My niece challenged me to participate in the seven day, black and white photo challenge on Facebook. We were to post a b and w photo each day without explanations, and without people in the images. The hardest part, for me, was to challenge someone else each day. I have too many online friends, family, former students etc. But, I did manage it and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
I have spent the last three months preparing for an Arts/Craft Fair. Inundating myself with colored kaleidoscope images I’ve created over the past few years. I also created a small, take along coloring book, and a series of Templates for others to color. It turned into a sort of cataloguing experience because I hadn’t really kept track of all the stuff while I was busily entertaining myself by simply playing with them. The Fair was a flop due to mismanagement and other unforeseen factors. And yes, that took the wind out of my sails.
But, the black and white challenge helped me turn the corner and find me again. You see, I stopped writing during that time period of preparation. And afterward, was finding a blankness every time I even considered the possibility of doing so. I had ideas, but couldn’t find the thread that would allow me to continue. It wasn’t so much a writing block, as it was more a writing cramp, taking place deep inside of me. I did do some writing, had to, because I’m teaching an online class. But, it was difficult and I felt no real satisfaction in the doing of it. And that has never happened before.
Writing is a door I walked through many years ago. Didn’t know, at the time, that it would become the cornerstone of my existence. That it would be, and become, my truest definition. It fueled all my other creative endeavors. Especially those that had been dormant for so many years: the sketching (doodling, digital painting, and the love of color). And yet, here I was, almost daily, turning away from this cornerstone, distracting myself with binges of watching old TV series. The very thought of writing brought on that psychological cramp, and I’d come to in the early morning hours, knowing I’d just wasted another day.
I tried to color, even bought myself a new set of pens, different from those I’ve been using for years. Realized I didn’t really understand how to use them, but instead of setting myself the task of learning how to do so, dove right back into the old TV series. But then, came the photo challenge. Black and white, no people, no explanations, but had to be about my life experience.
I have a lot of photos, most of them in color. No problem changing them to black and white, done with one click. These are the first six photos I posted, and what they have come to mean to me personally:
Pelicans symbolize buoyancy
water symbolizes life = ever moving, evolving
individuality – personal power
fawn – deer symbolize the need to be gentle with self
Had no idea I was giving myself such a clear and well defined message. Was far more interested in what I saw in the images without the distraction of all that color. The details began to jump out at me. But now, I had to put up the seventh and final image. It was a toss-up between two images. The first, being a photo of a portion of my library. All my books on writing and things I had published or been a part of publishing, my reference materials, and things I’d used while teaching writing. I hesitated to use that photo, because when my niece had done the challenge, she’d used a photo of her book shelves, and I didn’t want to look like I was out of ideas and copying her.
I got out my camera and started taking pictures of my office. That’s when it hit me. Everyone knows how much I am into dragons. That I see them as teachers, a higher life form, come to help us be better human beings, and especially to help us grow out of old coping mechanisms created when we were children. This was my final b & w photo.
He was a gift from one of my students and takes a prominent center place on the upper tiers of my huge desk. He’s actually a large sculpted candle (never to be burned), deep purple with bright red sparkling eyes. Purple is the color of personal power and red is the color of Creative Fire. His name is Neosaphalus and I do believe we are back in business.
Elizabeth Crawford 10/24/2017