This is the first post on my new blog, Skyboy Photos' "Sky Stories", and in thinking what to include in this post, I am somehow wanting to return to roots, to beginnings.
It was August 23, 1989. A crazy, impossible cloud like a red banner lit up the evening sky while I weeded in the garden. I was transfixed, grabbed my camera to climb up on the roof and photograph this strange apparition, and that was my first sky picture.
I started out selling a few greeting cards to the Nelson-Atkins Museum Bookstore sometime after that, primarily as a way to offset the high cost of photo printing in those days. (Remember film?) It was a scary thing to do, putting my photography out there for everyone to see. What if it wasn't any good?
As I look back over the years, I see it hasn't gotten any less scary to put my art out there in the world; it's simply that the things I am putting out there are different. They say that as an actor when you stop having stage fright, you stop being any good.
Boy, if that's true of art as well, I must be pretty darned good! Because I'm always pretty darned scared.
Speaking of stage fright, one of the scariest things I've done recently is to perform my poetry in front of an audience. On my first night, I was nearly rabid with fright, and when I finished I was sure the crowd had never in all their days seen such a miserable spectacle. Over a year later, I still feel the same way...but I've gotten much better at walking through the fear regardless.
What keeps me engaged is the feeling of discovering new worlds every day. It sounds trite, but it's true. There always seem to be more ideas in my head than there is room for in my schedule, more excitement about what I could do than the time to do it.
I recently had an opportunity to learn video production--movie-making--when the death of a good friend spurred me to create a video tribute of his life. It was a wonderful month of November as I learned how to move clips around, add sound, zoom in and out and make a movie. What fun! And I'm sure those skills will come in handy. Thanks, cousin Bruce Bayard, for your invaluable help learning the software. Of course, the best part was being able to honor my friend's life in a special way, and I was deeply moved by the experience. I also learned more about his life than I ever knew and got to meet many of his friends and family. And it felt as if I were helping him to live on in the memories of his many friends.
(By the way, you can see the film on my YouTube Channel here: "I'm Just Wild About Harry" .)
Spending all that time doing something which had no direct relation to my work, I worried about getting distracted and wasting time. But then I realized, this IS my work. Making art, creating something out of nothing, involves wearing many hats. Being open to the inner Muse when he or she whispers in the ear, "Hey, wouldn't it be really interesting if we....?" and you suddenly find yourself running off in an entirely new direction.
Otherwise, it's easy to keep going on a path that can become less and less fun. There is little enough reward for making art. If the fun goes out of it, there's not much left!
This graphic is something I did years ago and I think it is appropriate: It was fun! At the time, I didn't allow myself to enjoy it as much as I wanted to, and in fact, I captioned it "What happens When Skyboy Has Too Much Time on His Hands." Then I came up with all sorts of reasons for not sharing it with anybody. So it has been mothballed all this time.
In reality, we've all got nothing but time.
I'm resurrecting fun, then! Do something fun every day! Time is all we have, and we'll be dead for a lot longer than we'll be alive. Between our birthday and deathday, let's work, and create, and love, and suffer, and be joyous, and all the things that living creatures do. It is all any of us have.
And every so often, let's have fun, too!