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Archive for March, 2011

Introspective

I have finally made it out the other side from the injection hell, and oh, what a hell it was this time.  I’m guessing that because they did five sights instead of the usual two or three, it took me far longer to recover than normal.  But, I am at last on the mend and able to do normal things like driving and picking up my cats to kiss their noses.  I meant normal for me.

I’ve been able to do a bit of shooting on my off time, which are all shoots I’m excited to share with you.  Some of them have made it up on to Flickr already, but much is still coming.

But the news!  I have several announcements today, which I’ve been anxious to be able to talk about.  Let’s start with the biggest one.  I am starting an online photography class.  I’m calling it Introspective: A Photographic Quest.  It will be an eight-week, on-line course in which you will use your camera to explore your inner self. This is not a class about camera basics such as f-stops, apertures and shutter speeds…although links to helpful technical articles will be provided. This class is about digging deep into your core and capturing what you find there in photographs.

Each week, you will receive assignments challenging you to delve into your secrets, fears and joys. And you will share what you create with other explorers via an exclusive Flickr group, sharing, comparing and connecting with people from around the world.

In the most basic sense, this class is about self portraits. Because, whether you choose to stay behind the camera or actually put yourself in the photographic frame, your images will reveal something about who you are and the discoveries you make as you proceed through this course. You will grow as a person and as an artist. You will celebrate and express the real you.

Photographic experience is not required and neither is expensive equipment. All you need is a camera and a desire to express yourself in new, honest and profound ways.

 

Leech

Leech: an example of the kind of photo you might take in Introspective.

Interested?  Want to sign up?  Early birds who sign up before April 12th will get a special rate of $60 for the entire eight-week class.  After April 12th, the cost goes up to the regular $75.  The class begins on May 2nd!  Visit my site to sign up!

 

* * * * *

That is the biggest news, but not the only.  I entered an online self portrait contest which I am very excited about!  If you win the grand prize you get an entire year of your life paid for so you can completely concentrate on your art.  Oh my… I can’t even tell you how much I want to win 🙂  There is also a People’s Choice Award, which is a pretty sweet prize in an of itself.  The person with the most votes wins that one, so if you enjoy my work, I would very much appreciate it if you would take a moment and vote for me!  There is no registration required, simply click on the number of stars you feel I deserve.  You can vote once every 24 hours, so feel free to do so as often as you would like 🙂  Thank you very much for your support!

* * * * *

Lastly, I am very excited that I have met and worked with yet another Model Worth Working With.  Her name is Aly Darling, and she is a darling.  Our first few conversations went about like this: “I’m really into XZY Obscure Painter.”  “You are?  I am too!”  and “I found this poem I wanted to base a photo off of.” “That’s one of my favorite poems!”  That theme repeated in endless varieties.  So not only did it turn out we had an astonishing amount in common personally, we meshed artistically even more so.  Aly has a certain solemnity in her eyes, despite her youth, which makes her able to emote effortlessly.  And she has the knowledge of how to move in front of the camera which usually only comes with years of dance and modeling.  She is a joy to photograph.

And in addition to becoming another of my go-to models for my endless projects, she is also a genuine, wonderful friend, a trait which is even rarer to find than talent in modeling.  That trifecta of modeling talent, similar artistic goals and friendship is what makes the absolute best models for me.  Here’s a little taste of what we’ve done so far, with much more to come.

 

Hope Is A Thing With Feathers

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Glorious

It’s almost 2 am and I can’t sleep.  Sleep problems are, of course, not unusual for me, but when my normal bedtime is in the 9-10 o’clock range, 2 is really quite extreme.

I’m taking quite a bit longer to recover from my injections than I anticipated, and am generally feeling quite crappy.  Let’s leave it at that.

But the reason I can’t sleep tonight is because of something lovely.  Something wonderful in fact.

A few days ago, I completed a photo I had been looking forward to creating for a long time.  It was based on Peter S. Beagle’s immortal novel The Last Unicorn.  One of the main characters of the book is a magician named Schmendrick.  He’s not a very good magician, though he would like nothing more than to be a real magician at last.  When his master was training him, he saw great potential in Schmendrick, but also knew it would take him much longer than his natural life to reach it, so he made Schmendrick immortal.  The spell was cast in such a way that whenever Schmendrick finally became a true magician, his immortality would fall from him.

Schmendrick has lived a very long time knowing exactly what he wants to be and being unable to attain it.  It is a long and frustrating existence.  Many things happen to him on his journey in the book and towards the end, yes, he does become a real magician.  Peter S. Beagle writes of that moment:

Wonder and love and great sorrow shook Schmendrick the Magician then, and came together inside him and filled him, filled him until he felt himself brimming and flowing with something that was none of these. He did not believe it, but it came to him anyway, as it had touched him twice before and left him more barren than he had been. This time, there was too much of it for him to hold; it spilled through his fingers and toes, welled up equally in his eyes and his hair and the hollows of his shoulders. There was too much to hold — too much ever to use; and still he found himself weeping with the pain of his impossible greed. He thought, or said, or sang, I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.

