A lot of things came together here.
My collection of mismatched silverware was inspired by the Tom Robbins novel Skinny Legs and All, where one of the characters is a silver spoon. My friend Carlos and I found an exceptionally beautiful – though tarnished – silver soup spoon at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Austin, and my description of our finding and later polishing it ended up in a poem that my friend Laurie Wagner Buyer wrote*. At the time (1998-ish), Laurie was encouraging me to find my voice as a poet. I was trying to ignore her, but when I read how she’d spun a simple story about tarnish, a spoon, and silver polish into a beautiful poem, I decided to give it a go.
Two Christmases ago, my patient spouse gave me a LensBaby Sweet 50 lens. I tried it a few times, but wasn’t happy with the results. Too much of the shots were out of focus. Or out of focus in a way I didn’t like. Or something.
My photography has evolved a little over the past two years.
I’m still off work, rehabbing that new knee I got last month. It’s been more of a struggle than I’d anticipated, both mentally and physically. On Tuesday, my physical therapist told me to go home and get out my camera and do ME.
So I did what he said. I saw the LensBaby in the drawer and decided to see what I could do. And I saw that collection of mismatched silverware, inspired by the book, which inspired a poem.
*That poem, also titled “Old Silver,” is in her book Red Colt Canyon. And for those of you keeping score at home, she’s the same poet (now known as Laurie Jameson) whose daily haiku comments inspired me to start my blog The Poetry Photography. I can’t imagine where I’d be without her influence.
A few days ago, blogger Merilee and I were trading comments on Far West Texas; she mentioned photographing a particular mural in the Alpine train station when her Chicago-Los Angeles train had made a stop. I knew the mural, and had in fact photographed it myself just a few months ago. We decided that we’d each post the photo that Merilee dubbed the Alpine Man. Here’s mine:
You can see Merilee’s photo of the Alpine Man here..
Nice connection to have made.
But wait. There’s more. In a recent post, Merilee included a poem written by W. C. Jameson. Turns out that W.C. and Merilee collaborate from time to time, pairing his poems with her photos. But what closes this circle, which is smaller and tighter than I could have imagined, is this: W. C.’s wife Laurie and I have been friends for nearly twenty years. Those of you who know my blog The Poetry of Photography may recognize her name as the poet who contributed the first 359 poems on that blog.
Maybe you’ve noticed, down in the comments section of the blog, that every day in 2012 there was a haiku?
My dear friend Laurie Jameson wrote those for me. It was her idea, and she committed to writing a haiku every day in 2012. Her words give a different insight into the image and I have enjoyed seeing the pictures again through her eyes.
Laurie’s one-year term as the Poet in Residence here at One Day | One Image is over, and I wanted to thank her for everything that she’s done for the blog this year.
I also want to thank her for pivotal role she’s played in my development as an artist. I met Laurie in 1996 at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, through our mutual friend Andy Wilkinson. At the time, Laurie was working as a poet, documenting her life on a ranch in Colorado. We struck up a correspondence, using actual letters (which sounds quaint nowadays!) and this is what started to happen: I’d write her a letter about something I’d done, she’d write back and say “that was a good story – you should write a poem about it.” Then I’d say “you’re kidding – it was a story about a silver spoon I bought at a thrift store” and then she’d write a lovely poem about it.*
Eventually it started to dawn on me that I ought to be the one writing the poems and I started taking my first shaky steps as a writer. She was at my side the first time I read one of my poems in public, at a writing workshop a few years later in Elko, when I was so nervous I nearly forgot how to breathe. And, when I had a poem published in an actual book , she came with me to Denver for a reading at the Tattered Cover bookstore. (I was still nervous, but did remember to breathe!)
I know that my current interest in photography would not have happened without Laurie’s encouragement of my (hidden) artistic side. She helped me learn how to identify that itchy feeling that means something creative is about to happen, and she encouraged me not to ignore it. I’ve realized that I am lot more content with myself when I am being creative, even if the creativity itself seems very hard.
So, thanks to Laurie for everything she’s done for me. Please stop by her website to see what she’s doing now. Drop her a line, too, if you want, and tell her I sent you.
And, for those of you who follow The Poetry of Photography, it’ll stick around for a while longer. Back in the spring, I gave the images and poems their own blog, The Poetry of Photography, where they got equal billing. If you haven’t found this blog already, head on over there – I will keep updating it every couple of days until I’ve run out of haiku
* Actual example.
Continuing the theme from yesterday, here’s another door that has a few problems.
Marsha Sharp Freeway near Dover Avenue