Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Writing isn't all we do. What is your second favourite activity?

... I love to take a photograph...

I too love gardening, but I've had to let go of that dream. I've figured out that weeds are smarter than me, resistance is futile, and the last tomato I grew, final tally, cost me $18. I still love my garden and get pleasure out of working at it, and still think it's beautiful -- IMHO -- but in an arid, windblown way that I'm sure my neighbours frown at.

With gardening out of the question, film-making would be another pursuit. I've made a lot of home videos, and they're exceptionally good -- again IMHO -- but to take it anywhere would be a 110% commitment, I think, whereas I only have about 15% to spare.

These days, photography and travel, as a unit, is my second favourite thing to do. I dabble, but accept that it's a side passion. I do think sometimes how sweet it would be to not care about writing, and boot my make-belief world to heck and focus on the view finder. I'd buy a caravan and travel the world looking for the shot. 

Would I escape self-doubt then?

Probably not. Taking pictures is like writing, or maybe any art form — there's the battle with the critic in the head that says: "Fool! The world does not need another photograph. No matter how spiffy your pic may be, just go on line and scroll through those peerless super-high-res wonder-shots: the planet as tapestry taken from the sky, a close-up of a rare Phantasmal poison-arrow frog, mid-leap, tongue grabbing an equally rare Eucharatid wasp (do not fact-check, I made up the names)— or how about raw photojournalistic captures from the very eye of the war zone? These matter. Your stupid picture of a tree does not."

There's no escape from self-doubt, so I've decided to give my inner critic a room of her own. She can nag, but I accept that she can be a real dumbass a lot of the time. My pictures and stories do matter. I believe this is so, because I am an audience too, and I've noticed that there are plenty of low-res, unprofessional photographs that speak to me louder than the most exquisite rare-killer-frog shots. Same with writing.  Not that my writing is low-res, but that's the gist. 

Writing can be a lonely pursuit, but there will be an audience that connects with your characters, story, style, tempo, and the message you may be wanting to get across -- so what I advise is, keep on keeping on! Do your best, enjoy as much of the journey as you can, and always write from the bottom of your heart.
What was the question? 

Oh, second favourite activity. For now, writing is my number one love, and photography is number two, and if the experts are wrong about only living once, maybe I'll get to try my hand at film-making next time around!!



Paul D. Marks said...

I really enjoyed this post, Rachel. You make a lot of good points, especially about keeping on. And I'd really like to try one of your $18 tomatoes some day...

Dietrich Kalteis said...

I get what you mean, Rachel. I've got side interests too, and sometimes I wish I had more time to pursue them.

RJ Harlick said...

Great advice, Rachel. "Enjoy as much of the journey as you can and write from the bottom of your heart" or words to that effect. Terrific post.

Susan C Shea said...

Yup, gardening is a dream that never quite materializes as we expect, although the hundred green tomatoes I'm looking at right now will drop the cost per unit this year! I love the frog photo and your free-of-fact-checking species identification. Thanks for a morning chuckle.

Unknown said...

It's been a long day, and nice to come home to some friendly comments. Thanks, all!