I started my second 365 self portrait project on my 23rd birthday. I wrote more about 2008 on this post. I was feeling so inspired when I started this project. Then it became a strange conduit for grief. I was glad to have it, and I’m glad to have this record of one of the toughest year of my life, but it’s still hard to write about. I thought I was doing better than I was. In retrospect, most of what I remember of 2009 was napping on the couch, watching Fellowship of the Ring over and over, and crying.
I started my first 365 self portrait set in 2007. Shaun and I had just moved into a house together in October of 2006 and gotten married on January 1st. I was still working as a janitor and I was super into baking vegan cupcakes and learning to sew, two things I only dabble in now, but my main interest was still photography. I had been shooting film I could barely afford for years, and while I did have a high end point and shoot digital camera, I was feeling increasingly limited by it. The battery life was frustrating. My world was full of rechargeable AAs. I started my 365 with an Olympus Camedia c5050z. It was a great camera, actually, but it was several years old at this point and no longer functioning reliably.
I saved up my pennies (for months!!) and bought a Canon Rebel xti in June, shortly after joining up with some very active flickr groups and discovering all of these amazing people doing 365 Days of self-portraits. I’m very grateful for everyone I met back then, on flickr, some of us have lost touch, but many of them are still dear friends!
That first year was more about learning what I could do and less about making what I wanted to make. I didn’t really click with following The Rules of photography. My favorite photos were always based on feelings and memories. But it was important to learn that stuff, to take what I liked, and needed, and bin the rest.
I took a lot of crappy pictures that year. I mean a lot. I have been trying to sort through them on an external hard drive and it was probably my most prolific year ever. You have to take a lot of pictures to get a good one when you’re still learning and I took at least 80,000 photos in 2007. I shared about 3,000 of them on flickr. I have since made a fair few of those private. The memories are good, though! Going back through and culling them, revisiting them with better editing software and skills, I have found lots of shots I’m glad I didn’t delete when I dismissed them initially.
Here are some favorites, and milestones, from the original set, as I originally shared them:
I’m going to start sharing these here one week at a time, starting, well, now!
I am SO firmly stuck in the painful week 2s right now. And I’m behind on other things that I keep putting off until after I finish my writing for the day. And then I don’t finish my writing for the day so I don’t finish anything. I have been keeping on top of dishes and cooking dinner every day, though. The dryer is full of clean laundry to sort, I owe emails to two friends, I only wrote about 600 words yesterday, no one is running sprints on the @NaNoWordSprints and I am floundering and lonely. It’s a pain that writing super early is best for me. I think maybe I should try a different schedule today. So maybe I will do some to do list items and then come back to it, but when I think about doing this I get a sick feeling in my gut.
The most annoying thing is that I know, I KNOW, if I just started writing that every tight feeling in my chest and stomach would ease up. It happened yesterday when I managed that 600 words, but it didn’t last the full half hour session. I need to get comfortable with skipping scenes, perhaps, for letting the story just jump over these day to day trivialities. I hate how I feel like I have to chronicle every second of my characters days… but… I feel like I don’t know how to transition from scene to scene. I know that it’s okay. Because this is NaNoWriMo. I can write these boring moments and then cut them out, later. It’s fine. One interesting thing about this feeling is that when I read back on my NaNoWriMos, all of which I have felt this way about, I actually feel like I did a fine job skipping the mundane things and my transitions seem pretty logical. They often read enough like real books that it startles me. I find they need way less editing than I had imagined they would when I was writing them.
I guess I forgot how much hashing out my feelings on this blog is key, as well. I just feel like this month is busier than ever. In years past I have made an update here almost every day that I wrote. That’s incredible to me. Where did I find the time?
Today, my procrastination has been spent watching music videos on youtube and dancing around the living room. At least it was somewhat aerobic.
I feel less fatalistic about my novel at this moment than I did a half hour ago, or yesterday, or the day before that. I’ll get through this. I always do.
So I’m going to go an write myself a schedule for today that puts my writing in the afternoon instead of the morning and see how I do with it.
17265 / 50000 words. 35% done!
I did 3 Halloween costume looks this year!
