Thursday, March 29, 2012

Free Writing Realizations

This morning I sat down to do more free writing. Trying to get the flow going again. After feeling a jump in my heartbeat from seeing the blank screen, this is what finally began to flow. 

I'm sharing it in case it may help others out there dealing with the same issues.  Please pardon the lack of structure. It's free writing in it's truest sense.

Some days everything posted on the internet, well mostly everything, makes me want to cry and run away to a tiny cabin in the middle of no where. Today is one of those days. So, I limited myself to only an hour and have closed the window.

As connected as we seem to be via the internet these days, I feel like I'm craving connection more and more. Facebook and Twitter feel more and more like missed connections to me. I miss the personal emails! We used to have them. What I really miss are the personal letters. As hard as I try to get people to write them, it just doesn't seem to be working. Everyone is very busy. Society moves at such a fast pace these days.

A fellow writer and blogger wrote a post a few days ago about growing up just wanting to be noticed. To be seen. I grew up that way, too. I'd do anything for attention. Well, anything good for good attention. I had to be the perfect child. The one who made everyone's life easier and happier.

I just want to be noticed. To be remembered. To be encouraged to do more of the things that...other people enjoy? Wait a minute.

Is that what I really want? I should be encouraged to do the things that I enjoy. That encouragement should come from me. Here I sit, again, waiting for approval from the outside. Waiting for acceptance from the outside. Someone else to stop and say, “You're pretty awesome. Please keep writing and taking beautiful photographs.” That should be coming from me. Not from others.

How do I feel when I write?

I feel clarity, creativity, present, artistic, intelligent (most of the time) and free. Free to write whatever I choose. Free to speak my mind without editing. Specially in a free writing exercise where things come up that I didn't even know about until the words flow from my fingertips to the keys and to the pixelated page. Like what's happening now.

How do I feel when I take photos?

I feel like a keeper of those moments that I capture on my camera. I feel somehow responsible to show the world it's beauty, but that responsibility isn't a heavy burden. It's an honor. I feel passionate about capturing people in those beautiful moments that they often times miss. Those fleeting moments of happiness or peacefulness or love. I feel passionate about showing people the beauty I see in them. The beauty they may not see in themselves but really should see because they are beautiful.

This is my own encouragement. This is where it should come from. Me. I do these things because they make ME happy. I don't have to be that perfect child anymore. I can just do things because they make me happy. What a realization. One that I seem to have to come back around to time and time again. 

Someday I'll just "get it".

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Writers Block (Note To Self)

Wanting to write. I've been wanting to write but feel like I have nothing to say. The weight of my own inflicted overwhealm is heavy. Why do I put so much pressure on myself? To be like those other writers who wrote every free moment they had while working two jobs and who one day published an exceptionally successful book or piece of work?

Be like yourself, Wendi. The only person you have to compare yourself to is you. Write what comes from your heart. Write what you want to write and do it when you want to do it. Work is draining your energy right now. You don't have to write anything now. Just keep the flow going by doing this. Free writing. Writing whatever comes to mind. Get the flow going again.

Remember how you feel when the words flow and they sound perfect and feel perfect? Conveying what's going through your thoughts perfectly? Well, hasn't that almost always come from free writing? You have to start somewhere and this is as good a place as any.

Don't shoot for perfection. Just let it flow. Let it flow. Let it flow. Let it flow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Say Please Book Reviewers Wanted!

Check out Sinclair's post for all of the info on how to be a reviewer for Say Please, the book that contains my very first published short story!

I'd love to hear what you think of my story, too!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Sense of Space

For the past few weeks I've been craving a sense of space.  A corner of the world where I can spread out and write or edit photos or sit and organize my thoughts. 

Growing up, I had a desk in the corner of my room where I spent most of my time with my headphones on and a pencil in my hand.  I mostly sketched things back then.  It was my own escape from the world.  A safe space.  Comfortable.  It was my creative space.

Only recently have I realized how important that space was for me.  For years I believed that I just didn't need much and for one reason or another, I haven't created or asked for this sort of space for myself over the last 7 years.  While it's true that I do have my own apartment at the moment, I have given that space to my son while he transitions from being a college student to a working man.  These days, I spend the majority of my time at my girlfriend's house.

Since coming to this realization, I've felt the craving for that space more and more.  Even though my girl and I aren't technically moved in together (but seem to be headed that way), I sat down and asked her for what I needed.  She was incredibly receptive, understanding and supportive. 

Last night, the space that you see in the photo is what I came home to after work.  It may seem like just a desk in a room to you but to me it's so much more than that.  It's my foundation.  A space to reflect and create.  A safe space to let my creative process flow.  It's also a space in her home for me and, as she put it in her note to me, a space in her heart. 

I'll admit it right here and right now, when I saw this space all set up and welcoming, this huge wave of emotion came over me and I started to cry.  "I am worthy and important enough to be given this space", were the words that traveled through my thoughts as I stood there with tears rolling down my cheeks.

To say that I am grateful feels too much like an understatement.  This gesture, this space in her heart and her home touches me at my core and as I sit in the space writing this I am once again overwhelmed with emotion. 

