Local boys pose at the town plaza, La Paz, 1999
Stephen King with over 350 million books sold writes in his memoir, Stephen King on Writing (Scribner, 2000), how his prodigious writing impetus goes through dry (no pun intended here) spells. Many writers and artists talk about the depression that drops down when the book or the painting is done. In fact, many artists are alcoholic or what today we call manic-depressive. Their energies can soar to incredible heights and drop to equally incredible lows. That’s some comfort to us closet, unpublished artists. Smooth sailing is a fiction of our despair; there’s no such thing.
After I uploaded the bonus images for Coty and Jacqueline last Monday I felt great. I also did not want to look at another photo from the set or any other photo set. All I wanted was to get away from it all. I did drive over to Carthage on Thursday to shoot videos of Linda’s mother, Bonnie, but didn’t take a single picture the whole six hours that I was there. I’d packed my camera with two lenses; I didn’t even take them out of the bag.
The hiatus is fueled by something like disgust. As the deadline looms closer, we tap into uncommon energy sources. Energy becomes almost animal-like, similar to the second wind that rises after I’ve done six miles on the treadmill. I am operating on a more basic level, like a cheetah or a porpoise, charging on the savannah or ocean current free of civilizing indecision. When the task is accomplished, the wind dies. It’s as though it never was in the first place. The sails go limp.
I have tens of thousands of images on my computer, this after losing several thousands when my external hard drive went kaput last year while the OWC was fixing the RAID array in Chicago. I’d plunked down the small fortune to avert the disaster that happened anyway. Maybe the loss was a blessing. I still have gigabytes of photos I can spend months looking at and processing. Many I have not even looked at since coming home from the shoot safaris. If I add the sixty hours taped and digital videos years of work lie waiting for that energy to rise arise.
Seasons divide the calendar years into graspable pieces. Without seasons, years, months, days, hours and minutes time would be bearish to live through. Ups and downs not only make us time to escape from monomaniacal activity and retain more of a life; they give us the distance to look at images with new eyes, stories with a new heart.