LOCKED OUT

IMG_5371.jpgFor the last couple of years I have been locked out of my WordPress blogs. My fault, all because of screwing up two-step authentication and not having the good sense to update settings when I changed phone numbers. Didn’t record backup codes, etc. I didn’t have much time to dedicate to blogging, having taken on a couple of gigs for newspapers – something I’d never done in any capacity other than freelancing.

I was on a staff, the Editor. What a trip. My father had been an editor, for The Valdosta Daily Times, and a State Editor for The Albany Herald. Mostly, he was an investigative journalist, with the bonus of covering the mundane stuff – Rattlesnake Roundups and Miss Watermelon pageants. Without fail, he could turn something simple into a great work, and do it in a few paragraphs – something I’d never mastered, having been a flagrant over-writer all my life.

This is to say hello, and reopen the virtual door to my online life again. I’ll be looking forward to sharing new stories with  you, because now is the time for a huge change regarding how and why I write.

Over the last few years, but particularly the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the time to evaluate my life’s work. My home office had become a heap of clutter, having moved in with my partner four years ago and overwhelmed by the massive amount of “stuff”, I had to figure out how to fit and organize it all in a regular-sized room. The challenge wasn’t something I was up to for a long time. I focused on myself, my health, my mental infrastructure – I did a lot of things I’d never done before, like try to relax and not do things, or feel bad about myself if I didn’t do things – constantly. I even took a full-time position at two newspapers for a couple of years, until I realized that I was not doing what I was meant to do.

I came home, and I looked in this room still marveling at all the stuff I had accumulated during my life. My father had been a writer with lots of stuff, too – paper is a monstrous thing when it gathers and compounds. There were years when I wouldn’t read anything unless I printed it out, and I was faced most recently with the responsibility of going through every single piece of paper, in boxes too numerous to count, stashed in corners, on shelves, under desks. No one could help me with it, since it was all me. There were documents which would have no meaning to anyone else, and it was going to take a filing cabinet – my old one having been left behind due to its cumbersomeness -and a whole lot of patience and want-to.

I wound up throwing away about five trash bags full of paper. Waste. Luckily I did find a filing cabinet, a beauty – antique, probably 100 years-old, wooden, not metal like they all are now, listed on Craigslist from an attorney’s office going out of business. It even has tongue and groove – it’s delicious. This acquisition marked the beginning of a new era, one in which everything I have is filed properly within, while a good deal more is in the cloud – the cloud I’d not been able to trust for years. I give in, cloud, take it. I’ll even read on screen and not print. The amount of money I’ll save will be notable, and since I’m not getting the ole weekly paycheck from the position I left, I’m pushed to generate income the way I used to – doing what I love, doing what I’ve always done. My printer is only a modest character in my office, printing out only the most essential of documentation.

During this excavation I discovered writings I’d forgotten about – good works, too. Some were atrocious, from my high school days. No one will ever lay eyes on it because it’s going straight to the trash. I found everything, including my WordPress backup codes in case I got locked out.

And I had no recollection of ever having printed them out. So that little miracle was a sign, I figured – I love signs, like the filing cabinet, and finding the codes, and the stories. I love feeling like, for the first time in my entire life, I know where everything I have, that is part of me, is.

The next challenge? To learn the peace that comes from being resolute and focused on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is a modern invention which has created fiends of us when mixed with nearly unlimited access to information through technology which increases its utility daily – Moore’s Law wasn’t joking around.

For instance, I struggle with staying on topic writing this, which should have taken all of 10 minutes, but I’ve gone on tangents I cut out, pasting onto Word docs for future use, and veered back on course. This is the challenge I see as the next step towards making a connection with the world in the way I can be most effective. There must be some order out of the chaos, I see the sense in this. I feel it.

What exactly our journey will be together is not completely clear in my mind’s eye, but I do know that the journey has begun. The map doesn’t exist but my inner-compass is working – I will follow my gut instincts, which are generally always reliable, and see where we wind up.

To all my friends who don’t even know me yet, I’m into you. You have something I want, and I think I have something you want, too. Let’s all get “woke” and see what that means in the long run.

To the cosmic architect with whom we are all a part, to the way we unfold ourselves in this 3D reality we call “life”, and to the virtual world in which we all get to explore, learn, and begin…

I remain,

R

Advertisements

GEORGE BOSTON RHYNES

2014-02-028 2014-02-044

On February 10, 2014, George Boston Rhynes visited my home and we spent the afternoon discussing the heated topics of the day, world events, politics, religion, history, social media/marketing/strategy, racism, rumors, gossip, opinions, books, journalism, cameras, downloading, piracy, software, video editing, documentaries, strategies…

For hours, we were neck-and-neck catching up, and gearing up. Brainstorming with Rhynes is becoming one of my most looked-forward-to pastimes.

Stay tuned for the interview with Rhynes I’ve been preparing for now for so long that he’s questioned whether I was just pulling his chain.

Fortunately I corralled him into my home studio for a very brief but successful photo shoot.

To George, whose voice keeps changing even when history just repeats itself.

JESUS ON A DIRT ROAD

JESUS ON A DIRT ROAD

My father and I would hang out a lot when I was a kid – he’d be driving wide open, window down, brown paper sack with a half gallon of whiskey in the backseat with a cooler packed with ice (I was the bartender). I had my Nikon FM around my neck, his in the backseat, crammed into a battered Tamrac bag.

He had seen this church and wanted me to see it.

As soon as we got back home I rushed to the darkroom (the garage had been converted into a home office and photo lab) and stood there in that pitch black space hurriedly winding the film into its canister before opening the back of the Nikon, then, in a couple of minutes I’d guided the black and white 400 ASA 35mm film onto the stainless steel reel, my fingers feeling along the edges to make sure there were no crimps and everything was smooth (otherwise the whole roll could be ruined, or at least a few shots – usually the best ones).

Then, into the canister of developer I would drop it. This was a daily compulsion. I never went anywhere without my Nikon, and there was rarely a day I wasn’t in my darkroom (and our swimming pool).

This shot of a church surrounded by pines on a lone dirt road in Southwest Georgia was taken before I was ten years-old, and won 4-H DPA awards.

I was a show-off, but it was all my father’s doings. He even gave me a silver pointer that looked like a fancy ball-point pen, which would extend about three feet so that I could use it to be even more annoying when doing my photography demonstrations (I also got First Place because I had huge photos I’d taken and developed myself, while every other kid was stammering over their pinhole camera or their latest pet picture.

I was always ashamed, but not Big Chuck.

I know what the hell he was doing. Now. He was one goddam good time and a hell of a mentor. And a daddy.

R