#HalloweenPhotoWeek on instagram. (Currently all by me! but I recognize that could change someday.)
1. Cook 30 new recipes 86/30 I made 3 new recipes this month! I actually made 2 other things for the first time, but one was something super easy that I made without a recipe (daiya quesadillas) and the other was so altered in ingredients (gumbo is literally not gumbo without okra) that I didn’t feel right including it.
84. Louisiana Red Beans and Rice (One-Dish Vegan)
85. Korean Hot Pot (One-Dish Vegan)
86. Rainbow Millet-Hummus Collard Summer Rolls (But I Could Never Go Vegan!)
2. Shoot 1 roll of film per month. 11/12 I got a super late start this month again, I didn’t actually finish my June roll until July 4th and then I decided to finish a mysterious roll that was in my Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim. Who knows when I started it? My hope was that it would actually only have a few shots left and I could pop a fresh roll into it and use it for July but that didn’t happen until the 14th! The roll is about halfway shot, now!
7. Reach Advanced Level yoga with Erin Motz’s DoYouYoga course.
8. Finish Five Video games 4/5
4. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix.
9. 30 self portraits in 2015.
16. Veganize 10 of my family’s recipes. 0/10
I thought this was going to be one of the easy ones, but my mom’s recipe cards are missing! I have some family church cookbooks that have some distant relatives in them, but most of the recipes that appeal to me are vegan already! One of them is for canned vegetable soup and another for pickles!
17. Make canned pickles!
My plan is to make the kind of pickles you can pretty much eat immediately. Basic vinegary cabbages, or something. Totally delicious and stress free. Not going to get into heat sealing yet. Doing what I can to get this stuff done. Real pickles is still a future goal! I got some super cute little jars earlier this month, so… that’s progress!
21. Start a 365 photo set on my 29th birthday. Finish it! Here are some of my favorite shots from this month:
23. See five movies in the theater 2/5
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
2. Inside Out
28. Write a list of major cleaning projects and do them all!
- move all furniture and clean behind/under it. (fridge, dressers, couch, entertainment center.) (Progress: Calling this done. Kitchen, bathroom, living room done in month 6. One half of bedroom done in month 7. Library is still such a work in progress that I doubt I’ll get it finished, but all of the rooms we use regularly are looking good. I just need to do a little more in the bedroom and some of that requires getting rid of furniture. It should get done in the next year)
- clean the fridge out. (Progress: Fridge done. Still need to hit the freezer!)
- take ALL THAT RECYCLING so the cozy system can start working. (Progress: Done.)
- take everything to Goodwill. (Progress: One carload done, only have a few boxes left to go.)
- finish each room. If I still have to have stuff piled in a corner, at least let it be stored in a plastic tub. (Progress: Living room: Done. Laundry room: Done. Dining Room: as done as it will get. )
- closet overhaul. (Progress: Started the bedroom closet. Made a lot of hanger space, so far, need to work on the stuff that’s on shelves next!)
- Springtime Garden Tidy. (Progress: I managed everything by the back lot, and now it’s summer and unbearable. Major progress though! Calling it done. Everything else is maintenance.)
Only one month to go! I’ll be hustling to get some of this stuff done and accepting that other things just won’t happen, yet. But I’m not giving up on anything!
Last year my greatest accomplishments were probably meal planning, house organization and yoga. It wasn’t just that I did all of those things consistently, it was how great they made me feel. Shaun got me this magnetic dry erase calendar for the fridge and it’s one of those things you really like the idea of but you don’t actually think is going to work. But it did. I scheduled all my chores and exercise and planned my cooking a week in advance with it and my life is completely different than it was a year ago. It’s so tidy and we eat so well and I’m in the best shape of my life, now, approaching 30. I almost feel like an adult.
I also kept up with some photo projects. I finished a self portrait 365 and started one that isn’t self portrait based. I feel roller coaster emotions about my art. No matter what’s going on, I always think I was better before (whatever that means, a year ago, five years, 2 weeks?) than I am now. I don’t know what causes that, but looking through photos to put this post together, I feel especially happy with the things I was doing this time last year.
Best of 2014 on flickr.
week fifty, kitchen witchery: