Sunday, February 28, 2016

Create! In Spite of the Doubt

One thing I remember about my mom is how she loved to write poetry. She would write poems or lengthy thoughts from her heart in birthday cards, in her journal, and I suspect in her anniversary cards to her husband(s).

Two of Mom's photography pieces
We would joke about the “book” mom would give us on each occasion. 

I would tell her how good her poetry was; how raw and open and soul-baring yet she never believed it. She didn't think she was good. She didn't try to get published because she didn't believe in herself. Publishing isn't the absolute goal for artists but she didn't even write as much for herself because she didn't believe in herself.

She lived with doubt enveloping the creativity within her.

Yet she continued to create. 

Photography was Mom’s passion. She didn't think she was good at that either but her love for it seemed to be greater than her insecurity. Other Brother and I are fortunate to still have her some of her photographs and I think he even has some of the original negatives (this was a pre-digital age!).

Mom was not content to just take pictures – she wanted to have a hand in developing them too.  She turned a built-in room that was intended to be used as a bar (hey, it was the 70s) into a dark room and loved to spend time processing her photographs.  (Now that I think about it, it was most likely a “dual purpose” room.)

The door would be closed and we had strict instructions to stay out until the developing process was complete.  Sometimes Mom would allow us a peek and I remember seeing the photos soaking in bins of solution and then hanging like laundry across the room.

Mom would haul us to parks and lakes and goodness knows where else in order to get the perfect shot. I don’t recall a lot of candid shots but know there were plenty of staged shots and several “takes” until Mom was satisfied with the moment she was trying to capture.

If the photography thing didn’t work out, she certainly could have been a director. 

Mom chased storms before storm-chasing became a thing and loved to find a bigger and better camera lens, various filters and other equipment.  She was easy to buy presents for at Christmas – anything photography related made her happy.

It's ironic that the people who are born to create are often times also riddled with insecurity.

Mom continued to indulge her artistic passion but always with the nagging belief that she was not good enough to show her writings or her photos to anyone other than family and friends.

Even opening up that little bit took guts.  Mom did not completely let her doubts and fears keep that talent inside of her. She was able to create, keeping her doubts beside her, and allowing herself to be vulnerable anyway.

Her photographs are special to me so I am very grateful she did not let her fear stop her from creating.

I must be thinking about this because, today, the Oscars will be broadcast. I love the movies but since caregiving duties have increased, I haven't been able to see as many as I would like. I do love to watch the awards, not for the celebrity aspect, but because I love seeing the snippets of the work and hearing the speeches from people who are passionate about creating.

I love the creative process of it all – not just acting but the behind the scenes work: the directing, the writing, the photography and the collaboration.

Whether it is a movie, a painting, an illustration, a dance, book, screenplay, poem, song or photography, it's all about creating in spite of the doubt.  It is about the making of something that shoots out of your soul and sharing that with the world, even if that world is just your family and friends.

No comments: