Thursday, 19 November 2009

Not giving up


It's been a nice thing taking a photo each of these past nearly 20 days. To tell the truth, I thought I'd probably 'cheat' a bit and post one I already had on occasional days when there wasn't time or I saw nothing of interest. I haven't done that at all because the whole point, it turns out, is the doing it - the practice, every day, however rushed, whatever my mood, of stepping outside myself and looking around.


On work days, often my only opportunity to take a photo is on the way to the office in the morning - too busy to take a lunch break and it's dark long before I leave in the evening. Welcoming, yes actually welcoming a traffic jam because the bus stands still and I can shoot through the window (ahem, spot the ones taken through grubby glass!). Looking for something new or a new angle on the same unvarying route I walk most days, the last couple of miles into the city centre, so I get some exercise. It sets a whole new tenor for the day and I love it. 

I think of my father, who in his youth painted (flowers and birds, mostly), played the clarinet in a band and crafted leather bags. And who knows what else. When I had a travel piece published, many years after he died, my mother said: 'Oh, that's like your father. He wrote stuff about his town for the local paper and the tourist office'. I'd had no idea he wrote anything. By the time I knew him, he'd given it all up. So sadly symbolic of how he gave up on himself. I didn't really know him well. He was scarcely there. Exercising our creativity, in however tiny a way, is a way of staying alive inside.

7 comments:

maria said...

I am selfishly glad you are not giving up, because I love my daily stops here! (o)

liliannattel said...

I'm sorry your father lost himself. It's been wonderful to see the fruits of your practice.

marja-leena said...

I'm so pleased that you're taking photos and posting every day, Jean! How gratifying to learn that your father was a writer on top of his other creative pursuits! So you take after him! Yes, sad that he gave it up when older, I see that with some elders... I've been encouraging an older artist friend to get back to it even though it's a struggle for her, but there's a light coming back in her.

Lorianne said...

I'll readily admit to "cheating" with some of my photos, so I really appreciate your rigor in taking and posting a photo each day. All of these various requirements we set for ourselves are both silly & arbitrary, but the discipline of having some sort of requirement for ourselves is what makes a habit into a practice.

I love the idea of welcoming traffic jams so you can take pictures!

Jean said...

Lorianne, I certainly don't think you are 'cheating' by blogging the really gorgeous photos you take on the days you have a bit more time -after all you've been writing and posting your writing as your daily practice, which I haven't. Anyway, as you say, particular targets are entirely arbitrary, though sometimes useful.

Marja-Leena, my dad was not that old when he stopped. I guess it was when he got married, which was not until his fifties - the age I am now, which is perhaps why it particularly touches me. I'm sure it's never too late to take up a talent and interest again, but I guess no one ever encouraged him - you're doing a nice thing for your friend.

Zhoen said...

Very sad about your father, people make strange choices for all sorts of reasons.

I've been enjoying the daily ritual here.

Lucy said...

It's been marvellous Jean.

I've enjoyed combing the archives, but would quite like to have done it this way too...

Sad about your father. People sometimes seem to stop doing things to spite themselves like that.