yellow

in the name of the color yellow, I:

found it on the streets in the form of an old juicy fruit gum wrapper and torn up ticket stubs.
found it hiding behind a gas station in the form of an old abandoned shopping cart.
looked for it in all the corners, on my kitchen shelves, my book shelves and everywhere in between.
drove around downtown atlanta on a sunny friday afternoon in search of it.
purchased the prettiest bottle of lemonade I could find (and drank it).
purchased the yellowest yellowy flowers at the grocery store (and put them in a jar right by my bed).
wore my favorite mustard yellow scarf, even on the warmer days.
bought a bag of bright yellow meyer lemons and dreamed of the things I might bake.

(more of my yellows here, more about color//colour lovers here, lovely co-collaborator xanthe's yellow here and both of our colors live quite happily here)

currently: swimming in pink.

02 February 2016

motherhood with a camera

her hands are my hands are my daughter's hands.

strong, capable. veins like little green rivers, skin like butter and butcher paper. and that ring she wore, that sterling silver dogwood ring, the one I can't ever remember not on her middle left finger. on that day, she took the hands of her mother, my grandmother, and danced. grandma's cheeks pink with rouge, a creamy coral dabbed on just before mom slipped strands of plastic yellow beads around her neck. this was the ritual: rouge, necklaces, music, dancing. I watched from the edges, willed myself to ignore the scent of lysol and urine, concentrated instead on the faraway radio sounds of dolly parton and the two dancers in the room. they lit the place up, spilled light into dark nursing home corners for a few minutes, corners no one likes to talk about.

in just two short years, just one year after her own mother, she would be gone. how could I have known this? how could any of us have known this? in those last days, I held her hands in mine, sat by her bed while she slipped in and out of sleep, in and out of that deep, unknown place morphine takes people when the pain is too much, the world is too much and the cancer is about to swallow them whole. I sat by her bed and held her hands, tv flickering and murmuring in the background, toddlers and tiaras and wild gyspy teenagers on repeat while my worst nightmare played out in real time. I held her hands like she held mine on the first day of school, on the way to my first dance class, the first time I had my heart broken. I held her hands the way she held her own mother's hands the day they danced at the nursing home. I held them and I pleaded with her to live. quietly, desperately. please, please live. I pleaded with God for the miracle of all miracles, pleaded in shameless, messy ways, over and over and over again.

a few months after she died, I found her jewelry pouch. tucked beneath a tangle of polyester slips and snagged pairs of pantyhose, there it was. all my favorite pieces were there; the bracelet with the little silver charms she'd collected while traveling through europe when she was in college, the oval locket my dad had given her for christmas one year, the one that held the teeny tiny baby pictures of us inside, the collection of silver bangles with turquoise stones and the ring. good lord, the sterling silver dogwood ring, the one I can't ever remember her not wearing. as much a part of her appearance as the small, crescent-shaped scar on her cheekbone and the amber brown color of her eyes. I slipped it on my left middle finger and gasped. there she was. in the shape of my hand, in the color and texture of my skin, in the way her signature ring looked on my left middle finger. she was as close as my left hand, I could see her, feel her, any time I stopped to look down.

my own daughter's hands look nothing like mine. her fingers are long and slender, her skin noticeably smoother and fairer in complexion. hers are the hands of a possible concert pianist, an aristocrat, further proof of the mysteries of genetics. though once interlaced with mine, the differences mostly fall away. ava held my hand on some pretty unthinkable days, through some pretty unthinkable weeks and months, through the endless before and after. she held my hand when I shut down and pushed everyone else away, and then when I pretended I was fine. she was quiet but sure about it and acted with the same gentle tenacity as her grandmother, my mother, did for so many years.

her hands are my hands are my mother's hands.

she'll slip the sterling silver dogwood ring on her middle left finger one of these days and she'll see me, feel me. she'll remember her grandmother too. she'll look down when she needs to and know. we're as close as her left hand. closer, even. she'll know this. the ring on her hand will remind her.

(first written for motherhood with a camera, a space lovingly carved out by the luminous amy grace)

27 January 2016

color//colour red

in the name of the color red, I:

found it in the folds of a quilt.
found it in the details of a gas station.
found it underneath the chipped paint of a coffee shop floor.
looked for it on the shelves of book stores and libraries.
drove around downtown in the cold, cold rain in search of it.
purchased the reddest thing I could find at the thrift store (which was a bowl, a teeny tiny bowl).
purchased fifteen pieces of the reddest candy for exactly one dollar (not including tax).
wore two different shades of it on my toes.
ate maraschino cherries straight out of the jar.

(more of my reds here, more about color//colour lovers here, lovely co-collaborator xanthe's reds here and both of our colors live quite happily here)

and now: yellow.

21 January 2016

the sixty second photograph

(music by my friend dan smith aka listener)

here is a little piece of my life. a little piece of what january looks like around here, a piece of a bigger project that, quite frankly, scares me.

the sixty second photograph is a year long project-- eight still photographers committed to learning how to make pictures move. one tiny film each month, 60-120 seconds in length, for the next twelve months. we are all of us brand new to this thing, feeling our way around the metaphorical dark, jugulars completely exposed. what I mean to say is, it's hard to say yes to projects like this. to processes that are not safe or familiar, that involve fumbling around, asking for help. it's also hard to put the work out there when you know it could be one hundred times better, when you know (you just know) you might look back and cringe.

but it's also intoxicating. and essential to profound creative growth, which is why I said yes. I wanted to say no (I really, really wanted to say no) but it had to be yes. yes, I will learn something new. yes, I will make all the mistakes. yes, I will maybe want to pull my hair out. yes, I will make myself vulnerable. yes, I will wander around the metaphorical dark til I find the metaphorical light switch, all the metaphorical light switches, yes, I will do this. yes, yes, yes.

and I'm glad I said yes. I'm still scared. but I'll ride that happy glad feeling all the way til the end of the project in december, collecting small victories as I go. it's the only way.

(more moving pictures by talented photographers I am completely honored to be working//learning alongside over at the sixty second photograph)

(and thank you, leah, for giving me just the push I needed)

20 January 2016

color//colour forever

red, yellow, pink, green, orange, blue, all the old favorites, all my old pals.

big fat go go go for color//colour lovers, year three, round four! I don't know where the time goes. but here we are.

six weeks of color-hunting with my pal xanthe, already in the fullest of swishes. reds this week, chickadees. reds. my eyes are peeled open for the reds. should you want to play along and peel your eyes too:

week one//january 18: RED

week two//january 25: YELLOW

week three//february 1: PINK

week four//february 8: GREEN

week five//february 15: ORANGE

week six//february 22: BLUE

follow along, play along, we will gladly drink up all your color. for your weekly fix, I'll be both here and there. xanthe too. as for your daily fix well. I'll pretty much be you know where.

18 January 2016

light, love

I like to keep a little chalk handy. because, you never know.

may we be the light that drives out darkness in this world, may we be lovers that drive out hate. not just today, on the day we honor the life and work and powerful words of our beloved dr. martin luther king, jr., but every day. every single day.

05 January 2016

last and first

on the last day of the old year, we stood on the jackson street bridge, watched the sun go down on the city one last time. 2015, going, going, gone.

and on the first day of the new year, we stood at the base of toccoa falls, just before sunset and we wondered. about this year 2016, this new year everyone is talking about, this new kid in town. we opened our arms to her, we did. because what else could we do? is there any other way?