Arizona and the Grand Canyon

These were shot in the no-time between christmas and new years, as we wended our way home. Day 2 of 3 days driving, although the last day was only about 6 hours.

I don’t have any writing that’s like… fully baked at the moment. I’m thinking about some things, though. Blogging seems, overall, a much more positive way to spend my energy online. There’s no real feedback mechanism, unfortunately. I could add likes and comments pretty easily, but I don’t wanna. I think one of the things blogging is helps with is breaking some of the small feedback loops in favor of bigger ones.

Producing work, consistently, on a scale of months and years, is something that separates the real from the dilettantes (maybe. or maybe you take one perfect picture once. don’t ask me, I can’t tell you). Anyway, I’m going to have to ruminate on that and work it into a thesis, but there’s something to not being part of anyone else’s feed, just producing my own. Different priorities. The impossibility of going viral (well, much reduced). Anyway, yeah, that’s a sketch of what might become a whole essay.

Posted by Matt on 2020-04-20 07:51:24Z GMT

goodbye, holly dog

Holly was a good dog. She loved belly rubs, hikes with her people, and didn’t care a bit if it was raining. She always remembered me when I came to visit, even that one time we didn’t see each other for like a couple years. Holly still knew that I was good for maybe one more pet. A friend to everyone, even the deer she like to bark at in her people’s back yard.

I don’t normally do this kind of post, but normally, to process grief, I can be around people. So here we are.

Yeah, regularly scheduled programming will resume tomorrow. Or next week, probably.

Posted by Matt on 2020-04-17 08:48:38Z GMT

headed home

So I did some work on the design of the site; I’m still not like 100% on it, but I think it’s a lot better now than it was before. Text way to the right but also left-justified is a look, but we’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow.

There is something really nice about getting on the road. Even though I don’t have the endurance for driving that I once did; there was a time when I could get in the car and drive for 20 hours, easy. Now, I’m doing good to get 6 in a day. This day, to start, we had to detour through Lawton, to get Sophia’s keys, which she’d left in the car of a friend the night before, and subsequently he’d gone home to Lawton. All in all, it really only lost us like an hour, so 9 hours that day instead of 8.

Posted by Matt on 2020-04-16 06:48:27Z GMT

pictures first (leaving OKC)

yeah, just like the title says. Putting the pictures first in the post, as a stopgap to putting them first in the design. Going to start playing around with sizes and arrangements pretty soon. Need a Visual Heirarchy, some differentiation between text types and sizes, some good colors, etc. Good does not have to be a thousand line CSS file. I’m hoping for like a hundred? Anyway, not a lot to say today. Trouble sleeping the last few nights, already took a melatonin to try to knock myself out.

I might do some truly egregious things here before the design settles. Accents. Background colors. Who knows?

(the photos: taken one of the nights in OKC. Good crowd. Nice of the clouds to put on a show as I was driving in).

Posted by Matt on 2020-04-15 06:33:52Z GMT

Christmas Day with the Outlaws

This was a long time ago, seems like, and far away, but it did happen, and hopefully not the last time. The first photo is all of the ‘outlaws’: those who married into this particular family gathering, including myself. I will note, now, that I’ve had a tab open with Robin’s newsletter. In my head, I keep coming back to two passages:

Toil in the shadow of calamity WILL have its day.

and

There’s a kind of grit required to get through creative failure, whether that’s commercial rejection or just your own frustration with yourself; you might be acquainted with it. This crisis demands another, deeper kind of grit, because this crisis whispers in your ear:

Even if you succeed, it won’t matter. That thing you do, it is not life and death, and everything now is life or death, one or the other, with nothing in between. Your pampered preoccupation is utterly trivial. It took a pandemic to make you see it, but it’s been true all along.

That little snake voice, the one that says “You don’t matter, your feeble attempts at art making mean nothing, they’re bad anyway,” is an emotion I know all too well. You don’t toil at a thing in relative obscurity for as long as I have without having those thoughts. It’s really part of why I can be so shy when I’m out with the camera; it’s easy to think that what I’m doing doesn’t matter and I shouldn’t bother people with it.

The workshop I went to last October had one of the questions aimed at this, sort of. The last day, the fifth question was: If today was your last 24 hours on earth, you’re leaving on a space capsule, and you only get to take with you the pictures you take now, what do you take? Now after we’d done the exercises, we were talking about the uses of the questions, and I asked, “How often are you doing ‘last 24’?” Sara, the instructor, said without hesitation,“All the time.”

And if you think about it, it kinda makes sense: all the time, it could be your last 24 hours to make art, to look and see, and be in the world. So to be thinking, is what I’m doing important enough to take with me? If it is, then dammit, there’s room for me to be here making it. Somewhere, probably instagram, I saw a poem that included the line “You are allowed to occupy space,” and that’s maybe something I didn’t always feel entitled to? It’s true, though: even though the world doesn’t always want to give it to you, it’s OK to be here and do your thing.

So, remember your Baldwin (emphasis mine):

For nothing is fixed,
forever, forever, forever,
it is not fixed;
the earth is always shifting,
the light is always changing,
the sea does not cease to grind down rock.
Generations do not cease to be born,
and we are responsible to them
because we are the only witnesses they have.
The sea rises, the light fails,
lovers cling to each other,
and children cling to us.
The moment we cease to hold each other,
the moment we break faith with one another,
the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

Posted by Matt on 2020-04-13 09:30:56Z GMT