I haven't figured out why, but my brain does not function normally. I think most people dream of pieces of comfort in their head: house, dog, job...steady things. when i close my eyes and think of that place where i'll be happy in years to come, nothing comes to mind.
i visited my family this weekend. i repeated my travel plans and ideas on my travels several times and even tried to voice my abnormal dreams. earnestly, i searched for words that describe my stance, my nomadic heart. i felt the need to justify my vagabond dreams. i felt like i had to say new york times and big words like advocacy journalism.
the truth is, I just want to experience the world. i want to fuse my story with the stories of others.
my wide-eyed, selfless, loving aunt asked me, "but what is it about Nepal?" and my answer fumbled. i don't think it has anything to do with nepal and everything to do with widening my understanding of life. i get high from the vertigo a new culture inflicts on my horizon of life.
we're not that different, you and I. that feeling that drives you to success, that drives you to read a book, go to a movie, eat favorite foods, make babies, make an advancement on your career ladder - this is the same drive I feel when I suspend my cultural norms to absorb completely new ones. im just trying to figure out how to make a career out of it. (if anyone has any ideas, im interested)
i dislike that phrase. if it makes everyone feel better, call it a phase. that's fine. but i'll never stop widening my horizon. i'll do it however i can. through books in a hammock, living out the "normal" life if that happens. i have many goals - many dreams: chef, teacher, anthropologist. im not a photographer, but a person who wants to help who happens to know how to take pictures (sometimes).
one of my favorite authors, Henry Miller, wrote: One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
"...story-telling is too F*****G important."
That was the last sentence in an email I recently received from a friend regarding my latest rant about newspapers and video.
I wanted to dramatically storm out of my office after I was inundated with congratulatory emails from my normally-silent colleagues regarding my record click-breaking video: coleslaw wrestling.
I'm used to hearing: stories matter.
Not clicks, not keeping the attention of overly stimulated frazzled ADD viewers, not revenues, not keeping it under 2 minutes, not name dropping.
No, I was told that stories matter. And I still believe it.
My good friend quelled my initial desire to walk out by assuaging me with hope. She says the system sucks but we can rise above it because we're "young, energetic, innovative, smart, ambitious, compassionate storytellers and the most important charachteristic that everyone else cannot claim...is that we are not jaded (yet)."
I hope this is true.
While I have trouble admitting that I am guilty of abandoning the newspaper industry to tell stories in my own way, I will readily admit my guilt in one area: I want to tell stories.
I want to use my skills to do something greater than coleslaw videos. I'm not discounting that those videos have their place.
Is this what those pioneer photojournalists faced when they were told to censor their photos to appease the general audience? Did they dream about documenting life without the bindings of revenues and angry phone calls from disgruntled newspaper readers? Are these the sentiments that spurned Magnum and VII? Mediastorm even?
I have not given up on story-telling or on journalism. I am simply walking away from the chaos I'm in and into the world of advocacy journalism. I'm sure the same problems exist: money and all its shenanigans. But I hope to create journalism that attempts to make a change, that attempts to make the world a better place.
Call it propaganda, call it an oxymoron if you like, but I translate this burning urge in me as a dedication and commitment to tell the truth in an attempt to make the world a better place.
Friends, fellow journalists, ambitious photojournalism majors struggling to learn multimedia because you need a job - take the advice of my wise hopeful friend: story-telling is too important to give up.
"Most people are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path." Siddhartha -Hermann Hesse
<rant> I've been brooding about my future. My path. I've been told I'm like a river. But I see myself with one foot in the flowing water and one on the stagnant land.
True to my gemini nature, I see both sides of every situation and have a hard time taking a position when asked. Some call us two-faced. Fickle. Confused. Fickle to others is an apt ability to perceive life's balancing and contradicting act, to equally enjoy the hardest and best parts of life to me.
As a journalist, I am blessed with the adventure of experiencing life as the doctor and the patient; as the family that lost the wife to cancer and the woman who conquered it. I rub elbows with a drug addicted transvestite and later sip coffee with an 83 year old man who built his own house boat from scratch.
I understand that there is wisdom to be gained from all walks of life. Maybe it's this wisdom that makes me feel like I don't fit in anywhere, but everywhere.
I feel this way: I have a path inside me no wind can touch. My path is chinked with the books, countries, and people I have encountered. My goals change. It won't always be advocacy journalism. I'd like to be a chef. A Literature teacher. A mother.
Lately, I've been bogged down by the obvious questions. What am I doing here? Where am I going? The answers are always changing.
That's what I love best about my two-faced life. </rant>
im sitting in my favorite spot in my florida home: the florida room. wicker chair,
red wine in hand eating fresh veggies i sauteed with butter as soon as i walked in
the door. i just got home from a rare adventure. a good friend and i rented a
convertible, packed (uhum very) lightly and as last minute as possible on a get
out of daytona trip to the Keys.
sunburn is a funny thing. to be honest, I wanted a sunburn. i thought the red and
prickly shade would be better than the pale veiny color my thighs were painted
before i made it to Key Largo. but at this point, the wine is having trouble taking
the edge off.
this morning, after i compared my calves to the rising sun, i realized i was more
saturated with warm reds and probably just as hot as the bright ball of fire shining
through our tent site. other than the sticky fire on every inch of my skin (minus
the private parts) i had an amazing time. i got to know a good friend. i spent
alot of money on myself (something i usually don't do). and i bought my mom
this amazing butterfly in a glass box (touristy, i know). but mostly, i enjoyed
the fluid conversation and easy silence of a friend i never got the chance to know
through college. it's amazing.
this picture was taken by my cohort on the trip. he's an amazing photographer.
and an even better person.
i felt a world away in the keys. no one was speaking english at the beach-side
restaurant we ate oysters and drank margaritas at. we were the odd ones. i
love that feeling. only 2 more months and i'll be immersed in a new life in
nepal. so excited...