I’m unsure the author but there is a poem which goes something like this, ” I don’t want to be the poet, I want to be the poem. I don’t want to be the dancer, I want to be the dance. I don’t want to be the musician, I want to be the music.” I giggle involuntarily in deep recognition the moment I heard this. It resonated in the bones of my body while my mind took a moment to catch up.
I have been struggling lately going into my studio to sit down and do the work of running my business I have created the last 30 years. I realized recently I did not want to be there doing this kind of work. This busy detached work the must be done. I was feeling overwhelmed by my to do list of social media postings, marketing, bookkeeping, blog writing, endless emails, & editing. Any photographer will tell you it is these things that you dedicate most of your time until you can outsource some of it. Some it, like writing these posts I love but when the lists go on and on and you can forget why you love things. For most photographers the “running the business part” isn’t why any of us started down a path into photography. It’s not why I did at least. I honestly had no idea what a career in photography and running a successful business looked like so many years ago. They simply didn’t teach you this when you’re getting a BFA or Masters in photography.
So here I am sitting in my studio slogging through the drudgery of it all until my next photoshoot when I get to be in connection and be IN the creation. Up until a few days ago I saw no relief in site and then I heard, “I don’t want to be the poet, I want to be the poem.” I found the word which spoke to my situation within the structure of the peom, “I don’t want to be the creator, I want to be the creation.” AHHHHH, yes, that was it.
So what’s a gal to do in this situation? Well first I noticed there is relief in the knowing. Once I was able to identify where my struggle was I instantly exhaled. I made the phrase my mantra since that moment, “I don’t want to be the creator, I want to be the creation” and say it the minute I begin to feel overwhelmed or lost. It reminds me to make sure I am the creation and not the creator aka the do-er. Next I had to find balance. A few things which help are working when I can from a cafe where other live humans are. YAY connection! Other days it’s working from the coziness of my own home and taking walks intermittently. Sure there are times I need to be at my studio computer editing but on days I don’t I can be in the creation of life, and flow through until my next photoshoot when I truly feel present and in creation.
To be the creation is to be in communion with all of life, to feel it all. I don’t want to stand alone doing this all by myself. I don’t want to and never have wanted to create in a bubble, to be separate from the whole of it all. My work at its core is all about collaboration & connection and it’s why I love being a photographer. I could not do what I do without the subjects complicity, openness and willingness to be creating with me. I want to be in the swirling beautiful flow of all that is creation and connection, to be in the experience of all of life.
Here are some photographs I created during my 2016 trip to Italy, one place I feel in the constant flow with all of creation. I am all at once creating but also connected to everything and everyone around me. I am enlivened and completely free. I hope you each have a place like this.