I seem to have this incredible talent for tripping at the most embarrassing times, but I have developed the skill of appearing very nonchalant about it as I return to an upright position.
Seriously though, there are two abilities that I am most thankful for, and that is my writing and my photography. Both of these have played an important role in keeping me sane when the world seems to be falling apart around me. Both allow me to find ways to express myself. Both either show what I am feeling inside at the moment or distract me from what I am feeling inside at the moment.
Even before the pandemic, I didn’t go out much. I am comfortable here and safe here. I also have a small expanse of woods at my disposal to hike and photograph. These woods have also played large roles in fiction stories. I often challenge myself to find something different to photograph each time I go out. I look for plants, wildlife, colors and textures. Anything that is different from the times before. Lighting and weather, play a large role as well.
Do I see myself ever becoming a professional? No. I enjoy this as a hobby. I enjoy the challenge of it all. I enjoy the fact that when depression, loneliness or boredom come knocking, I can grab a camera and head out to distract myself and leave the dark feelings behind.
When I have my cameras, I am actively doing something. I am searching for that shot. I am deciding from which direction, which angle, which something to take the shot. Mentally, I have become part of the shot. I have stepped out of one consciousness and into another. My concentration and focus directed toward creativity. This is good and bad. Good that I have found a distraction, bad that the distraction can cause me to not be aware of surroundings. Something I always need to be aware of in the woods.
Writing, is something that has been with me since I understood words and how to put them together to form a thought.
I was the tall girl in school who didn’t date but wrote tons of poetry. It was probably all or most bad, but since it was all lost long ago, we’ll just say it was amazing. To try and feel a part of the cool kids, I wrote assignments for them. I didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs, I wrote and was happy to do it, just to feel a part.
When the internet came along, I found social sites with writers groups. There I was among friends. There I was able to work on and improve my skills. There inspiration was born. From there, my two self published books came to life. From there, life time friendships were created.
Then, I lost my husband. Sitting out here, on a dead end dirt road, surrounded by family yes, but still alone, I wrote. When one cuts a major artery, they can bleed out in minutes. My heart was cut out, and I bled words onto the page. Constantly writing, constantly trying to express what I was feeling or dealing with at that particular moment. The words kept coming in a way the tears would not. I don’t know how much of what I shared was read, then and now that didn’t matter. I was trying to get out what I was feeling so that the pressure inside was less. I do that still.
There are times when the emotions are thick, deep and too intense to shake off. When the sadness, the anger, the disappointment take a stranglehold on my heart and spirit. When loneliness seems to be the only state in which I live. When I hunger for conversation or a moment of companionship. Those times bring me to the keyboard. Those times I have to sit and bleed the words onto the page and share.
My hope, is that someone reading, may find something they need tucked away somewhere in the sentences that will help them. A spark of hope, a dose of encouragement, a helping of peace, just for them.
Fiction writing, that is a playground for the mind. When you discover characters and bring them and their world to life. When they follow you about, sharing events and ideas of what is or could be happening. Those moments when you get caught talking to them and people who do not understand writers, look at you oddly before backing away. Those moments when you simply shrug and smile at them before returning to your conversation with the character that simply won’t leave you alone. Better yet, are the times when even one who doesn’t write, does understand and actively takes part in the creation. Escapism at its finest, creativity at its best, healing and growth at its most pure.
Poetry, an expression of the heart and soul. In poetry, emotions can be shared that seem ethereal, or dark. They seem a part of or not of the writer. It is a way to express what is on the soul in a less personal way. It is a way to express that is fully personal but yet reaches out to the reader to share.
Photography is the visual expression of emotions. Writing is putting the spoken word to print, the sharing of thoughts and ideas. Both in their own way, share hope. Both, I am thankful are part of who I am.