|One of my photos. Someday |
I hope to get a real macro lens
and take true macro photos.
Confession time: for some inexplicable reason, I feel sheepish and somewhat ashamed to admit to reading any kind of “self-help” book. Why? I dunno. I guess I still get caught up in wanting to look like I have it all figured out. Or at least that I have myself figured out by now. I am almost 40, after all. But that is sooooo not true. And I shouldn’t be ashamed of that. I often proudly proclaim that the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. I know it’s okay not to have all the answers. So why this paranoia about admitting to reading about self-improvement?
Okay, well let’s be honest: it is partially because so many self-help publications are complete nonsense. There are lots of snake oil salesmen about, peddling their wares. I’ve paged through books, magazines and websites that end up telling me nothing I didn’t already know, stating the obvious, and otherwise wasting my time.
The first time I read and LOVED a piece of work belonging to the self-help genre was Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. So well-written and insightful! We could be BFFs based on what I know about her from her prose. I learned a lot about myself thanks to Gretchen, one thing being: be myself and don’t apologize for it. So here I am, telling you about the self-help books I read.
Anyway, I digress...
An idea of Tharp’s I just read about is that (it’s her belief) that we all have strands of creative code wired into our DNA – into our imaginations – that determine how we create. She used the analogy of the focal length of a camera’s lens (which totally worked for me). Are you a wide-angle kind of artist or do you apply a close-up viewpoint? On a grander scheme, it’s the difference between one’s work being representative of the essence of life versus the details of living.
This was an epiphany for me. Every so often, I discover someone else’s thesis and exposition that says succinctly, what has been floating around in the sea of my mind, just out of my grasp.
I am so totally a close-up person. For a hard-core, creative example, I can tell you that macro photography is a favorite of mine. On a practical, daily-life level, I am very detail-oriented. Type-A personality, borderline OCD. I like organization, systematic approaches, planning and order. My husband is pretty much the opposite. I am a scientist; Chris, a philosopher. On the beach, the huz sits in the sand, staring over the surf at the horizon and ponders the meaning of life; I crawl around the rock jetties in pursuit of sea life. I want the “how,” he wants the “why.” I want Michelangelo’s sketchbook; he wants to soak in the Sistine Chapel. If we were members of the crew on the Enterprise, he’d be Picard inviting alien races to tea to get to know their social customs; I’d be Dr Crusher scanning their biological functions in sick bay.
It’s not that I didn’t know some of this about myself already. But since I’m always focused in, looking to the details of life, I often need that jerk backwards that makes me stop and consider the bigger picture. Discovering the philosophy behind my behavior helps me to know myself better and therefore find and use my strengths, and downplay, or adjust for, my weaknesses. Maybe that’s why my hubby and I compliment each other so well: I keep him grounded and he helps my fly.
We’ll see where this realization gets me. My problem, I think, will come from the fact that I enjoy all kinds of art – from abstract pieces that embody the human spirit, to narrative pieces that illustrate the details of living. I need to pay attention to my creative attempts and discover how far I can stray from my usual repertoire to reach for growth before I tip the scales and face-plant into failure. I hope my personal mining will help me improve my writing if not other artistic endeavors.