(There are two things I never want to live without: coffee and cameras. These are two things I’ve made my fictional characters live without. They say you have to make your characters suffer. I think I could almost get away with not having them get shot at and tortured after forcing them to drink only herb and root teas and depriving them of the pleasures of I-phones.)
I can’t believe how important cameras have become to me. I say that and immediately remember hours spent lugging my barbie dolls around Lithia park to find great spots to set them up for photo shoots with my barely more than a paper box Vivitar camera. I think I won the camera in a drawing or something. It was cheap and crappy and I loved it. Then I upgraded at some point to a slightly sturdier version (maybe a Pentax or something?) and took photo shoots of myself and my friends dressing up. I still have, and get pleasure from, all these early photographic efforts. Then in high school my dad gave me his Canon camera, the one he lugged with him to Thailand and India when he was 18 years old. The kind you need a light meter to use well. I never did use it very well. I took a photography class with that one and did lots of dark room time.
(I just deleted a huge chunk of distressingly boring text all about the agonizing two days I’ve spent trying to decide which point and shoot to buy to replace my beloved SD850. If you want all those details, please tell me, I’ll write up a separate post just for you and we can discuss it!)
Learning to use a new camera is like starting a new love affair.
I just bought the S95 camera and immediately spent 24 hours freaking out because I thought I might have made a terrible mistake. (I haven’t). I am amazed, even after years of informative personal experience that ought to have crushed such amazement, at the level of obsessiveness my mind can reach over the smallest things in life like the question of exactly what I need from my cameras, the perfect number of cameras to have (two), and how I can (without cessation) read the technical specs of almost every single camera on the market just to make sure I have the best option.
I’m all worn out from the mental efforts. I didn’t even start my shift last night until 6pm. All because I couldn’t think about anything else until I was sure I didn’t need to return the S95 (I don’t). My child never got out of his clothes. I think it’s safe to say that the writing was on the wall back when I dressed brunette Darci up in her negligee and posed her against the fancy dry concrete fountain with sad Ken and conducted a very serious photo shoot without caring about the baldly staring passersby. I remember feeling brilliant when I moved the shoot to the little waterfall near the stairs that lead up to the Shakespearean theatre. There were swans. There was the verdant spread of cool green. There was the pounding summer sun reaching into the shadows. My bicycle must have been tossed to the side nearby. Unless I walked with my plastic entourage through the streets of softened asphalt to do my shoot.
I took some great photographs yesterday and something malfunctioned in the transfer from the camera to the computer. I erased them from the camera immediately, because although I’m a slob in my housekeeping, I’m tidy in my digital life. I can’t get those pictures back. I can try to recreate them. Lost pictures are like lost words, it’s best to let them go and do something fresh and new. You can never completely recreate that great poem you thought of while waiting in line at Winco witnessing the circus life there. You can never go back and shouldn’t spend much time mourning.
My obsessive nature is almost as uncomfortable for me as it is for my family. Yesterday was pissy. My head wouldn’t let go of the digital bone it was shaking around and by the end I was ready to tear heads off of bodies, throw things through windows, and other dramatic expressions of a head too full and a life spinning away from my control.
Single parenting for a week exacerbates any extant rage or frustrations. Once again, may I salute all you phenomenal single parents out there? I am a spectacular parenting wimp.
What saved me from bursting into flames yesterday was taking another private Kung Fu forms lesson. When I sell my novel and it’s made into a movie and the royalties start paying off I will spend my wild riches on private lessons every week. I know three full forms now: Wushu basic stance, 8 chain punch, and The Hammer. I just started learning Yet Yi which requires me to do a power yell. Yell hell. I’m not comfortable yelling out loud. Once you start yelling like that, what’s to say I’ll ever be able to stop?*
I hope my knees don’t fall off my legs before I finish learning Yet Yi.
(I just deleted self deprecatory comment because it has no place in my forms journey.)
On my way to the Kung Fu school I was over-full of stress. My head was in a severe mess. Then for one hour I didn’t think about my life for a single second. I didn’t think about what I can’t do, what I can’t be, what I don’t know, or what I’m afraid to know. For one hour my Sifu said “do this” and I did what he told me to do. I did a power yell. I did the fancy-ass jump/slide thing that seems an improbable move for a fat 41 year old to do- I did it. For one hour I tried to remember to breath. For one hour I imagined how The Hammer form could be used in real combat. Everything else slipped away.
That’s meditation. I find it very hard to achieve that here at home. Which is why if I can ever afford it that will be my big extravagance. It’s worth it. That’s the kind of meditation you can’t achieve with writing or photography or medication or therapy or cake. I have some serious ground to cover to reach some personal goals I won’t let go of in spite of how impossible they are appearing at the moment. I don’t truly believe in impossibilities. I have some serious personal problems to overcome. I’m getting at it in my own way, my own time. So I keep asking myself to be patient and every day try again. Try again. And practice forms. Dig holes in the garden. Talk fierce walks. Ride my bicycle. No efforts we make for our own well being and the well being of others is ever wasted.
When I came home from the forms lesson I was much more relaxed. Walked right into chaos and the need to clean the kitchen and cook some food and feed my kid and start my entire work shift and put the camera question to rest. Life doesn’t change because you meditate. Life doesn’t stop being challenging or getting in your face and up in your rage.
But let me tell you something, if you can do 8 chain punch for an hour, you can handle anything.
*Just saw a Simpson episode in which Homer starts yelling and can’t stop, so obviously this fear is completely rational.