Tuesday, 6 May 2014

I feel guilty when I photograph flowers.

I feel guilty when I photograph flowers.

I don't object to it universally, but this era is one in which originality in arts of all kinds is sought and revered above all else; far above aesthetics or simple beauty, both of which are often completely irrelevant now, perhaps even detracting from the perceived talent of the artist.  Unaccompanied beauty often won't be noticed.

The world doesn't need more pictures of flowers.  What has been more photographed?

(Other than selves, in blurry bathroom mirrors.)

The pressure, in my own craft as a silversmith, and in my hobby as a photographer, to create what is unique, original, not done before, feels so intense that I feel guilt and a sense of failure, for not having adequately met it.

I wonder if I can somehow shake the guilt I feel in finding happiness in capturing, creating, and revelling in nothing more than what is beautiful.  It's alright to do so, isn't it?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Seeking Community

This afternoon I went to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church to act as a volunteer for their Thursday evening Community Cafe which serves a free dinner for anyone who needs it. The food is donated each week by Wegmans and Trader Joe's.

I had already made a connection with a long time member of the church a few weeks ago, a 60ish woman who immediately adopted me and has done everything she can to welcome me to whatever activities at St. Andrews interest me.

Tonight was meaningful for me for many reasons, and one of them is that it was new for me to participate in a community activity at all and to do so was so good.  The people I worked with were spectacularly friendly, and they came from everywhere; Episcopalians, Catholics, a sullen high schooler fulfilling community service hours, whatever I am, two young Mormon missionaries who come every Thursday to help and who were probably the most immediately kind people I have ever met.  The amazing meal that was created was presided over this week by an Italian chef and a professional caterer.

It was beautiful because it was communal.  There was no real hierarchy; everyone worked together with upbeat focus to prepare a gorgeous meal.  People who needed a meal were fed food that truthfully rivaled the best one could find in this town and it was a real illustration that there are ways to be a person who doesn't just believe in adding dignity to the world, but to act like one.  I personally don't want to be someone who only ideologically believes in compassion.

And the handmade lemon custard cream puffs that I helped assemble were to die for.  One of the volunteers proposed immediate marriage to the chef upon tasting them. ;)

If it sounds like I'm patting myself on the back a little, I am.  It is typical for me to feel lonely, and to espouse my values of compassion, and atypical for me to be brave enough to leave my home and involve myself. I am pleased that I did so, and that in one night I learned so much about how a person can direct their life differently than I have, if they want to.

 I will go back as many Thursdays as I can.  When I am well, I will help cook and bus tables and when I am not, I will sit quietly with the Mormon Sisters and cut fruit and vegetables for salad and learn about their lives.

I crave community and connection and I felt so completely welcomed tonight and I hope everyone who ate with us felt the same.