Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New year, new 365 days project

"A Face A Day" is finished, but I'm starting a spanking new 365 days project for 2014. Check it out at my new blog: One Good Thing 365/2014.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


"I sat in the gradually chilling room,
thinking of my whole past the way
a drowning man is supposed to,
and it seemed part of the present
part of the gray cold and 
the beggar woman without a face ..."

-- M.F.K. Fisher, 
The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition

Ceramic statue 12-31-13

"Th-th-th-that's all folks!"

-- Porky Pig

Monday, December 30, 2013

Memento mori

"All photographs are memento mori.
To take a photograph is to participate in another person's
(or thing's) mortality, vulnerability, mutability.
Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it,
all photographs testify to time's relentless melt."

-- Susan Sontag 

Self portrait 12-30-13

"It's being here now that's important.
There's no past and there's no future.
Time is a very misleading thing.
All there is ever, is the now.
We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it;
and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one."

-- George Harrison

"How did it get so late so soon?
 It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?"

-- Dr. Seuss

memento mori
"remember that you will die"

There's that beautiful song in the musical Rent, called "Seasons of Love." The entire cast sings over and over about the five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes that make up a year in everybody's life. They repeatedly ask the question "How do you measure" the minutes that comprise those years, and they offer some possibilities:

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife ...
In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died

They're all good suggestions. But I chose to measure the past year of my life in faces. 

And in doing so, along the way I simultaneously measured with pretty much all of the items on the Rent list: daylights, sunsets, midnights, cups of coffee, inches, miles, laughter, strife, truths, tears, burnt bridges, death. 

I don't know how significant my life is in the grand scheme of things. I'm guessing not very. When my life is finally over, probably aside from my family, I won't register on the radar much. The universe probably isn't going to buckle at the knees over the loss of a middle aged (former) insomniac from Ohio who spent her days in a small upstairs room taking pictures of herself and her toys. 

It's unlikely that any of my photographs from 2013 will wind up in a gallery, or a book, or a museum, or a store. My blog will never get a million hits. That was never my goal anyway. I'm not interested in where my photographs end up. I'm interested in where my photographs take me, whether they take me toward something I have yet to discover, or whether they take me away from something I need to leave behind.

As Susan Sontag said in today's top quote, "All photographs are memento mori." They're records and reminders of what we all have to lose, evidence of somethings and someones that will eventually be permanently erased. I guess my photographs represent that tiny, tinny voice inside us all that cries "I was here!" "I lived." "I loved." "I struggled." "I tried." "I kept going." "I learned." "I saw." "I cared." "I didn't give up when I was too exhausted to want to keep living." "I found a way to survive." "I wrestled the demons." "I stumbled upon joy."

It's been an unforgettable year.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart to anyone who took a few minutes out of their five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred to stumble along with me.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gold dust woman

"Pulvis et umbra sumus."
(We are but dust and shadow.)

-- Horace, The Odes of Horace

Self portrait 12-29-13

"We're all more than the person we show to everyone else.
At least I hope so.
Because I feel like there's more to me than that.
I just haven't had the chance yet to show it."

-- Jessi Kirby, Golden

"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."

-- Pablo Picasso

Saturday, December 28, 2013

End of days

"Clouds come floating into my life,
no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky."

-- Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

Self portrait 12-28-13

"And the sunset itself on such waves of ether
That I just can't comprehend
Whether it is the end of the day, the end of the world,
Or the mystery of mysteries in me again."

-- Anna Akhmatova, The Complete Poems

"'One day,' you said, 'I watched the sunset forty-three times!'
And a little later you added:
'You know, when one is that sad, one can get to love the sunset.'
'Were you that sad, then, on the day of the forty-three sunset?'
But the prince made no answer."

-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Friday, December 27, 2013


"The feeling is less like an ending than just another starting point."

-- Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

Self portrait 12-27-13

 "Everything comes to an end.
A good bottle of wine, a summer's day, a long-running sitcom,
one's life, and eventually our species.
The question for many of us is not that everything will come to an end but when.
And can we do anything vaguely useful until it does?"

-- Jasper Fforde, The Woman Who Died a Lot

I'm feeling the end of the year bearing down upon me, and with it, the end of this 365 days project.

I always have mixed feelings as I face the end -- sadness, loss, joy, peace, fear, excitement, irritation -- the usual emotional cocktail.

But this time around, mostly what I feel is deep and immense gratitude for a project that became a lifeline during a very difficult and challenging year.

As I finish out the next four days, I have to make a decision:
Take a break and finally catch up on my ironing?
Or do another 365 project?
And if so, what?
Make more faces?
Make something different?

Waiting for inspiration to strike as the year winds down and the clock ticks.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Silly old bear

"The first of my father's illusions was 
that bears could survive the life lived by human beings ..."

-- John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire

Miniature wood mannequin in a bear mask 12-26-13

"We invent what we love, and what we fear."

-- John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire