For a time, writing took the back seat. Or, more accurately, if life were a train, with cars numbering far more than my attention span can count, writing was the final car. Each car, labeled carefully, “Family”, “Charlie”, “Chanelle”, “Meadow”, “Chad”, “Home”, “Business”, “Photography”, “48 Hours Mystery”. . . well, you get the point. . . so many other things take priority. Like most Mom’s, I wander in and out of the first few cars, sometimes straddling 12 at a time, hanging in the cars that need the most attention. More often than not, I never
find make the time to take the long walk back to the final car, the one labeled, “Writing”. I mean, really, that “Sleep” car has some kind of magnetic force that lures me in with her softness and comfort. Not to mention, the mindless wonder of the 48 Hours car, sneaky little devil.
Still, when I’m hanging out in the Photography car or wandering back and forth between the Charlie, Meadow, and Chanelle cars, I glance back to make sure the Writing car is still hanging with us and remind myself how much I enjoy and need to spend time in that last car.
Bringing my writing into this space, the space where before, only my business existed, was a scary thing. If I’m being honest (and I am), it’s still a scary thing. My journey into photography began with writing. It began with story. It began with feeling. For me, story and pictures always went hand in hand. To separate them, never felt right to me. Still, to bring clients work and my own personal life together into the same space is something I resisted for a very long time. However, this my life–our life–one moment I am in Mom mode wiping runny noses (thank you pre-school) and the next I’m privileged to spend an evening with a family who invited me into their lives to capture a specific moment in time. One evening I’m standing
over a stove making dinner at the counter of Subway buying dinner and the next evening I’m standing behind a camera taking in one of the most important moments in a couples life as they begin their lives together with a simple utterance of “I do.”
This space is life’s mirror. It’s not one or the other (personal or client), it’s both and.
You see, spending time in that final car, the Writing car, is like breathing for me. It is a discipline to stop and see. As my fingers dance over the keyboard I feel my breath become deeper and pulse slow to a steady cadence. When I spend time in the writing car, the entire world looks different. I see stories everywhere. Writing, however lacking in eloquence I might be, highlights tiny details that I often miss when I am too busy rushing from one car to the other in the front part of the train.
A few weeks ago, during the early morning hours, I was walking through the quiet house. (Because when you are a mom with three kids the early morning is the only time you will find quiet-because, well, 48 Hours Mystery in the evening.) As I walked through the kitchen, trying not to make a peep for fear of little ones thinking they were invited to steal my quiet, I glance out the back door and saw this. . .
Such a tiny little thing, I know. However, rather than feeling annoyance at the window I was going to have to clean, I smiled and saw the evidence of little ones who find a place to make art. . . everywhere. In that moment, I remembered that I won’t always have tiny handprints and smiling faces staring back at me on dew soaked windows in the morning.
That’s why I write. That’s why I need to write. Writing is as important as breathing. As much as writing helps me to see the beauty in the everyday, it also helps me to see the humor in it. Writing allows me to live my life, rather than rush through it. I can laugh at myself and all my often neurotic ways and it allows me to slow down and breathe deeply amidst the chaos around me.
People often comment about this writing, what a legacy you are leaving for your kids.” I smile and nod as if I write for the most noble of reason. Yep, for my kids, as if I’m that much of a selfless person.
In truth, I do it for me. I write, so that I can breathe.