I want to be. In a white room, alone, with no one else, and nothing else. I want to come out without jealousy. Without spite. Without regret. Without shame. I don’t want any influences. I want to be, alone. I want to not compare myself to others. I want to come out not feeling like I missed anything. How could I miss anything if I was with myself and I am the most important person to myself because I am the only one who will know what it’s like to be in my own head? I couldn’t miss anything but my silly silly brain could trick itself into thinking I missed something. It could trick itself into thinking that there are a million people that are better than I am, a million ideas better than mine, a million amazing nights I never had and never would had and never could had. It could trick itself. I want to not try so hard to hold onto something. Unclench. Relax. Deep breath. Soak up any comfort I could get as long as it didn’t soak too far into my skin, so far that it never came out and was always there, absurdly comfortable and eventually my brain would compare everything to that comfort and nothing would ever come close and I would be missing everything.
Blue signifies sorrow. Not necessarily just sadness, but a deep aching rich feeling. The feeling that you have lost something, or that you are trying too hard to hold onto something. I chose to represent this with hands, for what expresses more sorrow? We clutch when we feel nervous, clench when we feel anxious, try to find something, anything, to hold onto. Or we let go and resign ourselves.
8 scanned cyanotypes, my most recent photography project. These are hand coated sheets of paper. Coated with Ware Cyanotype solutions, which is basically made up of some chemicals that have very scary names. They are 100% unique every time. It is not a forgiving process and these are by no means perfect. But I am pleased with them, mostly because I don’t believe they would be as successful printed any other way but this. They are 5×5 inches in real life, and if you are around OCAC and want to see them, just say Hi.
From my notebook, which has everything daily in it. Stuff that means a lot to me now and will be very confusing and unimportant in 5 years. I look back at my notebook from last year even and wonder what the hell I was doing. I love it though, couldn’t survive without it. I use it for everything. (Just click on the photos to view them larger and get into my head.)
I’m sleepy. Exhausted.
But mostly I’m so happy for everything I’m doing right now. I am honestly excited about so many things. And so thankful for the view of the sunset at school.
We claimed a patch of grass as ours. We looked at each other and ran up through the alley back to my house on 7th street to grab armfuls of blankets. I took the steps of the black spiral staircase up to my brother’s room to grab a denim comforter with ruffles; it would be perfect to lie on.
Our arms full of fabric, these comforting things, we walked all the way back to our grass, our feet slapping the red gravel road.
You are asleep, and I am burrowing deeper into the covers. We are beneath a cloudless sky. Sometimes I look up and see blue and hold my hands over my eyes, form a small slit so I can better understand the color. It always looks different in isolation.
We are together but apart. I am curled with my back to yours. This afternoon isn’t mine, it’s ours, but I am alone contemplating. I contemplate with you beside me, and therefore you are contemplating with me.
I turn on my back, and whisper your name, “Crrr.” Not a question, but a statement. You respond anyway, a muffled sound of acknowledgement, and I am satisfied. I stretch out, make some noise, and imagine the grass under our blanket getting squished down.
A scoop of land surrounds me all sides by rising trees. I am in a bubble of history. I can still remember my mom spreading out a crinkled map of this town, a bird’s eye view. The numbered streets so out of place in the mountains. I loved tracing the ways I would walk to the bus stop. I swore I would take the longest route; I wanted to live in a city. I didn’t even know you then. I had a different best friend.
Now here we are, on our blanket, looking up at the sky wrapped in blankets I’ve had just as long as I’ve lived here. We’re on the alley, between 4th street and 5th.
Yesterday we ventured down to the river. There was a pebbly rock beneath my fingers. Water gulping and rushing around me. I pretended I was on the edge of a waterfall, above empty space. I told you this as you giggled and took pictures, the shutter clicking heavily in our still afternoon. I stood up and looked at my feet on the rock, jumped from one to another, making my way back to the bank of grass.
I sat myself in a swinging hammock chair as you balanced on a log by the river, dipped your feet into the cold water. I twisted myself up on the rope of the chair, then let myself go and the world spun. I was back in my own bubble. I focused on the tiny cotton threads and your voice. It didn’t matter what you said, only that you were speaking.
Afterwards we clambered back up the tiered path overgrown with clumps of grass and weeds. I held on to empty space and managed to stay upright. We walked slowly back, no need to rush, across the road, through the alley and back into the house. We were soaked with sun.
Maybe we are in a sphere and the only ground that exists in the entire world is the grass under our blanket. You are breathing, heavily, you’re asleep, remember? I wake you up, now we’re turned towards each other, I’ve grabbed my camera.
We like to pretend these moments happened in complete solitude, that it was just chance that a camera was pointed at us, happened to capture the exact moment our joy peaked. The truth is that I want so badly to remember every detail of this afternoon. I know I won’t be able to memorize it, so I’ll let the light do it for me.
The next day we walk up to the waterfall. Loose gravel roads lead us places I’ve already been to dozens of times, and we get off the road in the middle of an incline. Here is another rushing body of water. Colder than before. We lay out on another pebbly rock, slowly inching ourselves down to the water. Plunge our feet in and a swirling mass of gold-flecked mud blooms around us, turning the river opaque.
We are in a tiny collected bowl of river water. Here is the waterfall I was imagining myself above. Now I am below it, or nearly.
Childish fear grips our bodies, we are hesitant but over the course of another hot afternoon we creep our way under it. First our feet must go in. Next our legs, torsos and shoulders.
Then we are under, after much debate about who will go first and why. (You, I am less strong.) Water is pounding down. It is so shallow here, easy to climb up the big rocks and get behind the fall. We giggle, we are free. Our hands reach out to touch the stream of water, which is so solid and so white. I want to stay here forever.
I will myself to remember the details. Droplets hitting my bare skin, the echoing sound from being in a small chamber with a loud noise. I close my eyes; tilt my face towards the spray. Words are unnecessary, so complete is our joy.
We are really two tiny dots in the world. I know once I get back to the city and leave my quiet town I will have a moment where I crane my neck to see the windows of a building, and I’ll know that for every window there is a person. I will be put in my place. My life will once again be small. But right now I am the center of my own universe. Without anything to compare ourselves to, we are as large as the world around us. As important as the waterfall we’re under.
Reluctantly, we edge out from under the waterfall, you first this time so I can see how it’s done. And we’re back in our bowl, floating on our backs in a pool only two feet deep. The noise of the waterfall is in the background again. We are still together. I can say your name, and you can say mine. We will answer. We are here.
Sometimes I forget that it was I who made these things. I who did this. It’s easy to forget that, I think. I want feel fully everything I’m doing. Is that what everyone wants? Sometimes, maybe, the only way things are right is if I’m not trying to control them. And I will never escape my desire for chronology.
My first experience with Tumblr was when a photograph I had taken was posted on a blog dedicated to images of kisses. I was proud, at the time it was an image I loved: Steele and I in a kiss on the Oregon coastline. I revisited the page often over the next few weeks, curious to see if anyone else would approve of it. And they did. I watched as the number of notes (favorites and reblogs) grew to 100 and continued growing. I was especially elated every time I saw that it was reblogged, which meant that it had been posted on another blog. Now this is put in perspective as I see content that has 2,000+ notes. But to me then, Tumblr seemed like a completely new world I had yet to discover.
I convince myself that I can use these people as inspiration, find their photographs, their websites, track them down and study them. Find out the secret quality they hide in their photographs. But when I click on a link, all it does, it takes me to another Tumblr. Another trove of lovely and enchanting images. They all start to blend together. I can’t remember if I have seen anything cool because everything seems cool.
I hate Tumblr. Once I get sucked into one of those perfect white layouts, completely barren except for pages and pages of beautiful images, it’s over. These things are supposed to inspire me. And they do, for the first few pages. Then slowly I can’t help but start to despair. I will never be as good as half the things I see. I won’t be able to capture light this way. I won’t be able to go out to these locations and shoot and come back and edit perfectly. I won’t gain an online following. No one will ever want to buy my prints. No one will want to “like” my Facebook fan page. No one will care about my meager attempts to capture the way I’m trapped in my bed like a moth.
A feeling starts to creep into my gut. A tiny bud of self-doubt. I’m not good enough for the internet. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.
Tumblr is such a good resource. Tumblr is such a community. Tumblr is a blogging revolution. Tumblr. Tumble. I tumble. And tumble. And tumble. And fall. It’s a god-awful hour, the middle of the night, I am hunched over my computer. I am staring at this blue-white computer screen. All I’m doing is clicking the “next” button. Next page. Older entries. More images. The empty feeling in my gut has grown and now I have a pit in the bottom of my stomach. And the pit says, “You aren’t good enough.” This feeling tells me all sorts of things. That I have wasted time. I have wasted my time looking at photographs I can’t even track down the artist of. I have wasted the precious time in which I could have been outside taking my own photographs. I could have. I could have. I am a waste of space.
So I get out. Delete. And write a short Flickr entry about how Tumblr isn’t for me. I am swathed once again in my isolation. Self-doubt is still a part of my life. That empty feeing in my stomach still comes back and it still whispers my fears to me. I sometimes ignore it, sometimes give in to it. I know that self-doubt, and not Tumblr, is really what I hate. I try to break free of my cycle. Go outside. Look at the sky. And don’t visit any Tumblr’s. Maybe I’ll be okay.
Do you ever have that feeling where you just know something is wrong. Something is off in your tummy, you feel bad for a reason, you know that you’re sad, you’re supposed to be sad. But you can’t remember why. You think maybe it’s not important because, obviously, you can’t remember. And then you realize what you forgot. And your stomach shrinks. And you are still sad. And you deflate. There is no avoiding it. You just have to wait until you forget again.
I lost one follower. I don’t know why this matters to me? Someone deleted their blog? Someone realized I don’t post that many things, this isn’t that riveting, this is just for me. I don’t know why these things matter to me.
I want to start a 365 days of writing project. Not necessarily eloquent writing. Anything. Maybe it’s one sentence or one word or one paragraph. Maybe it’s just something about what I ate for breakfast. I want to remember things. I have a bad memory. That’s why I photograph things, and why I write things.
So here is something from today:
I am in the passengers seat of Steele’s car. We are driving home after having a few beers at a friends house. I am warm and I am a small little piece of a group. We come up over a hill and there is a blanket of fog on everything. Only the street lamps show through. And I feel full. I can sing out loud, I can watch the lights pass, I can kiss Steele twice on the mouth and slip into bed at 12:54 in the morning.