This is my space.  I am home.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Butch Unity

After the Butch Voices Conference in 2010, one of Portland's community members founded the Butch Crew PDX Meet-Up.  A monthly gathering in a safe space where Butches can find unity.  You may not think that the Butches of today need unity but we do.  Well, let me speak for myself and say that I do. 

The meet-up started with an open floor in case there was anything anyone wanted to talk about then we started answering questions from the book Dagger: On Butch Women.  Questions like who was your Butch role model and what's the best Butch name.  Great conversations came out of the answers to those questions.  I learned a lot during that hour and a half with Butches who were my age (the fabulous forties!) or older. 

Did you know there was a Butch meet-up here in Portland back in the '70's?  They called it the Butch Wrap.  It was formed to create unity because back then Butches took the brunt of the hatred that was spewed towards our community.  Simply because they were easier to recognize as lesbians.  They needed a place to go where others would understand the daily trials they were subject to.  A place to talk about it, find unity, find support and a place to talk about girls.  Because, what Butch wouldn't want to talk about girls.  Am I right?

I realized during this meet-up that there is so much more history to our community then I have come to know.  It seems like so much of it hasn't been recorded or may have been recorded but I don't know where to find it, which I would like to remedy.  Butch history, or herstory, is a part of our community history that I'd really like to explore more.

This realization also gave me even more motivation to write my own Butch story to add to the somewhat small collection out there.  It's been something that's been on my mind for several years now.  I've let the overwhelm of it take over and I think I've finally found a solution to that by breaking it down into essays.  Much like S. Bear Bergman's book Butch Is A Noun and many of Ivan Coyote's books, two of my Butch brothers.

As for the Butch Crew PDX Meet-Up, I most definitely found unity there.  A unity I've been searching for ever since the Butch Voices Conference.  A place to feel safe, heard and understood.  I'll definitely be in attendance next month.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Great News!

Belinda loved the head shots and is using this one for her column in PQ Monthly!

Excellent!  Who else wants head shots? 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My First Shot At Head Shots

Today I had the pleasure of taking my first venture into head shot photography with Portland's own queen of comedy Belinda Carroll!  Fortunately, she's had experience with posing for photographs so it was an easy and relaxed shoot.

Unfortunately, the weather didn't want to cooperate with us (funny how that happens here in Portland) so we took the shoot inside next to a large window in order to take advantage of the natural diffused light.

I shot the photos in RAW and after spending some time developing them in Photoshop Lightroom this is one of the shots that I think turned out the best.

I have a lot to learn in Lightroom and am learning as I go, which can be frustrating at times.  But, I'm having lots of fun with it!

Let me know what you think!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hip Chicks do Wine - Wine Club Party

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These are shots from the Hip Chicks do Wine Wine Club party that took place last weekend. They wanted some event space and event photos for their internet sites. I haven't photographed many events so I saw this as a practice opportunity.

I delivered the CD of these photos to them today. Hopefully they'll like a few of them and get some use out of them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photography Passions

I feel like I finally made a breakthrough around my photography.  Lately, I feel much more confident around it and I can feel the flames of my passion for it burning at an intense heat. 

I've spent days poring over photos on the internet, reading tips and "how to"s, learning how to be more in control of the shots I take by learning the technical aspects of my camera, watching YouTube videos on all kinds of lighting, and organizing my photos.  I finally purchased Adobe Lightroom and am learning the ins and outs of it, as well.

A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email to all of my friends in the area asking if they would be willing to model for me, let me take photos of their family, portraits of them or whatever they were wanting to do over the next six months so that I can work on taking more photographs of people.  It's a part of photography that I haven't worked on much and I am finding that I am much more interested in it these days.  What better way to learn how to do it then by just doing it?  So, I'm just going to jump into the fire and learn, learn, learn.  Thankfully, I have a lot of wonderful friends who are willing to help me out.  So far I've got head shots, family and baby photos, and engagement photos to do!

This past weekend I spent an evening photographing at the Hip Chicks Winery here in Portland. Saturday night was their wine club party and I was asked to take some photos of their event space during the party.  I had a great time doing it and didn't feel my normal shyness about wondering around taking photos of the people and the space.  At one point during the evening, one of the guests stopped to ask me if I was a professional.  I told him that it's more of a hobby and passion of mine but I don't earn a living doing it, unfortunately.  He told me that he was in the video end of the business for many years then complemented me in a round about way by saying he was watching me do non-professional things like not taking every shot from eye level.  I told him that I liked to get different perspectives on things.  He said that was a very good thing and to keep it up.  I smiled and said, "I will!  Thank you!"  The compliment felt good and was a definite boost to my confidence. 

One of the other aspects of photography that I really enjoy is macro photography.  Since I am unable to afford a macro lens at the moment, I purchased some macro filters for my kit lens.  It's certainly not the same as having a macro lens but it's an alternative to the cost.  I'd like to try and do a series of shots titled "Patterns In Nature" for a show I'll be doing in May at the Hip Chicks Wine Tasting Room in Newberg, Oregon so this weekend I played with them for a bit. 

The Crocuses are blooming at my girlfriend's house so they were my test subjects. How cool is it that I can now watermark my photos, too?!

Needless to say, I'm feeling a bit obsessed lately about my "new found" passion for photography. Hence the reason why you haven't seen me around for a bit.  It's for a very good reason.  Hopefully, you'll be seeing more of my photographs soon!