I asked one of my high school teachers (an English Literature teacher) to read and critique a manuscript for a short(ish) story I'd written. When I met with this teacher after a few days I brought some of my prints with me. My teacher asked to see the photographs before critiquing the manuscript. After looking them over, smiled and said, "I don't see the Spark in this writing. Sorry, but I don't. On the other hand, I see the Spark in these," and touched several of the prints.
Not sure I would say I wanted the Spark of Genius to be there in my writing and I won't say I didn't. That comment didn't discourage me from writing, believe it or not. Instead, it encouraged me to study writing and writers, in depth. Over time, I'd say my writing improved. Still not sure I see a Spark in it either, mind you; that's all right. I've gotten better.
What this all grows out of is that things around here in the Blog-o-Sphere places changed over the rather quite a few years I've been tapping electrons into order to represent words. It feels like fewer people are reading in the places I post. I know I'm posting less often. One of the key factors in the 'business' of anything is consistency, sticking at it, and I'm feeling the absence.
Now, mind, in the past few years I've also been fairly focused at Hospital, first on finishing up the Magic 30, and due to some changes just before hitting that Magic 30 paying pretty strong attention to what I did there. Also, there is a proverb from the Japanese I like, not going to try to quote the original here only the translation: Chase two rabbits, catch neither one.
And I did make a firm decision some time back, yes, my photography is the rabbit I want to catch. Want. My Dad once taught me pay attention to Want versus Like. If one should Like to receive something, do something, and yet it doesn't quite come to pass or not in the exact manner, this is OK, this is good. Want, on the other hand, involves something deeper. There are things, many things, one is willing to sacrifice when one Wants something.
I am willing to sacrifice writing. Oh, studying writing is and has been good. Dad also taught me (my first Art Teacher) to study other art medium, stretch and grow as an Artist. Just -- I am willing to sacrifice making a living of any sort with writing.
Sound sad? Not really.
I am also very clearly in the twilight of my Nursing career. That Magic 30 represents a milestone, and now there are three more years tacked onto that, during which I've cared for others as they needed it. Time runs its course, though, and Time is coming when I will no longer provide professional Nursing care. All along, I've worked on my photography, my art fill the time when I would no longer go to Hospital. So of course, as that time approaches (Perversity being what it is, thank you Oh My Friend Jed) the economy is in the outhouse and not many people are willing to spend what little Fun Money they may have on art.
Herself points out to me that it is, apparently, somewhat easy to begin teaching classes in what I often think of as Community Education; those after hours classes organised (often) by Community Colleges or other educational institutions for adults who are nominally done with school. And one of the things about Nursing, as any of my colleagues will tell you, is that education is an important part of the practice. Teaching patients about their health conditions, their medications, how to cope, how to stretch, grow, heal. Something I've been doing for 33 plus years now and so, not a big leap over to Community Ed.
Recently another acquaintance asked me about studio backdrops. And, um, well, yeah I can pass along a thing or three about studio backdrops. Probably about lighting too, though I'm still studying that on my own. Then again, I think it may of been Hokusai (Japanese woodblock print artist from the Tokugawa era) that said (roughly), "I have been studying diligently the representation of shape and light for some time now, and I believe if I continue to do so another 20 years I shall begin to show improvement." And basics of composition, exposure, and such.
Some of these I've been thinking to do as blog posts, since I do see this blog as a bit of a photoblog with images and discussion strewn about. Even doing that, not much of a leap still to developing classes on this.
Maybe I should stick around a bit longer. Maybe you should too.