In high school, I worked on an oral history magazine called I Ain’t Lying. I learned how to take photographs, develop film, print pictures, edit interviews, layout text, and manage a staff. I think I also learned about writing dialogue. I transcribed a lot of interviews, which gave me a feel for natural speech. My mother advised the magazine. We recently found these photographs, taken during interviews.
I am almost never without my iPhone. When I get the urge to take a picture, I pull it out and snap. This is bad for my photography because I tend to get crappy photographs and they are very low resolution compared to my Nikons.
Here’s a good example. I should have taken the one-minute walk back to the house to retrieve a real camera. I could even have put on the macro lens. Then, I would have had a chance of getting these dicots in all their beauty. And, since they are the first seedlings in my garden this year, they deserve a real photograph.
These are my raised beds. Richard and the boys built them three years ago. We had a great year the first year and a so-so year the second. I am hoping for another good year. I am using good seeds and starting most of them inside. Last year, we had a big flash flood that washed out the middle bed and took the wind out of my sails.
So far, all the water I’ve used has come from my rain barrel. I expect my water needs will exceed this supply, eventually, but right now it’s nice to be using rainwater.
One caveat on the iPhone photography thing. It has saved my butt a few times when the real camera I had along didn’t work for some reason — usually a dead battery. I had to use it to get photographs of classmates at a recent funeral and the kids’ MathCounts team.
Guest on Read, Write, Howl
My writer friend Robyn Hood Black did an interview with me that appeared on her blog. She pulled a few obscure facts out of me that tickled some of my other writer friends. This photograph is a clue.
The photograph below is another clue.
Stewart has a bunch of other Perfect Pairs on her website in the teachers’ resource section.
Please let me know if you have come up with interesting ways of using Wolfsnail or Growing Patterns in your classroom.
I am trying to be more intentional about my photography. I decided to check in again with the Friday photo challenge. This week’s challenge is self-portrait. In embarking on my self-portrait, I took along my husband. I’m not sure whether it says something good about my prowess as a photographer, but I know it says something good for our marriage. Richard used the Nikon D7000′s video setting to document our session and I’m sure he’ll be weighing in with a short movie soon. (I cringe to think of it.)
I took this with the Nikon D700 on a tripod. I am holding the Nikon D200, pretending to take a photograph. I had the camera on the timer setting, which gave me about 20 seconds to get into position. I tried from several different angles. This is the one I liked best.
We’ve got winter storm warnings today all over the place. In my little spot in Jackson, I’ve noticed a very little bit of snow and, maybe, sleet. I am hoping the predicted 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice does NOT accumulate. I’d rather the tree branches and power lines stay intact. This photograph was taken in December 2009, when the two trees that mark the entrance to my driveway were in glorious color. This will have to be my sunshine today.
Am inspired to work again on the work-in-progress. I want it to shine like these leaves in the sun.
I am a very social person. I get energy from interactions with people. I like to work in collaborative settings. Nonetheless, I find myself self-employed and working from home. I’ve done the things one does to mitigate the isolation of this kind of work. I belong to groups of people like me who meet regularly to share experiences. I do group exercise every day. I lunch with friends who have regular jobs.
Every once in a while it doesn’t feel like enough. A long time ago I had a job writing for a daily newspaper. I faced daily and weekly deadlines and I sat regularly with editors. We brainstormed and planned. Editors did trouble-shooting, pointed out my mistakes, and praised my good stuff. It felt great when together we managed to produce something good for the next day’s paper or for a big project.
There are days when the work I do is full of people: conferences, school visits, artist residencies. By hook and crook, I’ve managed face-to-face meetings with my editor for each of my two books. In the thick of the publishing season, emails fly back and forth and, when necessary, we talk by phone.
Right this minute, however, I am in an in-between place. I am working on a lot of things, but I don’t have a project under contract. I worked from home the entire month of January. I have lots of words to show for it, but many were logged in writing grant applications and lesson plans. Necessary, but not as gratifying as writing a picture book or a memoir chapter.
I’ve reached out to some folks with my malaise and they’ve been understanding. But, a voice in my head is saying that what I need isn’t going to come from anyone else. I am reminded of what a particular coach used to say when I struggled in the final laps of a mile or two-mile race. “Get your head right.” He told me I wasn’t being beaten by better athletes (though often I was running against better athletes), I was beating myself. I needed to reach deeper, face the challenge, and give my best.
So, tomorrow I’ll get back in the chair and put my fingers on the keys. I’ll write my way out of this. I will.