i've been wanting to pass this on for the longest time. but i didn't want to scare the young or depress the old. alas, this is the best description of our lives that i've ever read. it's by bill jay, a photographer who writes for lenswork magazine. read at your own risk!
In recent weeks an unsual number of casual conversations with wannabe artist have harped on the same theme: "I'm still searching for what it is I want to do"; "I want to be poet/painter/writer/photographer or...but, no, I haven't I haven't actually written or created anything yet"; "I feel creative but i cannot decide what to create."
Give me a break. These are energy-vampires. I'm so tired of trying to appear interested in such self-indulgent whining (whingeing for those of you in Europe). So, one last time here's my answer to them, and to you, young photographer, ever-hopeful that the world is waiting for your art while you are waiting for your inspiration.
Certitudes do not exist. There is not one field, one specialization, that is destined for you. Chances are that you are not great at anything; most of us are just average, ordinary. Life's early peregrinations willy-nilly land us onto an unexpected habitable patch in the mud of everydayness. That's where you get to work; you sow, build, and procreate right there. You might occasionally notice that life seems easier, more glamorous, more rewarding somewhere else, but you ignore the fantasy. You dig deeper, plant more, right where you are. That's it.
You don't think that I have my own fantasies of what might have been? Perhaps with earlier luck, money, contacts I could have changed the world, done something important? Of course I believe I was destined for greatness in some other field, where I could enrich the lives of millions. You think I would have chosen, in the best of all possible worlds, that I would have spent so much of life's time and energy in thinking, writing, talking and practicing photography? You crazy? Who gives a shit? I could have given up every aspect of my photographic life at any point in the past and no one would have noticed.
Yet, yet...I have no regrets. This is where I landed and every day I am content to turn my attention to the small, even trivial, tasks at hand. I am content, and I pity those who are still wondering and wandering. I just don't want to hear about it.
you can read bill's essays at http://www.billjayonphotography.com/writings.html
at the moment i'm taking pics of the preparation for chico dance theatre's performance this next week.