Saturday, March 16, 2013

When Your Art and Your Heart Go Out into the World

When I was in high school, I would sometimes attach a black and white photo I'd taken to a sheet of paper in a spiral notebook with some words written below it and pass it around to friends between classes for their comments.  It was a sort of 20th century form of pre-blogging.  It involved the potent-smelling chemicals I used in the dark room, the dark blue ink I used to write the words, the glue I used to attach the photo and bits of spiral notebook paper pieces that would fall to the floor like snowflakes when I would rip a page out of the notebook.  The whole process was all very un-digital.

I spent many of my high school days in the dark room.  As an introvert, I loved the safe, dark space.  I loved the comforting ritual of developing a picture and then attaching it to a piece of string like a clothes line over the sink so the chemicals could drip off.  I spent many of my high school days in art classes - creating collages or paintings, but ultimately there was no place for my art to really go except maybe on a shelf to collect dust.  And it is difficult to put hours of work and heart into a piece and know that it will probably never really be appreciated. 

In those days, when I would get up the nerve to submit a piece of my writing to a magazine, it was usually ignored or denied.  I wasn't really sure what potential my photography or other art had either - a lot of it was mediocre and I wasn't sure how to truly improve. 

But people knew me as a storyteller, and they were always asking me to tell stories.  So I would tell my stories.

And I waited.  Sometimes I would share my writing ideas with people and they would tell me I wasn't good enough.   Other people told me I had talent.  So I lived my life, and went to school, and worked, and all the while I was punching my timecards into timeclocks, the internet changed the world and bloggers started launching their words and art from their digital platforms.  People began making waves in the world in ways that were not previously possible, and finally I realized I could do the same.   And while I waited, digital photography became available to the masses which meant there was a way for me to finally be the photographer I had always wanted to be.    

As I began to blog and to be a storyteller to a larger audience, I would always think back to the place where I first remember hearing stories - a church where the preschool teachers would tell us stories on a flannel graph in the quiet space of the church sanctuary with most of the lights off and sun streaming through stained glass - that sanctuary was peaceful to me in my childhood years like the darkroom was peaceful to me in my adolescence.  And this is part of why I bring this all together for others - to help others find a peaceful place of their own or a peaceful moment of resonance, and that is why you will see a sort of flannel graph style background in a lot of my photography.  It's interesting how in that sanctuary that was mostly dark and how in the dark room I felt such a closeness to God and it is interesting how His light comes to us in the darkest of places. 

If the art is in you, if the truth is in you, if some unrecognized talent is in you, hold on just a little longer, because if the form of media or platform does not yet exist for you to create on, it will probably be here soon.  Of all the millions of apps that exist now and all the ways we can connect with each other it is astounding to think of what is and will be possible.  We no longer have to create something only to have it placed up on a shelf. 

We are now in an age where the Pope leans over and takes a blessing first from the people, we are in an age where the gatekeepers no longer have all the power and we are not longer at the mercy of the denial letters in our mailboxes.  We are in an age where we can create art or write, and with the push of a button, we are published.  And because of the voice of the masses, truth can become manifest in a way that it never was before, and countries and regions can organize revolutions based on social media.  Now nothing, and no one can stop your art and your heart from going out into the world. 

If you have not yet found that thing that truly inspires you and that truly allows you to create and to be truly you - just wait a little longer, we are in a time and place where new things become possible every day that did not exist the day before - hold on a little longer because there will be a platform for you and the gifts you were born with.  That thing, your thing, will come. 

(c) 2013 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved 


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