How strange life is...This week I've been preoccupied with reading and thinking about the tragic loss of two brilliantly-talented photographers: Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who were killed in Libya. Each man left an enduring legacy of remarkable images and humanitarian work.
"...Along the rocky path to peace,
tears wash away the blood of innocents
spilled in someone else's cause."
- from the poem "I will remember you"
I've been thinking about how little time we are given to make a positive impact on this world. And time is flying; it's only after a health scare - or turning 50 - that you realise just how fast.
I've been searching through thousands of unpublished photos - some of them quite good - and wondering why I haven't used them; why I haven't sent them to a magazine editor... fear of rejection; of not being perfect? I don't want to be someone who dies with her song unsung; with promise unfulfilled. It's odd that I cultivate imperfection (vintage and antiques, rubbed by the hands of time) in my home, but obsess about it in my work.
I've been despairing over hapless antics of politicians around the world, as suffering intensifies. Then experienced the weird disconnect of being focused on conflict in foreign lands, as decorating and photography books arrive in the mail. And while I'm thinking about senseless wars and the foibles of humanity, I'm posting a cheery photo of my Fiesta collection! But isn't this how we go on... compartmentalising things; refusing to dwell too long on sorrows that are difficult to bear; trying to prioritise demands on our time and snatching fleeting moments of joy whenever possible?
A sad message from a faraway friend - with whom I've been too busy to keep in touch - that her marriage is in trouble. A burly stranger climbing a ladder and suddenly appearing in the open doors of our balcony, seeking access to the house next door. As I'm typing this, a window washer on a ladder (we're on the second and third floors) has appeared next to me, without warning. The last time that happened, I was in my friend Heidi's 8th-floor studio across the street from the New York Public Library. I was seven months' pregnant and it gave me a fright, as a window-washer's silhouette appeared. Heidi opened the window and scolded him for scaring a pregnant woman.
Just now outside my Dutch window, five men and a child in Scottish kilts and a woman in a long dress are walking down the street playing bagpipes! Totally unexpected. And isn't that the way we live, never knowing what might happen next?
So this week's lessons and reminders for me? Stop procrastinating and create more opportunities to tell the stories of those who are struggling. Carpe diem!