Hope Is

Hope is not wishful thinking.
Hope is not a kind sentiment.
Hope is not a pipe dream, a positive attitude, or a good intention.
Hope is having your feet firmly planted in a field of sorrow, loss, or heartbreak and
still believing that a harvest of goodness will come on this ground.
Hope is the willingness to choose action instead of despair.
Hope is planting seeds of love paired with the patience to watch them grow, in their own time.
Hope is the way that loving another person lifts her head and strengthens her back.
Hope is participating in each other's healing just as surely as we cause each other's pain.
Hope is something I am only beginning to learn.
Vote hope. Let's picture it together.
Shutter Sisters Dream Assignment: Picture HopeLittlePurpleCow ProductionsVimeo

our most honest work yet

Photo: My new blue journal, with the first poem inside on the first morning of the year.

The good news in my Portfolio Project game these last few days has been the opportunity to read some of my new work--in person--to some dear friends.  The bad news came this morning, when a little one beat me awake and unrolled my latest roll of film all over the floor.  Mourning all those shots I'll never get again.

Literary merit completely aside, I know I'm doing my soul work over here, and the writing I've done ever since I wrote all the way to the fence has been deeply satisfying.  I'm traveling around with the little journal I started on New Year's Day at Jen's house, and completed just last week.  I was laughing with friends yesterday about the truly deep things that will be found someday in its pages like, "I'm ready for some toast now, or maybe an omelette." (More on my journal-writing philosophy here.)  But it also feels sacred to me, and when I read to my dear ones it becomes my prayer book, and we stand witness together as the mysteries of human wounds and human healing break through the plain-jane words and touch us with unknowable fingers. 

This is my most honest work yet.

Maybe this is the next round of the Portfolio Project game--to relinquish concern and consideration for the perceived quality of our work and to dig deep until we excavate a truer version of ourselves than we've known until now.  To abandon ourselves to our most honest work yet, and to let our dear ones bear witness to our path. (Keep sending me your gems for the Midpoint Gallery Show--jen at jenlee dot net.)

Through us despite us

Photo: A Grand Morning, Diana F+
"So much of being an artist involves that Nike slogan, 'Just do it.' So much good comes from our just showing up.  Of course it is seductive, the idea that we will one day be in the mood, and we will work that day like a 'real' artist.   But a great deal of real art is made under the radar.  We barely know we are working.  We just suit up and show up and grab what moments we can, and it is only in cozy retrospect that we see the level of skill we were able to muster.  It is humbling, the degree to which we are like automatons.  Our art moves through us despite us." Julia Cameron, in Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance
Jenthe Portfolio ProjectI have some really lovely pieces here.humility.

Podcast: Checking In/Keeping Score

Go ahead.  Pour yourself a cup of your favorite drink and snuggle up for a little check-in about how the Portfolio Project is going for us.  Heaven knows I'm comfortable enough with you to do so--you can hear me sipping away on my tea as I talk! Here is some pure raw material, in the hopes you can mine something useful for yourself.

**Update** Photo shop in Manhattan says they can do the service I'm looking for, for only a minimum of $25 PER FRAME.  Looks like it's going to be one of THOSE days. You can subscribe to the Portfolio Project podcast here. To start at the beginning of the project, go here.