I went to bed last night with huge Monday plans. My time in The South is closing in soon and the time seems to speed, the Grinch stole like a week and a half with the holidays it seems, I have had since June, and I have still so much to do. More research at libraries (most of which are closed a lot right now of course) and more museums, etc. And a lot about town, in the city, around it, and in cemeteries and like…all over. I typically do a lot of walking with my camera in a place to A. Enjoy and have fun and marvel at the architecture and gardens, B. To capture my travels C. To capture images for my storyboards and so forth. This how I write. As a writer, photos really do help me. And being around town I also sit and write. I take a notebook typically for the area or for the specific project I have at the moment (currently my DeepSouth5). I listen to people talk, their voices, accents, language, discussions (FYI, being on a bus and listening to peoples new years plans and NY of past and going to church drunk is pretty interesting). And I breath it in. Heck…I can sit and marvel at a tree for hours by itself. I might take a few photos. then sit and just…be. Then write what comes. Then even sketch a little (not a talent of mine at all but something I have begun doing as a different mode of Being, traveling, exploring, and describing, and seeing). This. Is. How. I. Write.
I explore and discover as little by internet as possible when I am in a place. I will prefer to walk and find by myself, to talk and ask questions and learn of a place the things that I could likely Google. But then…when you google mayors of certain cities you also see their “image” and not what the people actually feel. And then exploring the demographics of that even deeper can easily take me off track of DeepSouth5 but put me into my articles and writings of politics and social justice, even economy and travel and more. Mostly, I like to meet the people and know them and their thoughts and feelings of places persons and things. I learn things that Google can not teach me. Nuance plays a large role.
This is how I write.
Google can paint one entirely different picture of a place. To listen to some…all the good places/businesses/safeness are white. And all of the black people are in the newspapers committing crimes…this is a very sad truth of what image can come across. And a very false truth. I will discuss that more later because it so very deserves the time.
In The south you can’t travel, much less be a writer or photographer, and not see the social part of any city and all that that word might mean. If you’ve managed…then you are truly gifted with blinders. I don’t find all gifts to be virtues.
A recent overheard topic that stands out as I was crossing a street and nearby there was a group of women of color, one woman says to another “No, that’s jaywalking. We can’t jay walk” The other woman says “she’s doing it”, and the first woman says “She’s white. We can’t do what she can do.” She didn’t even mean for me to overhear this. She wasn’t being mean or rude. She was speaking truth to her her friend and protecting a woman who still, in 2018, can not do as I can do with my white skin. And it broke my heart to pieces.
I feel like I have so much more to do. Here. For DeepSouth5. And for everything. For those women wanting to cross the street. In 2018 as it breaths its last breath. More than my 2019 calendar can hold.
Today I had plans to take my camera and walk the streets of an area and my notebook and sit on park benches and write and the library to check a few more things off my list. Writing about a particular time and place and going and seeking that place and learning about it in that time.
…And then I woke up to rain. Heavy rain. Enough to make me lounge a little longer in bed with my pup curled up. (He doesn’t even get out of bed in the morning until I am at the door with his leash in hand.)
And I realized while walking him that this was New Year’s Eve. I hate crowds. I hate drunk drivers. I hate unsafe situations. I hate knowing that this is a heightened night of crowds for those types of terrorist gunmen who go out to kill people in the name on nationality, white skin, sexuality “pureness”, and God.
No thanks. I am staying home. Plus half of the places I need to go will be closed. And the rain falls heavy. And I have enough coffee before I need to head to the store next.
Even with feeling that time is slipping away too quickly and my To Do list grows. I will check off things I can do from home and safety and comfort and dryness and warmth….realizing that not everybody has that. Realizing that as I look toward the new year with my grand plans, my full editorial calendar already set for the entire year with work, and promise, and food, and travel, and love, and fun, and experience….that there are those who don’t even know what day it is…or that it is only one more day to be survived. Those who see no hope, who held on until they were too tired. Surviving is exhausting. I know that. I still to this day am recovering from a childhood of surviving. There isn’t often energy to work toward…. forward.
I have to work very hard to seek that energy myself even now. I have been saved by many second chances. I hope for second chances (even if it is the 100th second chance) for those who need it this year. Tonight as the calendar page turns. And I hope that in the finishes and accomplishments of my own energy and work that one day I can help give those second chances. Little by little.
I was just discussing role models and mentors. People and things to learn from, admire, and shape after bit by little bit. Lessons in life to learn…and things to learn NOT to do, or to be like, too. How to fix mistakes, not make them, and move on from them, make something of them.
What makes us. Shapes us. Creates us.
And what we do with that is us.
Going into the New Year this is on my mind.
Who we shape ourselves to be…what life shaped us to be.
I feel like the start is the clay you are, the type you come from.
I feel like next is the hands that shape you.
I feel like with that is the power of the wheel that spins you.
I feel next is the shape that the clay takes between all of the hands and the spinning wheel and the type of clay and how much water is added or not and the conditions that still change was what The Plan, what was In Mind. How that even underneath the direction of hands, the clay still finds some of its own form.
There is the hardening, setting parts of life. Those things that set into you. Ingrain into you. Make you who you really are. What is going to stay with you.
There is a glaze that can create a barrier or make you shine, give you strength, or all of the above.
There is a paint which adds color, design, decor, shape, change, flare, personality, and own self.
There is the shelf upon which it can blend into the background on, or stand out upon.
There are the cracks which form over time to break us down, our weakened moments. Which all add a little of who we are and the character that makes us us.
There are the hands that we pass through, the lives, the mantles, the voices we hear, the places we’ve been, and those places we’ve been put. Not all are places w wish to be. Not all places are near a window where we can feel the sunshine through. Some times we are like within a box stored within a forgotten attic or a cold basement. Sometimes we just kinda move through life not getting the chance to really be US. To show our beauty.
Some hands will throw us, shatter us, break us. Neglect us. Put us in our wrong places. In our not best places. Less prominent less shining places. Hide the best of what we are. Some hands will misuse us. Be careless with us. Move us around like we don’t really matter and have little or no value. Forget about us. Mistreat us. Pack us away.
Some hands will pick up the pieces of us. Repair us. Match our pieces where they belong. Glue us back together. And some even bond our breakage with gold. Some hands will save each and every of our little pieces as if in a jewel box, honoring the memory of us. Some will treat us with love and tenderly and care for us.
Sometimes we collect dust. Sometimes we don’t shine bright. Sometimes we are admired. Sometimes someone knows our worth and sometimes our price.
Sometimes we get broken. And sometimes we get put back together. sometimes perhaps with a little chip left here and there, a wider crack, a little less left to us than what was there before, and sometimes that glue that binds us stands out. And sometimes what binds us is gold. Sometimes our golden cracks make us shine more pure, more brightly, more beautiful than ever before.
Over time we only become more valuable. Stronger. Beautiful. Colorful. Cracks and all.
Here is to New Year’s 2019. 365 new chances. 365 Do Over’s. 365 second chances. 365 First tries. 365 days to shine. 365 possibilities. 365 days to discover. 365 days to start anew. 365 days to wake up and be in awe of what this Earth and Life give us.