It’s 1:13 in the morning. I’m waiting patiently for some photos to copy from my camera and it occurs to me just how long it has been since I bothered to write in this blog. As always, the reasons for such an occurrence are many. First among these is that my internet was out for almost two weeks. My good friends at AT&T U-verse were unable to repair my suddenly failing service for an exceptionally long period of time so I found myself without television or internet for the better part of 14 days. In that time, my mind turned to other things. To put it briefly, I rediscovered my bookshelf. Then I discovered the library’s bookshelf of materials downloadable for the Kindle instantly. Since that particular milestone I’ve been a firm consumer of the written word rather than a creator thereof. On one hand I look at this as a positive. To write well, one must read well, the old sages say. On the other hand, in order to do anything well one must first DO it, say other equally correct sages. It is with this duplicity of advice in mind that I find myself sitting down to write only because I’m waiting for 2500 images to copy from the camera. Oh such is the woe to he who tries to do time-lapse photography. This entry promises to be a meandering one so hang on for whatever dear life you find most dear.
The same sages that wax philosophical about writing also have plenty to say about how to live your life. The standard advice says to do what you love and lately I’ve realized that what I actually do for a living is vaguely related to what I love but not particularly closely related to it. Luckily, however, I have several loves, so there’s room for many, many possibilities.
What I really love most, and at a deeply fundamental level, is solving a good puzzle. I like to take a situation and figure out how to get the most from it, dissecting the proverbial pig and putting it back together with oinker intact, to coin a phrase. That’s what really gives me joy in this world. The more complicated or complex the puzzle the better I like it. Work services this need in a way since it provides an endless series of puzzles. Every email that wanders into my inbox is some new mystery to be unraveled. Well, pause and rewind momentarily. I must take issue with my own use of the word ‘new.’ In reality, the vast majority of issues that come across my desk require not so much investigation as recollection. I’ve been in the same job for … almost longer than I can remember. Nine years? Whatever the actual exact number, it’s a LONG time for a technical job. There’s very little that I haven’t heard before and even less that’s really and truly novel rather than some simple variation of a previous situation. Work is usually painfully dull and only interesting or fulfilling because I have the capacity to remember so much rather than coming up with anything new. When I should chance to be so bold as to try to create anything new I’m instantly and mercilessly punished with twice as much time spent catching up on the banal items I was forced to omit in order to actually do something novel. Eight hours of development is paid for by 16 hours crap, as the saying goes.
So it is at roughly this point that photography and writing enter the picture. Over the years I’ve acquired a certain knack for both of these activities, though I’m sure some would take issue with my results. These are both pastimes that HAVE no right answers. Every time I take pictures I take my best guess at what is most aesthetically pleasing or what will inspire viewers the most and every single time I am utterly wrong. This is a puzzle about which I have no clue and it engages me. No mere exercise of recollection this. Art is varied, complex and often beyond reason. Or, at least, beyond the current reason that I possess. That makes it all the more attractive and interesting. I do NOT have the right answer. I’m forced to go spelunking for it each time I put my eye to the lens or my pen to the paper. That, my dear readers, is satisfaction. Plumbing the great unknown depths of a world unknown. And that is why you find me spending my weekends writing or taking photos rather than programming a computer. I refuse to spend my free time in pursuits so clearly deterministic. Give me the seething quantum uncertainty of the creative process any day.