I was born on August 8th, the year doesn't matter, and on 08.08.08 my husband and I celebrated my birthday in a tiny cabin in McCall, Idaho.
I don't know what happened to 09.09.09, 10.10.10, or 11.11.11 as life and time flies by so quickly. Somewhere along the way though, I took a Creating Time Capsules class from Xanthe Berkeley and because of my association with her, I was sent an email about capturing one's day on 12.12.12. I had failed to complete her course as the move from Utah to Texas was an emotional roller coaster for me, but I decided to participate in this worldwide project. My mantra, the loop of words that ran through my brain as I began to think about what I wanted to do, what I wanted to capture that day was..."it doesn't need to be perfect...it won't be perfect...just shoot from your heart." Ultimately, I decided to photograph Roanoke, Texas on December 12, 2012.
Xanthe sent links to videos that might inspire those of us taking part in this collaborative enterprise. I read and listened to words so powerful and inspiring that I moved forward with my plans. Ira Glass on Storytelling said, "Nobody tells people who are beginners...those of us who do creative work...get into it because we have good taste...That for the first couple of YEARS you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good." He also said many people quit because what they're producing early on, isn't what was imagined or conceived. But he goes on to say that our taste is still "killer" and by creating a body of work our creations will become better and better. What I Have To Offer, a video by Eliot Rausche, admonishes us to be who we are..."What I have to offer is me." His work is exquisite and moving! My favorite line in the 5-minute video is..."I believe you have a wound... I do believe it is specific to you and common to everyone." All of us have been injured by someone or something and all of us are constantly looking for approval and acceptance. To be honest, I am guilty of posting my work on Flickr and checking every 5 minutes for confirmation that my work is "good," which is determined by the number of comments I receive, but by doing so, I allow others to control my self-esteem and ultimately my creativity. Xanthe encouraged us to take part in this grand venture without comparing our offering to other works posted in the group.
I had already found the music I wanted to use as it expressed exactly what I wanted to say about Roanoke, Texas and my move from Utah. For days in advance, I listened to the music, I visualized my plan of capturing my new home, my surroundings...and as I lay awake in the darkness before the sun came up on 12.12.12--I had it all figured out.
I hopped in the shower as Danna, my husband, headed off to work in Dallas, while thoughts still swirled in my head. I had planned a self-portrait or two so I took time to put on makeup and fix my hair. I wore jeans and a gray turtleneck sweater and threw on a jacket as I left the house. It was a cold 50 degree morning...winter they say in Texas. I started my day by catching the sunrise on a road near my house, and then ran back home to put the basset hounds (Molly and Gurly) safely in their crates for the day and off I went. Tradition dictates that on auspicious occasions such as this, which also includes the beginning of any road trip, I stopped at McDonald's for a Sausage Egg McMuffin and Diet Coke. I began playing the tune I selected for my slideshow and played it over and over again. I felt empowered and the music spurred me on...all the while repeating in my head...("it doesn't need to be perfect...it won't be perfect...just shoot from your heart.")
Photographs of familiar things...things I'd seen many times...things I had some connection with, began to fill my memory card. I wandered along railroad tracks, in open fields of yellow grass, and along N Oak Street..."The Unique Dining Capital of Texas." All of a sudden, my feelings started to change. What I had imagined I'd create was not coming to fruition and disappointment set in. Familiar negative thoughts poured into my thinking and I was tempted to put my camera back in its bag and head home. I was confused and perplexed by my impression to leave as I had prepared for this day, thought it through, packed by bag, and had gotten up early to begin, but then somehow, remembering words from Ira Glass and Xanthe, I stayed the course and spent 7 hours walking here and there capturing scenes from my adopted hometown.
At the end of the day, still feeling a bit defeated, I received a post from Xanthe. Her words changed my attitude. She said, "Thanks for being here for this project, whatever you produced today... however big, small, beautiful, boring, ordinary, extraordinary, magic or mundane. It doesn't matter, we took part, acknowledged a regular day making it into something to look back on." I had taken part and as always, when you engage in undertakings such as this, there are lessons learned about one's self, about the camera, and in my case, about the place I live.
There is a story I want to tell, need to tell, that cannot be told with just the images I captured on 12.12.12. Over the next few weeks, I'll be gathering all the images taken from the day I left Utah, including the photos taken on 12.12.12, to create a slideshow about moving to a new place and a new life. This will be good for me. It's time to let go of my red desert home and fall in love with the golden grass plains of Texas. And I'll try to remember..."it doesn't need to be perfect...it won't be perfect...just create it with your heart!"