Friday, November 14, 2008

best laid plans and all that

Some days maybe it's better just to listen to your gut and stay home. I took today off and dropped Swee'pea off at daycare with the intention of taking my camera to the drop in centre. But once I dropped him off, I had cold feet. For one reason and another I haven't been to the centre in a few weeks, and I started to feel scared and self-conscious about just showing up with my camera. But since this was what I'd taken the day off to do, I made myself go. I figured I was just being silly, and once I got there I'd be fine.

On the way out my door, I had sudden misgivings. I have a brand-new winter coat. How can I go there in my brand-new winter coat? What if someone asks where or how I got it? I can't possibly admit it cost nearly $300. But it's my coat, so I wore it.

Sure enough, the first person to greet me comments first on my hair -- for once it is down and really long and big. Next he asks me about my coat - is it really made of titanium? I look to where he's pointing, and see the word on the sleeve. God, I'm such an ass where this stupid coat. I chuckle, "No, I think it's just the brand."

I end up having some really nice conversations, mostly with people I've photographed before. I ask them for more pictures, because the overcast light is soft and the sky is reflected in their eyes, but they all refuse. As I left, memory card blank, I wondered if maybe I should just quit this project. Maybe it's just not the right project for me.

So I go to the used bookstore, which had a gigantic red SALE sign on its wall yesterday. I'll feel better if I just buy more books, if I can just learn enough to feel comfortable. I pick out two books, The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard and Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, edited by William Zinsser, whose On Writing Well I already own. I rant internally about the price of even used paperbacks on my way to the cash register. Once there, the sales dude tells me they're on sale: one is 25% off and the other is 50% off. Oh, right. The whole sale thing that brought me in in the first place. I was too busy doubting myself and feeling stupid to remember.

So I go back to the shelves. May as well take advantage. And I pick up three more titles: Homesick by Jenny Lauren, another memoir of eating disorders (I haven't yet blogged about the anthology I read a few weeks back on the same topic), Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn, a memoir by a man who met his father while working in a homeless shelter, and Eudora Welty Photographs.

So a slight change in plans. Rather than spend the day on photography, I'll spend the rest of it reading. I still have to finish Gabor Maté's In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.


Mimi said...

Gabor Maté? What do you think? I've read and heard a bunch of interviews with him ... and well. What do you think?

Amanda said...

Mmm, enjoy!

Aliki2006 said...

New books...perfect.

Carmi said...

I, for one, hope you don't quit the project. I can't imagine anyone else would be able to bring the sensitivity that you bring to this place and to these people.

Sometimes, the photos just don't happen on a given day. Thankfully there are other days ahead.

Bon said...

photos BY Eudora Welty, or photos OF? i'm assuming by...but i only know her as a writer. cool. learn something new and all that...

and i too hope you don't quit.

Sus said...

Reading and photography - two equally compelling pulls for me too. How's the Eudora Welty book? Sounds cool.