Snapshots: the everyday
Traveling across the Dakotas today with my family, I have some time to reflect.
Now that I’ve settled into my new job, I’m beginning to wonder how I can fit more photography into my life. For awhile I set projects aside, not actively pursuing a story, not taking on any new work. Between job transitions I had quite a few projects on my plate, and I suppose I got a little burnt out. I needed a break. But, like I said, now that I have a kind of a routine in place again, I wonder what now? I like my job—a lot—but it’s a big time draw at 40 hours a week. Add commuting, and then pack all the house and life maintenance into the remaining hours on evenings and weekends, and it’s difficult to have energy devoted to pursue artistic endeavors.
The thing is that I am exceedingly thankful. I don’t even mind having a full-time job for probably the first time in my life. Frankly, I’m surprising myself. Maybe it’s age and experience. Maybe it’s just the way this year of my life works and the next year I’ll feel differently. No matter the reason, I’m inclined to want to problem solve how to pursue photography rather than complain about the absence of inspiration. Pinch me, will you?
When I was a teenager I read a lot about self-reliance (yes, Emerson), developing your own mind, finding satisfaction in the everyday life, having patience. In my mind I am returning to those principles I held so dear; what do they mean to me today? Is there such a thing as the art of enjoying folding laundry? What can I draw out of grocery shopping, replacing a lightbulb, talking with the neighbor over the fence, brushing the dog, cooking dinner? Maybe this sounds ridiculous and I’m really reaching. But if this is my lot right now—and it’s a damned good lot that I am happy to manage—what more can I wring out of it?
There’s an excerpt from Rainer Maria Rilke that says that for the poet, there is nothing in life unworthy of art. Nothing is truly boring or devoid of idea. The poet never looks around and says he has no material. He does not need spectacular views, or exciting action to make art. He can make art out of anything.
It is on this that I have been pondering lately. I’ve always been an everyday kind of girl—and I’m forming ideas about my damned-good everyday life.