Today I am struggling to take the time to write. My father’s been in the hospital since Sunday night and I am trying to manage my parents logistics, manage a home remodel project that has left us without a kitchen for the past three months, and fulfill my teaching responsibilities as well as deliver on freelance projects that I was in the middle of when I got the urgent call about his health.
I am clinging to my commitment to post at least one thing per day in my journal. This hour I try to give myself each day has been increasingly important and I have been less willing to give it up for other things. So here I am scrambling to post something today.
As I reviewed the ideas that I have been working on it is clear I don’t have the bandwidth to move those essays forward so I chose to look through a portfolio I am working on publishing in book form soon and I was drawn to this image as we are still in the midst of winter and reminded me of John Steinbeck’s literature. I made this image on January 21st, 2013 while on a day trip around the Palouse with my now deceased photographer friend Jay Cousins.
Jay would reach out intermittently over the years and invite me out for a day of photographing together. I often declined the invitation because I was too busy but when I did accept I always ended up being filled with gratitude for our time together. Jay was gruff and belligerent in manner and yet thoughtful and deeply sentimental on the inside. He expressed himself with his images and with the occasional tear that would well up in his eye as he told you a story.
Anyway, it seems appropriate to write about this image because I have been reviewing Steinbeck’s work as background research for a short film screenplay I am writing for spring film production.
During the week between Christmas and New Year’s when Sarah and I were up at Priest Lake snuggled in by a fire, I listened to lectures about Steinbeck’s work. One lecture quoted Steinbeck’s Nobel Prize speech which I found really inspirational. In his speech he said,
“The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement.
Furthermore, the writer is delegated to declare and to celebrate man’s proven capacity for greatness of heart and spirit – for gallantry in defeat – for courage, compassion and love.
In the endless war against weakness and despair, these are the bright rally-flags of hope and of emulation.
I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man, has no dedication nor any membership in literature.”
I think I aspire to these some ideals in my photography as I am always pursuing to capture the indellible human spirit that endures all hardship and still aspires to become more than their circumstances.
I hope you had a good day today.