My thesis was titled Becoming a Photographer. My inspiration whilst writing was Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”. The last two lines of his chorus resonate deeply with me and through the writing process I realized the impact of those words on many of the shots I had taken for the course:
“There is a crack, a crack, in everything,
that’s how the light gets in.”
Considering the sum of my parts though, my thesis really ought to have been titled simply Becoming. The woman I am today is an amalgam of a great many snapshots, only one of which is labelled photographer.
”Make no little plans; they have no power to stir men’s blood
and probably themselves will not be realized.”
Recently I was invited to interview for a board position and was asked to bring along a copy of my (non-existent) résumé. In writing the first draft of a new CV, I realized that a main-stream employer would undoubtedly register both confusion and disapproval on a candid brow. Post banking days, my interest and attention have jackrabbited from various needle arts, to photography, to minimalism, to meditation, to Buddhism, to writing, to kayaking and, and, and…
The conventional part of my psyche, the part of me that is so easily influenced by mainstream values – fit-in-at-all-costs – fears that by dabbling in so many creatives, I have become a Jack of all trades, master of none. I can’t quite squelch the feeling that I’m somehow missing the mark, that I’ve lost focus. I wondered how the board would interpret the varied contents of my résumé.
Fortunately, the interview went well and there were no raised eyebrows at the CV, quite the opposite in fact – the board chair remarked that I must have very good focus to learn and develop so many new skills so late in life. A compliment, I think?
On the tickle: Plucking oneself from a comfortable yet staid routine may be inspiring, but trusting in the adventure ahead, the mystery outcome, is downright scary! To leap from Plan A to Plan B (and C and D and E…) midstream, always chasing a new passion, is akin to risking the ruination of a favourite pair of expensive shoes as they get soaked in that proverbial stream. Many times have I felt that tickle, the germ of a new idea. The restlessness, daydreams and wonder always seem to herald the beginning of a new creative venture; a project I instinctively know I must begin. Looking back today, though, I realize that every interest, every new skill mastered, every path taken are all key elements of my becoming. Combined, they will eventually guide my footsteps to where I am meant to be; they are my creative incubator.
Perspective: It’s liberating to understand that the sum of my parts is my potential, but it is truly exciting to think that my whole might one day be greater than that sum. I’m not turning my back on that snapshot labelled photographer – photography is, after all, my bliss – but I know that ultimately, many albums, crammed with many snapshots will tell the full story of my life.
‘Til next time, y’all…
❋ Mr. Burnham was an architect, most well-known for designing the famous triangular-shaped Flatiron Building in NYC.
All images are of the ice volcanoes along the south shore of Presqu’ile Provincial Park.