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here it is.
i know it's time to spill my mind, but before i begin i just want to tell you a bit about this photo.
i woke up at 5am this morning. it was dark and cold and groggy but i managed to drag myself up despite how hard it was. my parents and i had already planned this a couple days back when we visited the same beach. we wanted to catch the sunrise, actually. my dad told me that that location was the best for catching sunrises, since there was nothing in the way, and it was facing in the right direction. we were hoping to see all these beautiful colours and watch the sun come out from behind the water. we wanted something magnificent and beautiful and spectacular and that's what i wanted to capture as well. so we left home and we drove a while down to this beach, and much to my surprise there were already so many people out and about the streets. there was only one person at the beach when we arrived. but by the time we walked to it he/she disappeared so we were left alone in the dark (and dim light) on the beach. we set up our stuff and got ready to take some photographs.
but we knew right away that this beautiful, breathtaking scene we planned on getting wasn't going to happen.
the wind was picking up so quickly, and it was freezing cold. i could even walk properly because the wind was so strong. i could tell the 'the end' sign i cut out earlier wasn't going to show, and might even be blown away or break in the violent wind. then we looked up. there were clouds everywhere. and it looked like it was going to rain. the most important part of the sky was covered by clouds and there was little to no chance of seeing any actual colour.
of course i was devestated! what was going to happen now? everything i planned was going down the drain and all my backup plans became more and more un-doable. it was a nightmare.
but then i realized. it doesn't have to be. i had been putting way too much pressure on myself for the last day. yes, it's the last day and you want to end it with a bang, it's true. but i almost lost myself by wanting to make such a big bang that when the circumstances weren't right for the photo it turned into a nightmare. i realized that this was just like any other day i had before this. the day i bought props but didn't end up using them. the time i went outside and got covered by unexpected snow or rain. every single time i walked out that door without having any previous ideas in mind and just creating something that came from within. i had actually done that most days of my 365 without realizing. i could do it. and i needed to do that.
so i did.
there is just something so beautiful about the unplanned and unexpected. i've learned that through my 365. no matter how much you want everything to be the opposite - planned and laid out and thought out - it will never happen. that's just life and how life goes. i can say that for almost all my photos ive taken in the past year, not many photos have been completely planned and thought out. i remember in some instances where i tried to do so, and it just turned into a complete mess. or there was always some kind of factor that forced you to move on and change it up no matter how much you didnt want to.
it didnt only happen in my photographs. my project really outlined my life in the past year as well. what i experienced through this project was nothing like i've ever felt before in my entire life. i know it was change for sure. change in many different ways and forms. i used to be really uptight about having to know everything and what was going to happen next and what was going to happen after that. you could say i was a lucky kid. growing up i didnt have many falls or bumps. i experienced joy and contentment more than anything. so i used to be scared of the future and scared of failure when i didnt know what was coming my way. scared of anything dark and gloomy and depressing and angry... scared of anything bad. throughout my project i came to meet a lot of the bad in life. the first few times were definitely hard, but as it went on i acknowledged it. i accepted it. later i even embraced it. i failed to do a lot of things this past year. i fell and bruised and broke and cracked and got destroyed many many times. but this is what we need to grow. you see, there is no life without bad. without bad, we wouldn't feel the good.
i guess you can see it in some photos my encounters with 'the bad'. i used to not want to upload because my photo was 'bad', or i didnt have the best day ever. but eventually at many points i stopped myself. this project was about documenting my life as well, and i wanted to keep it as real as possible. i used to have a lot of aesthetically pleasing photos that may have been so intriguing and beautiful and breathtaking in many, many ways. i always just thought that having a nice photo was the only thing that mattered. i was completely wrong. when i look back at some of those photos, i can't help but feel
Day 285 - It's Coming...Soon
April 18, 2008.
The big 3-0 is coming soon. Only 3 weeks away.
It's not so much that I worry about getting older. That's not really such a big a deal to me. It's that I hate not being progressed as far along as I thought I'd be by now.
And as much I hate being a cliche statistic, this rapidly-approaching milestone is sending me—as it does many—into a disparaging state of disillusionment.
So many things that are unresolved. It's like reading a long, engaging novel and then closing it forever and burning the book without reading the final chapter. It is throwing into sharp focus all of the things that don't fit in with my ideal image of leaving my twenties.
Things I have not yet accomplished. Things I may have missed out on for good. Things I can still do, but will now require far more effort, luck, whatever than they would have 5 years ago (in some cases, little short of divine intervention). Things about me that should have been resolved (or evolved) by now.
1 - I am not doing what I always dreamed of doing to make a full-time living.
Yeah, I know...I'm the first one in history to ever feel like this. But the more I stay in my day job to cover the bills, the tougher it's going to be to make a transition. Illustration is what I went to school for—it's what I planned on doing. But out of necessity I became a designer, with the plan of getting a little security, a little nest-egg, and than making the transition.
There was a glimmer of hope for me when I got those first two children's books in the last nine months...but after a series of rejection letters from agents, combined with a non-response to my requested manuscript, combined with a studio deal that fell through, combined with no place to produce work, combined with the fact that my only "wins" and "opportunities" seem to be dependent on a "go-nowhere" town that I lament living in a little more each day...well, "hope" is now becoming a lot like gasoline to me—something I obviously need, but can barely afford to have.
Sure, people love art...as long as it's free. Amazingly enough, talent earns a lot of high praise and compliments, lots of respect and adoration, right up to the point where people are amazed that I actually want to be—*gasp*—paid for my hours and hours and hours of work. "You actually want to be paid? You actually want to make a living at this? Sorry, Mr. Litwin—even though I'm a wealthy, business-owning mogul who already makes more in a month than you do in a year and will certainly collect a profit from your work, I just can't afford to pay you what I know you're worth. My mistake—I thought you were willing to donate your creative talent, hours of work, and years of expensive collegiate training for free."
2 - I am beginning to wonder if I'll ever leave Greenville.
It wasn't like we really planned to stay here...it just sort of happened. After college, my job search extended everywhere from Altanta, GA to San Jose, CA. But the first job that I finally was offered (and desperately needed) was at ECU here in Greenville. I continued my job search even through my new employment, but I never found anything any farther away than Kinston, NC. A job that—I'm sorry to say—I took and suffered through for 14 months before finding a better job at......you guessed it.....ECU.....in Greenville.
Apparently Greenville is the only place in the United States that accepts me...which I find a little depressing. Please don't misunderstand—Greenville is not a horrible place. I just don't find it to offer a whole lot of opportunity, and certainly not the adventure I now thirst for. Most of the town is owned by a half-dozen people who seem to be largely uninterested in facilitating any growth that doesn't score an immediate profit in their pocket or get their name put on the side of a building. The only things here that seem to be growing here are the University, the Hospital, and Major Franchises. So, if you don't have a lot of money or connections, there is an enormous ceiling here, featuring the same kind of indestructible glass that they make airplane windows out of.
I always imagined providing my wife and children with a life that was full of adventure, new experiences, and beautiful places. I'm sure this can be attributed in part to growing up at the beach. But now I feel like I have anchored everyone connected to me to a warm, comfortable, risk-free rut. Every so often, I get that excited felling where I say to myself "Hey! This is America! Do whatever the hell you want! Move the family to a new town! Start your own business! If you want to get out of the rut, just DO it!" But then I remember the "realities"...Bills. Debts. No Extra Money. Children's Needs. Close Proximity to Extended Family. And then the prospect of changing our lives become a bit more...complicated.And all my dreams just feel like they go right down the toilet.
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