Today the high was 40 degrees. Considering the vortex of temperatures that us Vermonters have been dealing with, 40 is pretty much summer time. I wore a hoodie and a not so thermal (fake) leather jacket. It was an incredible feeling to not wear four layers under a winter coat.
I went for a very long walk to pick up some film and even though I was breaking a tiny sweat I thought a lot about how long I can live here. I also thought about my friend in India, Traci in Texas and another friend that is going to Mexico followed by Costa Rica in the incredibly near future.
(Jealousy was an instant reaction). --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is one of the coldest winters I have ever been through. The ice and negative temperatures, I am fairly certain, have begun to drive the New England population insane.
However, this has not been my worst winter.
I can't ever remember being as productive last year; or the year before that; or the year before that! I did not get out snowshoeing or skating like I had promised myself (though *chuckle chuckle* I probably still have plenty of time) but I have been keeping my body in constant motion and creatively I feel like I've just leapt off a diving board.
I have been shooting: a lot. It was almost like as soon as I started feeling the winter blues my body and brain jolted itself into being consumed with working on myself rather than self pity and laziness. It's a really nice change of pace.
For years I have felt and expressed how stale I'd feel by my surroundings, my city, my lack of social network and a lack of ideas that I didn't bother trying to photograph nearly anything. This winter I have somehow managed, on nights that are -17, to fly to a note book and write down every little creative thought running through my head.
I've been exploring more. I've been reaching out to people, I've been forcing myself to ________, I've been getting excited, I've been planning *dun dun dun*
I'm at a point of such ..... joy ...... where I am honestly going to miss the snow and its capabilities to reflect the light (everywhere!) to give me what I normally have to hunt.
A little melancholy sneaks in though when I wonder how long I can manage this. That's when I have to tell myself, "as long as a fucking want."
Maybe this is a new shell I am breaking out of? I feel it. I'm pretty sure I've been feeling it. Much like how a caterpillar cocoons itself to break free as a butterfly. I am not there though and I hope I never will be. Then I'll not have these great things to look forward to.
I pass by this poster every day. There is something jarring. Something familiar. Something comforting yet lonely, nostalgic, frustrating and heart breaking about that gaze. That gaze reminds me of [ ].
When I finally decided to stop and take this photograph I thought I was going to lose everything in my stomach. It was the longest I'd made contact with those eyes. I realized I will never see [ ] in person. Ever again. I'm reacting viscerally thinking about 'ever'.
• I feel like I needed a new notebook. A new thing to start a new thing. • I get nervous that I don't know everyone's name yet, but they all say, "hello Ashleigh!" • ...but then she called it a self-depreciating lie. • I may have a hangover headache but I can try to organize my space if not my life right now. • I feel like I still look like a child because I, in fact, feel like a child. And not the youthful, young at heart shit. My face -my physical face- still harbors all the insecurities, second guessings, unassurance, fear, confusion and shyness; of a child. • I love that there's love here. Positive exchanges that continue beyond the initial contact. But I can't help but feel like mentioning, "I was there, too." • Many of my monsters have not attacked me creatively but personally. • I don't think I was terrible today but when I left I felt like a fucking asshole (albeit, inspired. Like I do every time I leave the studio). • A slave to my devices: indeed. I guess I really need to go home and get my notebook so I can get down to business. • Sometimes when I'm sitting on the couch I notice my posture and try to make an effort to not look like a humanoid blob. I wonder if he suffers from insecurities as well? • I feel like my face is becoming clearer. I looked in the mirror today and I saw more of a whole instead of pieces missing or covered in fog. • There would obviously be a lot of attention paid in our direction and I don't know how traumatic that would be for me on a first outing with this man...but if he's serious about doing it, I suppose I have to. Don't I? • Can you believe that I always get the feeling of, "I don't want to do this" right before I photograph someone?! Always. Once I find and feel my flow though I am fine. I feel strong. But what a sensation for a photographer to have. • When he came into the bedroom I feigned sleepiness and acted groggy. We talked a bit, I grabbed a slice of cheese, ate it then talked more with him while laying in bed. I really wish that I could get myself to sleep at a decent hour. • What will it take to truly inspire change in me? I want to be like so many different people but I know that I can only be me. But this is no where near the [best] me I can be. • I guess I am jealous of her magnetism. Even I still find her perfect in her flaws and can't help but put her on a pedestal. Sometimes I wonder what she thinks of me. I am too nice, too agreeable; a coward? • ...but once I get started I get weak and can't help myself. • I know the problem is mine, too. I let her take over and I do become the wallflower. Completely unspectacular. • I dissect faces a lot. I dissect my face a lot because of (or maybe not because of) photography, I do this. • I am so predictable I find it scary and disgusting. • Is not writing in you daily really a detriment to my emotional well being? Could this really be so potent? • And I'm done writing about this but I don't feel purged! Maybe I wrote too nicely about everything? Maybe I should kick and scream with my words and act like a total lunatic before I feel better??! • A stream of consciousness is less poetic than I think people make it out to be. Even saying it or reading it: stream-of-consciousness. It sounds like something complicatedly intellectual when really it's all just the thoughts and fluff in our heads. Maybe I don't have enough fluff. • As an aside I wish I could be more like her ... She has a drive, a joy, a beauty that I wish I had. Sigh. • ...that made that experience culminate and transfer to the photographs? Both, most likely. I got quiet shots of someone who's not a leader. I wasn't the master of my own images. • It's funny how I am still slightly mimicking even though I am alone. I guess it's because I always treat myself like someone is watching. • There's nothing quite as motivating as a wasted day; and I've had 4. • My best responses are when I'm not actually being confronted with them directly. I like to be given time with them. Maybe just to make them sound good but there is a great element of wanting to be honest, too. • At the beginning of my [pages] I thought, "I have so many thoughts and ideas all day everyday. Fuck 3 pages, I'll be able to do 5!" Yet, here I am sipping my tea and eating a yogurt and the only thing I have to say, after saying how I can say so much, is: I really need to drop off this roll of film. • Sometimes the good chemistry is not enough to sustain a good relationship. Sometimes the chemistry isn't enough to destroy another good relationship. • I have to figure out the definitions of love I have for certain people. • I was in Europe! A thing that I have dreamed about since I was little! It didn't hit me in my gut the way I thought it would. While I was there it hardly hit me at all. It was Europe! It was Portugal!! But it's still just a place where people are just being people and living their lives. I did have a couple of moments when my head would whirl and I had to breath and realize where I was. I didn't feel a significant realization till we landed back home. • I am going to be replaced. That makes me sad, blank and angry. • I am fine with 30 but so far I have had 2 moments of paralyzing stillness when I realize my passage of time, my life and what I did not expect it to be. • Am I Ash. Yes. Am I as wishy washy?
I'm writing this at 11:44 pm thinking about how this time last year I was in Texas visiting one of my favorite people on the planet.
Tomorrow is Traci Lynn Matlock's birthday. Tomorrow has been on my mind more than I think she realizes for how sad I am that I am not able to celebrate and spend time with her on this day, this year.
We met many years ago after a random, wine encouraged message I sent over facebook. Even now we've still only seen each other in a physical plane a handful of times. Each visit and each interaction we have makes more potent the love (friendship wise and collaborative) that I have for this beautiful lady: the inside and the out.