To Be So Full

I felt wondrously happy with the photo when it was done.  I posted it on my Flickr page and added a link to it from my Facebook, as I usually do.

And you know what?  Peter S. Beagle himself saw my Facebook post and commented on it. He said, “This is amazing.”

He liked it.  I could not feel more fulfilled if god himself tapped me on the shoulder and told me I’d done a good job.  Peter S. Beagle is a god to me.

I never really expected to hear from him about it.  Those three words of his made me more satisfied than I can express.

I must make myself go to sleep soon.  I will feel utterly wretched tomorrow.  But it is a beautiful thing to lose sleep over.

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Poking And Proding

I survived my injections yesterday, and they actually went quite smoothly.

I was going to a new surgery center, with new doctors I hadn’t met yet, and while they had been highly recommended by my pain specialist, I still felt a little anxious since I hadn’t met them yet. But I have to say, the entire staff there was INCREDIBLY nice and helpful. They seemed like the actually cared about me and their other patients, instead of treating us like obstacles to be gotten around, as other centers have.

I had one main nurse looking after me who called me “sweetie” and “honey” a lot. The surgeon himself, Dr. Seltzer (his name, I thought, was a good omen, since it made him sound cheery and bubbly) looked astonishingly like Maynard James Keenan, and went out of his was to be nice to me also. The anesthesiologist looked strikingly like Terrence Stamp, and while he was quieter, also seemed genuine.

The worst part for me is always when I’m in the OR, people are fussing around and with me, and I’m just waiting for them to give me the sedative and put me out; and I never know exactly when it’s coming. I know it will come, but I’m anxious until I feel it start to work. After my last injections, when I woke up part way through and was awake enough to feel everything they were doing, I really, really wanted to just be OUT. But finally I felt someone fiddling with my IV line, and something cold entering my veins, happily realized I was getting rapidly drowsy… and I was out.

I came to as they were wheeling me back into the recovery room, and as usually happens, I was tremendous pain. But when you’re just waking up from any kind of sedation, you’re very loopy and it’s hard to think clear thoughts such as, “I should ask me nurse to give me the pain medication now,” or “I can hear my nurse on the other side of the room, I should ask her to come here.” Rational thoughts are not your friend right then. So I whimpered quietly a few times, which at least served it’s purpose and got her attention. She brought over a huge ice pack for me to lay on, which really didn’t do anything, but they always want to try ice first.

Dr. Seltzer came by shortly after… at least I think it was him. My eyes couldn’t focus on much for about 10 minutes after I started to wake up, but it sounded like his voice. He asked how I was, and I told him tearfully that it hurt a lot. Then the nurse came back over and I told her I was still in great pain. Clever, clever nurse that she was, she gave me a different kind of pain medication than I usually get after injections. The regular medication does work really well for my pain, but it also makes me vomit violently in even the shortest car rides. Usually they deal with this by also giving me something to help with the nausea, and call it a day. My smart, caring nurse gave me a different kind of drug, which calmed my pain beautifully away, but did not cause me any nausea in the car. Bless her heart.

After I was awake enough to drink a can of apply juice, they released me. One of the male nurses walked with me from my bed to the bathroom where my street clothes were in a locker, to make sure I was steady enough to not topple over in the middle of the hall. After changing, I found Geoff in the lobby and he took me home.

Usually when I have the injections done, they do two to three different sites. Dr. Seltzer did five. I thought it probably was a good idea to get to as many of the potentially problem-causing nerves as possible in one shot, but I wondered if that would make my recovery even more painful than usual.

After I got home, I changed into my new Pjs, crawled into bed and shivered there for a while until I warmed up. Geoff brought me doughnuts and hovered around me all day, just waiting for me to even think about wanting something, so he could get it for me. I have the best fiance.

For the first hour or two, I felt surprised at how good I was feeling; I was still having pain, yes, but it wasn’t nearly so bad as it usually is the first day. And then, very suddenly, it appeared that the pain medication I’d gotten at the surgery center wore of and my lower back exploded into a searing mine field of pain. Ow, ow, ow, ow. I spent most of the rest of the day lying quietly, trying to not move or breath heavily and upset my angry nerves.

Something in the sight of me laying carefully still made me an irresistible temptation to both my cats, who spent hours yesterday wanting to climb up on my torso and lay there. No, I told them. You’ve had lots of time to lay on me when your tiny kitty weight would make me scream in pain and punch you. You will have the chance to do so again. But you are not laying on me now. They did not understand this and just looked at me with accusing eyes. Until I got up to feed them dinner, at which point everything was forgiven.

Today it feels a bit better, as it usually does the second day. It still feels like my ribs are fractured, but not as much as they did yesterday. And if it progresses at it’s usual rate, I should be feeling even better by tomorrow.

And I’m going to lay down again now. Thanks to everyone who wished me well and send good thoughts my way; they helped, and I really appreciated your concerns.

RJHSEUFKJVAE

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