What is it about a major snowstorm that brings out the kid in me?
Is it the early childhood memory of hovering around the radio, listening for the coveted school closing, while the snow clouds gathered, promising piles of snowballs and sledding and hot chocolate waiting inside? (Yes, I did have one of those childhoods.)
Is it the photographer in me, watching the light change, how the snow frosts the huge evergreens along the stream and undulates across the field?
Is it simply the fact that my family and I are among the truly lucky people in the world. The “threat” of snow isn’t ominous to our ears or our psyche. We’re safe, inside a warm home, with more than sufficient food and water. We don’t have to commute anywhere (other than down the stairs in our bedroom slippers). Daniel and I work at home, in our comfortable studio, with Rascal and Diva pussyfooting around, often jumping up on our laps to remind us that NOW is the best time to love. And Watson (Rascal and Diva’s Golden Retriever) is always nearby, watching over us, and ready at the drop of a single syllable (“out!”), to run and play.
Of course, we’re aware that millions of others aren’t as lucky as we are. Our hearts and minds are with those who are endangered by the weather. Still, the joy of the snow blowing outside our window, and of watching Watson throw himself into a white fluffy bank to make snow angels makes me feel so very alive and, well, irrepressibly happy.
Speaking of which, Watson, let’s go OUT and make some snow angels together.
According to CNET, “Twitter users spawn 24.1 million Super Bowl game tweets.” It used to be that if you didn’t have a photo of it (whatever it is), it didn’t happen. Now, it appears that tweeting is your proof that you’re alive and doing.
What about just being there, experiencing the moment fully? Has social media become the way we make memories, connect with life around us? That feels too passive to me.
Stepping out of our lives every few moments to comment on it erects an edifice around us that might feel comforting and connecting, but it seems more like a wall between me and the effervescent now.
A few weeks ago, Shannon and Toni, the two women behind the Duolit blog , challenged the writing community to come together to support a fellow author who can no longer speak for her own book. The Cell War Notebooks is the compilation of Julie Forward DeMay’s passionate, honest, heartwarming blogs written during the last seven months of her life as she lost the battle against cervical cancer.
Shannon and Toni asked us to write a blog about hope in Julie’s memory, to help spread the word. Of course, I said yes. The problem for me was that they wanted everyone’s blogs to be posted on the same day – January 31st. Unfortunately, I was installing another American Hands exhibit on the 31st. I had thought that I might actually get to it that night, but after organizing and hanging over 100 pictures at the University of Scranton, I fell into bed, unable to think, let alone write.
So, here’s my blog on hope in memory of Julie Forward DeMay, a couple of days late, but perhaps, just on time.
How often I have hoped for things that have never come true. Haven’t we all?
When I was a young twenty-something, I began to wonder if hope were nothing more than a palliative, a drug we use to blind us Read More
This past Sunday, when I spoke at the NY Times Travel Show, offering suggestions to travel photographers, I was very gratified at the positive response, and how many folks stayed after the panel, to ask me more questions and advice in the hallway outside the seminar room.
One of my tips was to use Force Flash when shooting outdoors with a point-and-shoot camera. (Force Flash is the lightning bolt icon without the A.)
The flash icon with the A, is for automatic, which means the camera won’t flash if it thinks there’s enough light in the overall scene. (Such as in the picture on the left.)
In the picture on the right, Daniel turned on Force Flash, which illuminated my face, giving it better color, while improving the overall dynamic range and vitality of the picture. The result also balanced for the blue sky as well as both the highlights and shadows in the snow.
Please feel free to leave your questions about photography here in the comments, or send them to me via email or on Facebook.
Last night, clocks ticked through my dreams. This morning, this poem spilled out of me.
A bit over a month ago, I was just finishing up what I thought was the last edit of my novel Jo Joe. All my years of writing, rewriting, submitting for critiques, responding to muy editors’ edits/suggestions/critiques, followed by still more rewrites were finally coming to their logical conclusion. My baby would soon go off into the “real” world on her own, to sink or swim, depending on the currents: i.e. publishing vicissitudes and reader responses. The next step would be bound galleys (and ePub galleys) for reviewers. Yes, I would have a chance to make changes after that, but only small, critical ones.
In other words, it was nearly that time when I would have to let go. Parents who send their children off to college probably experience the same mix of dread and elation that an author has when sending their novel off to be published. While I found find it difficult to no longer eat, drink, sleep and dream Jo Joe, I was looking forward to closing the book (literally) and moving on. I have other projects waiting in the wings – another novel plus my ongoing American Hands narrative portrait project. And after all the wonderful feedback we’ve gotten from my editor and Beta Readers, I was very much looking forward to finding out how reviewers and readers would react to Jo Joe. (Hope springs eternal in an author’s breast.)
On the morning of the day that I fully believed I would be saying “so long,” to Jo Joe, not expecting to see her again until I receive my copies of the printed bound galley, Daniel made an apparent off-the-cuff comment over the breakfast table. “I wonder what it would be like if Jo Joe were in present tense.”Read More
When I was fresh out of college, the only thing I wanted to do was sing. I knew that eventually I would want to write my stories, but first I ached to sing them. After several years of struggling in the New York scene, and singing only occasionally in various clubs, I came to realize that creating music meant that there had to be ears to hear it. Otherwise, my songs were nothing more than abstractions created in isolation, floating in the air with no place to land, to be made real.
I left New York, and in a round-about way (too complex to go into here), I finally ended up creating my stories in words and in pictures. But, like my music, my stories need Read More
Today, as Daniel and I drove home from Philadelphia, we were listening to NPR’s “All Things Considered,” when they announced that someone from the literary world died — not a writer but one of the most important publishers of our time.
I knew before they said any name that, sadly, one of my heroes – Barney Rosset – had passed away.
I first met Barney Rosset whenRead More
Yesterday, at the Digital Book World conference among the various sessions I sat in on was “Doing It on Their Own: Self-Publishing Authors Find Success.” Three of the speakers were Bella Andre , Elle Lothlorien and Bob Mayer, all of whom have had enviable success in ePublishing. In fact, Bella earned seven figures last year. Yes, you read that correctly. She earned over a million dollars from self-publishing her e-Book romance novels. Yikes!Read More