Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hey! You're squishing me!

Since I'd been so antsy the weekend before last, whining and moaning that I didn't know what to do with myself, I asked whitey if we could please go to the coast to take some photos. We haven't done that since last year and I felt the irrefutable need to go out into public on a Sunday because I've gotten bored with slamming my face in a cupboard door so what better way to torture myself then try and find a parking space at a San Diego beach in the middle of summer on a lovely weekend morning?

Needless to say, it was difficult. And then I had a parallel parking freak-out and we almost scrapped the idea all together (well, it was me who yelled "oh forget it" while whitey looked at me like my hair was on fire) until I found a space I could pull in to. While the boy nursed his coffee, trying to rev up his brain after I woke him at 9:30, (even though I'd been awake since 6:30 and had waited around patiently for 3 stinking hours loudly crumpling paper and maybe on purpose heavily throwing my big camera bag onto the bed hoping to stir the coma-sleeper) we got out of the car and I readied my camera and surveyed our surroundings.

Holy bajeesus, the place was packed. Unbelievably swarming with people, dogs, kids, picnics, a wedding, cars, kayaks, divers, snorklers, and cute lifeguards. I knew we had left the house too late as it was but I was mostly worried about the light, not thinking we'd be shit out of luck at our first location as we wound through the slalom course of parked cars then saw a steady stream of auto-vultures trying to wishfully find a space that was not going to become available until someone got stung by a jellyfish and went crying off to the nearest ER or the sun went all the way down.

It was daunting and a bit of a bummer, even though I know we can't expect to have any public place to ourselves, ever. Hell, I've been in what I thought was the middle of fucking nowhere in the mountains thinking there couldn't possibly be another soul around and just when I was about to drop trou and pee on a tree here comes a person whistling Dixie, blissfully unaware that they almost saw my money maker in a most unflattering way. But this was regoddamndiculous.

Crowds are something I didn't used to have a problem with. As long as I had a personal space big enough that a stranger wasn't literally crawling up my ass, I'm looking at you Disneyland lines, I was OK. I even used to like going to compacted clubs and squeezing my way into the middle of a sweaty hoard to dance off my rum & Cokes. But not any more.

These days I don't like it. I already live in a major tourist town and one of the largest cities in the United States and frankly, I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic. Squeezed out. Crowded. And besides the physical confines of living with so many damn people, it's making me think about other areas that have turned into virtual mob scenes and I just don't know if there's room for me.

Take the internet, or more specifically, blogs. There are millions upon millions of them. Is there room for another cranky girl who writes about whatever and is occasionally funny, sporadically admired or randomly read? I don't know. Why do some blogs take off in a short time and others putter along with hidden gems and no feedback?

I've had this conversation with whitey a million times and it's his opinion that a lot of bloggers whore themselves out like mad when they first come onto the scene, leaving comments on as many sites, posts, other blogs as they can just to start their own fan base. I'm inclined to agree, but that can't be the case all the time. Demographics play a part as well, I'm sure.

I don't have kids so I don't write a mom blog. I could regale you with crazy stories of my insane cat, like last night when a stranger kitty perched his orange ass on the windowsill and caused Rascal to fly into a blind rage of white fur and clawless paws and I'm sure we were 2 seconds from her crashing her hurtling body through the glass but I saved her by yanking her back through my wood blinds she was almost breaking and threw her into the bedroom with some fucking catnip. But I don't want to write about my cat all the time either, like some nameless bloggers do that get 192 comments whenever they post a fucking photo of their cats doing nothing but sitting in a box!! But I digress.

I'm not political, I don't post pictures of my tits, fabulous as they are, I'm not selling vibrators on the side. I haven't gotten fired for my blog (yet), I have no shopping section, I can't see a publisher ever asking me to submit my goofy memoires to sell on Amazon, and I'm not part of the Blogher inner circle of women writers that all seem to know each other and go weekending in Napa every 3 months having wonderful times with expensive bottles of wine and even more expensive cameras. Not that I'm jealous of that in the least. ~wahh~

It all boils down to competition, which is something I've never been very good at handling. I hate to lose. And when I use the word hate I mean hate as in I would rather dive into a pool of used syringes than take second place or worse. I'm trying to reconcile those completely rational ha ha feelings because it's stupid and eventually leads to giving up at the first sign of struggle which is also stupid. No one can win all the time and personal goals are just that, personal. There doesn't have to be a trophy at the end of every race.

A sparkly tiara, maybe.

But what if you set a goal and because of the sheer numbers of other people who have the same goal make it so your goal is never going to be reached? Is there enough room for everyone at the table?

