With the submission of my final words and images for Vision & Voice, my part in this most recent book is now pretty much over. Done. And I can breathe again. But it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m tired. Drained. A little empty right now. In just over one year we’ll have released 3 print books – 2 of which are heading for at least 10 foreign language editions – and 10 eBooks. And clients still insist on hiring me, so there’s that too. 🙂
So now is the perfect time to do two things. 1. Start the process of re-filling the bucket of inspiration that I’ve just drained, and 2. Start the next book.
So without tipping my hand and telling you about the next book just yet, let me tell you about my bucket.
Right now it feels empty. But creativity is one of those things you replenish by the very act of using it, giving it away. So re-filling the bucket isn’t a matter of sitting back and waiting for someone to come along and fill’er to the brim. The muse doesn’t work like that. It’s a matter of going out to find her. Writer Jack London once talked about it as going out with a club to track her down and drag her back. That’s a little too neanderthal for me, but the notion is sound. You gotta go find her.
So I’m starting over again. Going back to square one. In my case square one is a frame of B&W T-Max 35mm film in my Pentax Spotmatic, the first SLR I ever owned. I’m going to go back to where it all started, free from the room full of gear and the preoccupations that come with making a living at this, and I’m going to shoot a roll of film just because. Because I like the sound of the film winding. Because I love the still-familiar feel of that old camera in my hands. Because I love the way the shutter bounces a little at 1/30. Because I love not being able to see the image the moment I take it. Because I love the imperfections, and the anticipation, and the fact that it’ll take a week – or more – before I can get the prints back. Sometimes jumping a rut requires steering hard to one side, and for me that’s going back to the beginning.
I’ve also packed my Hassleblad for Italy, along with a bag of expired Velvia film. When the gang has all gone home and I’m sitting in Venice alone I’m going to wander for a couple days and just shoot with an eye on enjoying the process and no thought to the end product. I can’t wait.
What are you doing to keep the bucket filled?