The invisible Monsters

(Music share: Please download & enjoy while reading. ‘The Road to Austin’ The Section Quartet) 21-the-road-to-austin

In the next five years and for the past five, my friends and I have been in the phase of life that involves not only our own evolution, but also the fine art of mixing lives together, and hoping that it rises. The heat and pressure of such a thing can cause what you have mixed to fall, or lack flavor. Sometimes the coming together of these unique elements can be absolute disaster, and a huge mess. This is our lives however, and not just a messy kitchen, so naturally it causes anxiety.

In my own personal experience, I have already won the game.

With such giving family and the most accepting friends, I find that my camera is the only way for me to capture the joy that they give me, and I have to say thanks that way. Otherwise, I sit and sputter emotional mish-mash in their faces. The photos save me the explanations.

For those of you wondering, I did deliver my speech live and in person on the day of Rob and Michelle’s wedding in Mexico. It was almost flawless too, except for that fall I took off the gazebo…
Just kidding.

The five days spent there were a wild card. A collection of people so incredible and silly with good times that I lost myself in the joy of it. I did not consider, and I am not sure why, that those family and friends of Michelle would be such a close second to my


For that week I lived (and loved those around me) with decadence.

I think that is why this entry (and those to come) continue to get more and more difficult. I become more invested in you, the viewer, but also somewhat attached to this digital room; a place where I can demand your attention with words and pictures for anywhere up to thirty minutes. I Relish in it.

On April 1st, I received more than 900 hits in the 24 hours after ‘The Light Hitting the Water’ was posted. Now, to you seasoned bloggers this may seem like a drop in the bucket. But admittedly, I had begun to wonder if anyone was looking at all. (Besides of course, you few loving and loyal supporters, you know who you are, and I thank you.)

In the knowledge of this flood of eyes, my knees locked, and I stayed away from my Word Press room. How ironic that a post about my fear of public speaking would exercise that particularly flabby emotional muscle? I thought it poetic, but for the next four weeks I thought to myself “Well, what now?”

Isn’t that always the question? The invisible monsters.
I always approach this question like a sleeping lion. I know once the wind storm of brain storming does begin it can go on and on, and although cathartic, it also stings a little. (like medicine?)

Writers and artists will tell you that they each have methods and for those of you who now me personally, you know my method can be a little… deranged? It has even been described as a green elephant. Not taboo like its pink counterpart, but big and bulky and impossible to move around.
(“and frankly, what the hell is that green elephant doing in here?”)

When I came home I was greeted by my forgotten bedroom corner table; a Bermuda triangle of  ‘to do’ lists and yellow legal pads scribbled over, not nearly enough items crossed off, and me cursing my past self.
It is true that the hardest thing’s, are the one’s that we haven’t done yet.      

And then Mona was born.

My oldest sibling was expecting a little girl, and the word came a few days after my homecoming that she had arrived; healthy and happy. In light of this news I found the strength to start working. I tackled the corner table with fervor and got through the pile of edits and portraiture that people were anxiously waiting on.

It is amazing what hope is born from, and where and when.

The light hitting the water….

Have you ever woken up from a long night of sleep and really taken notice of your waking style?

For me, waking up is, some days, an act of feverish irreverence. I feel like my four year old self, frustrated with the weight of my arms and legs. (I remember my father’s response to this plight; “Get up and shake it off. You will feel right as rain once you move around a little.” He was right, and every time I wake up feeling this way, I hear his words again, bouncing around the walls of my memory.)   There are also those mornings when I breath in deeply right as the light starts to creep into my room, and the morning shows promise by doing nothing but letting that light land against me.

Two and a half years ago I walked into a design class at 7:30AM on one of the former of mentioned mornings. It was my first class of my second degree, the first in three years of living in New York, and now I was back in Colorado; somewhat of a stranger to my old hometown.
In the front row sat a lovely looking woman with a pair of bright blazing blue eyes, and the same look on her face that I exhibited. It was a look of excitement and skepticism; the exceptionally large cup of coffee next to her told me that we would be kindred. Michelle Knudsen, a young and athletic dancer and photographer, would grace nearly every day of the following 730 days. Our schedules mirrored one another, and most of our colleagues came to know us more as sisters. Flash forward to early March, when Michelle casually asks me, in the most charming way, to write something special for her wedding next month. This was not the only request, but she also expressed a desire that I present these musings during the ceremony.
(In that moment I am not sure that she realized how my pride had swelled.)

Now it is no secret to those of you that know me, that I am a romantic. I am silly with the stuff in fact, and cannot seem to pry myself away from the sweetest of ideals. So this task seemed perfectly appropriate, and although I knew it would be a challenge, I accepted immediately. I did however show pause over my ability to read it aloud on the big day. As social as I am, I have a death defying fear of public speaking. This fear claims 75% of the population, but add my emotional nature and tendency to cry at weddings, and well… I had to take time to consider what I would be delivering up there. The weeks that followed have been a personal journey into not only capturing the love of two dear friends, but also an attempt in defining love entirely. Or perhaps, more simply, what I love so much about it.    

I began by thinking of what made Michelle and Rob so unique, and in my eyes, so true. I thought back to that first day; the privilege of gaining this new friend. It was a few months before I met Rob, and I remember thinking that Michelle radiated a particular light. ( One that most photographers go in search of their whole lives.) When I finally laid eyes on her other half, and then their wonderful ‘dance’, it was like adding water. He seemed to pull the light out of her, and improve its shine. It was a remarkable thing to see. In fact, it was something I will never forget. (As a child I would have described it like a kaleidoscope. One side shows you the blurry but slow falling of colored beads and the creation of constant new design. If you flip it over and look through the other side it is a whole new experience, but with the same use of color and form. The same kind of beauty, but independent of its second side.

Not unaware, simply unencumbered.)

After these revelations, I got stuck. Each time I would sit down to write about my love of love, I would short circuit. For centuries writers have tried to successfully take an emotion and explain it with words. Painters have tried to capture it with color, and musicians have exhausted their efforts in connecting notes that reflect the simple expression of feeling. I would become overwhelmed with my task and walk away from my computer, sometimes cursing heatedly under my breath. Not at myself, but at all those artists, for setting such a reckless example…. (Heh heh eh)
I finally realized that I would have to take all of that anxiety and turn it into something manageable. I began to picture it like a kitchen sink piled with dishes. I could take each dish one at a time, and rinse away the mess. And with that thought, I started clean. What I uncovered was all the obvious things that we already know, but enjoy revealing.  

That each of us is a truly unique being; in the eyes of the ones that love us best. That we get to create our relationships right out of our wildest dreams. That the ‘rules of the game’ have never been defined because, well, they are different for every team.

I began looking back on my photography and even there I saw the evidence of my always evolving theories. An on going series called ‘What love must be like’ popped up in my archives each month, and I felt again like a child, seeing myself grow.  

I realized that it isn’t a ‘definition’, as in the boundary of a meaning, but the shaping and directing of a substance. Even one that is theoretical.  That light hitting the water.

In 19 days I will hop a plane to the Riviera Maya, and surrounded by rich yellows and seductive reds, I will delight in the sharing of these revalations, and regale in the coming together of  two amazing elements.

Congratulation Michelle and Robert Dillon…. I am in awe of your light.

“The tide is pulled and kept constant by the gravitational pull of the moon. These two things rely on one another to continue on, unabashed. You are what pushes and pulls me against all the otherworldly concepts. When you are there to ground me, my world can keep on spinning. “