Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Everything goes

 “Following all the rules leaves a completed checklist.
Following your heart achieves a completed you.”

-- Ray Davis

"What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart?
 Does it see into me? Into us? Clearly or darkly? 
I hope it sees clearly because I can't any longer see into myself. 
 I see only murk."

-- Fred [voiceover], A Scanner Darkly

Self portrait 2 (scanner image) 6-4-13

Truth is, I can get a little bit rule-happy. 

Not so much with other people, but definitely with myself.
I like to (well, I don't know if I like to, but I seem to have a persistent compulsion to) create self-imposed structures and guidelines and boundaries and requirements for myself so that I can (I think) manufacture my own sense of accomplishment, and self-worth, and good-ness. 

I tend to pile up my rules (which change arbitrarily according to my whims, which doesn't make them very good rules) like a fortress of sand bags that I stack higher and higher as a break-wall along my shoreline, as a defense against erosion from the onslaught of  crashing waves, so that I don't crumble into the sea.

As long as I stick to my rules, I can make myself feel good-ish. Better, anyway, than when I don't stick to them. Breaking my own rules makes me feel like I failed myself. Like I've let myself down.

And yet ...

As much as I thrive on (who am I kidding, I barely survive on them) rules of my own making, I seem to also understand deep down that sometimes it is OK to stop frantically stacking the sandbags. Sometimes it is OK to look up, and out, to notice the view, to appreciate the sea because of its persistent beauty rather than fearing it because of its potential danger.

Except for the overriding rule that I must post a face a day, this blog is pretty much a rules-free zone.
Even though this is mostly a photography project, and even though most of the images I post are photographs, they don't have to be. Not technically.
There are no rules on what I can or can't use to make faces for this blog.
Anything goes.
Hell. Everything goes.

So today I gave my camera a day off and spent a morning shoving my head under the scanner lid.

Who says taking a photo requires a camera?
Who says a camera requires a lens?
Who says you can't face plant on the smooth cool glass of an office machine and let the blindingly bright light wand inch back and forth, search your face and render its ghostly image?

It felt a little bit like breaking the rules.
And it felt pretty good.