So fellow travelers, one of the things I value highly from being part of a creative community are the moments when one person’s contribution generates another work. We call it the ripple effect. Jackie Campbell, a friend and fellow haiku writer (she posts one almost daily in her thoughtful blog) shared a story with a photo that caught my attention right away.
Photo courtesy of Jackie Campbell
The image matched a haiku I wrote a few months ago but had not posted because I had yet to capture an image to match the words.
Most of my haikus are created out of the experience embedded in an image I capture, so the visuals usually preceed the words. This haiku came out of some challenges another friend was experiencing. When I composed it, I sent her a copy on a hand decorated card and kept the original words in my blog drafts waiting to snap the right photo to go with it. Then this morning while wrestling with another post that felt heavy and awkward, I came across Jackie’s candid story and photo. Often when I feel I’ve hit creative quicksand, I will take a break and scroll through my WordPress Reader’s feed or check in on Instagram if only to lift my mood. Most of the time savoring the creativity of others not only raises my spirits, it sparks my own process and I get back into the flow of writing, just as Jackie’s piece gave me the boost I needed today.
Jackie’s honesty about feeling daunted by the process of learning to “get out of manual” mode when using her camera reminded me of how easy it is to doubt our ability to acquire new skills, particularly when technology is a component of the tools we are using. I’ve had my digital slr camera for several years now and there are still settings I have not ventured to experiment with. In fact on my last trip to the Pacific Northwest I chose to leave that camera behind and rely on my phone for photos. With trips planned to two national parks, it was an almost unthinkable choice, one made only because I know I will return to those those parks again in the next few years.
On recent trips I have felt burdened by the bigger camera and noticed most of the photos I like best were ones I captured with my phone. This trip I felt more present in the adventures I had, letting the experience really sink in without the requirement (admittedly self imposed) of capturing it “on film.” There were only a handful of moments when I missed the capabilities of my dslr and the depth of experience I gained by being present without it were well worth the trade off of less impressive shots taken by phone.
Mt Olympus from Hurricane Ridge in Olypmic Natl Park. One of the moments I missed my dslr and extra lenses.
The fear we have of not creating work that is “good” enough, not getting it “right” comes from self imposed expectations. We just don’t give ourselves the benefit of making mistakes which are after all how we learn to do things better. Our expectations and tendency to compare ourselves to others not only in creative endeavors, but in many, too many, areas of life, fabricate quagmires of doubt. This is why I am grateful for the creative community I am part of. Encouragement, advice and even an inspirational challenge from time to time (more on that in an upcoming post) are lifelines along a sometimes rocky journey to creative growth and deeper self expression. We may not always walk side by side, but we are never truly alone. It’s a blessing beyond any measure of perfection.
Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.