This is what I don't know.

I've been so desperate (this could be part of the problem) to be considered an artist my entire life while watching my friends draw their little asses off while I scribbled my lopsided circles. To have something, anything that could be deemed an artistic talent. And of course I'm my own worst critic, although my mother comes in a close second (ha ha, mom, I win!) I am occasionally pleased with something I've written and now that I'm getting really passionate about photography I've experienced the same pride there.

And then I see other people's work and I think, omg, I'm crap. I have a lot to learn and I'm willing to do that work, but will it make a shit of difference? There are so many people doing the same thing. So many people that are already there. Is there room for one more and most importantly, room for me?

And what if you want to make a HUGE career change that is artistic in nature and is known for its practically unbreakable glass ceiling and high level competition. What I see now is a world saturated with people doing the same thing I want to do. Others recognized for it, some deserving, some not, others seemingly successful and happy. Does there need to be an empty space to fill before you feel content and accomplished? Should outside accolades be part of the goal? Is self-satisfaction with one's art enough? Does that really matter? Should it matter?

Is there room for one more?


Avalon said...

Betty~~~ Sit down right here, next to me {{{pats imaginary chair}}} .

I will save you a spot so you always have room.

And.....judging by your photography, you are most definitely an artist of the highest caliber. Your eye for beauty in the mundane is spectacular.

Anyone who doesn't agree is an asshole............or Helen Keller.

NouveauBlogger said...

Dunno anything about any of it, lol. But I know you write a damn good blog :)

Carl said...

I think the easiest way to finish first is to be the only person in the race.

Fuck sitting at the table with humpty-zillion wanna-be artists -- build your own table and follow your passion. I watched documentaries about Shelby Lee Adams and Sally Mann recently and, oh my God, did they create beautiful work. Eerie, creepy, disturbingly beautiful work. I wouldn't hire either of them to shoot a wedding or a corporate brochure, but I could stare at any one of their pictures for hours.

As to whether or not art can exist in isolation, I don't know. Maybe the process of creating art that will never be experienced by others is an artistic expression in itself. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

If you're in need of a muse, try this: shoot defeat. Your fear of losing should make for some really interesting pictures.

Explore your passion, make your art, and show us when it's done.

Oh yeah, and keep your day job, 'cause that camera shit's expensive!

Heidi (not Klum) said...

I think the best blogs are the ones by people, like yourself (okay yeah I am biased so what) that write for themselves. It's funny you write this now because last night at Hell I was reading an article by a writer about how he writes. He writes every single day, I'll let you know via email about the article, if you can't find it I will mail it to you.

Look at that Jennsylvania person, she was just writing along for herself and now she is on book number two. See?

Can I learn to play to play a harp for dead people when I don't play any instruments at all? Should I find out cause this sounds like a um..fun is not a good word is it, job. See I have the same questions as you.

Whitey I feel your early morning let's get to the beach now pain ;-)

PS: someone started a blog but has yet to say anything she wants anyone to actually see, including anyone she knows let alone strangers. Oy!

Back Nine said...

So I just get back from getting my bird a pedicure (a nail trim with a dremyl drill) and that is the only plan I have for the weekend. Then I see your birthday note to my sister. Then I visit your blog to see who the hell you are. Then I see words, some lovely and some silly, and photos that all paint a picture of a unique person with a voice worth hearing. And just like that, you have a new reader. So, yah, there's plenty of room for bloggers like you.

Joan said...

I'm considering taking my blog on a new path. Dognapping. I have 5000 pictures of my dog sleeping, and today a took a video of her sleeping. It's stangely relaxing, and I am sure there are a trillion bloggers out there just waiting for me to get started. Alternatively, I might choose to write about linoleum, it's pro's and con's. I dunno, there is so much untapped blog material out there just waiting to be snapped up.

whitey said...

Dammit. How many times I gotta tell ya?

Of course there's room for one more. There always is and has to be, because there isn't anything that a billion people haven't already done or are currently doing.

So fuck 'em.

And if you enjoy it, it's worth doing. The joy in any endeavor is far more important than the highly subjective notion of "talent"...because only an asshole artist thinks of his / her self as "good".

Dharma said...

Goddammed, are we the same person or what. Between your statement about always wanted to be considered an artist, your reunion post - we are twins at the very least. Self satisfaction is a lot, but honestly that's not all there is, for anyone. People what to be "seen" for who they are, for what they believe. They want to be in some small way seen as special to someone other than a parent who is somewhat obliged to view a child that way, or the way a parent sees one as unique and irreplaceable.

Betty, you are incredible, talented, funny, and wonderful. I know that with all my heart.