the lyrical jump

I felt the change coming, the same way I've heard my Grandmother tell how she'd known when a Quebec snowstorm was coming days ahead, with no real evidence to point to. Sometimes, you just feel these things, and do the best you can to prepare. 

I knew it was coming but I had no idea what it would bring. It was as though all the elves in my creative North Pole just didn't show up to work one day, and then the next, and so I played the JayMay station on Pandora loud enough to drown out my fears, and made bowl after bowl on my pottery wheel, just waiting, and listening. 

It's a strange place to be, as an artist, in this land of a million questions but no answers. I had a list, pages long, of what I knew I didn't want, but my lineup of plans and what-comes-nexts was entirely blank. 

I journaled a lot, and called my friends a lot, and finished knitting a sweater that I started last year. I cleaned the bathrooms every other day and at one point the neighbor downstairs actually complained that I was vacuuming too much. I was.

The calm before the linguistic storm. The countdown before the lyrical jump. 

I was letting go of things the only way I really know how, but there was a tiny voice that worried the muse would never return; part of me definitely wondered if the workshop had closed for good. 

As a Birthday present to myself, I got an annual physical and my blood work showed I had no iron, no iron stores, low b12 and low folate. I cried on the drive home because of course my body was mimicking my soul, I have always been that girl. In the car, watching the mothers who wear red lipstick and high-heels whizz by, I wished so hard, that I wasn't me. If only I could be them.

But then again, no. I have things to do in this lifetime and wishing I could unzip my skin and step into someone else's is the last thing I need to be doing.  

I have been eating one half of a Trader Joe's children's vitamin since then to try and bring my levels back up. 

But really, I've started writing, which I think (I know) is exactly what this whole vapid creative season has been preparing me for, and what will bring life back to my bones. 

It's time. 

There is so much more I have to say about all of this, but my my kids just walked in the door and one wants to play "keep the balloon up jumping game" (again, our downstairs neighbor loves us), and the other is (always. permanently.) hungry.

I'll share more about this new beginning, so soon. 





Wiley and the Water / A Preview

On the drive home tonight, speckled with deer and wild jack rabbits, Thomas asked what the biggest difference was, shooting a man for the first time in the river. I didn't have an answer then, but after editing these previews I now know, without a doubt.

When I am shooting women, I am constantly and freely telling them what I absolutely love about them, because, each and every time, I am falling in love. It's part of what I do and what I'm all about. I can't help it, and I don't really want to. 

But, with Wiley, I locked a lot of that up, because I didn't want it to be awkward for him. And now that I'm home, and editing, I'm just like fuck that. Why was I afraid to tell this beautiful human being just how incredible I think he is? Don't brilliant and strong men deserve to hear it, too? Don't their rough edges deserve to be traced with grace? 

So, my friend, I just want you to know, I think you are beautiful and I think your freckles are awesome and I am totally humbled and honored that you came all the way from Washington and trusted me with this, tonight.

Here's to new beginnings... 

Erin // A River Story™

Here is a letter I wrote to Erin the night of her session while the ends of my hair were still wet. 


Beautiful Soul,

Thomas is asleep with Lily and I am sitting here feeling like my head has been cleared of everything and replaced with starlight. 

I truly don't know, sitting here in the dark, if it is possible for you to fully understand just how radiant you are. And it has nothing to do with your past, or anything like that. It's so much deeper, and higher, than any of that. I never understood what people meant when I'd hear them say, "I wish I could bottle up her sunshine," until this very moment. You have a gift, and I am just in awe. 

It's fascinating to me how, if tonight was a movie, it might look more like a comedy than a sacred story, but underneath it all, there was a constant hum of something so powerful and beautiful, and that's kind of how life is for some of us. Things might look hopeless or horrible, or terrifying or hilarious, but just below sea level, all the good stuff glows on, unharmed, unfazed. 

I felt vulnerable tonight. I felt humbled and nervous. And I want to thank you for that. For lighting my creative heart on fire, and trusting that in the end, it would all be ok. Better than ok. 

Here are a few previews, but I assure you, choosing just a few to share with you was close to impossible. These images... I just cannot find words. 

I just want to say, I see you. And I think you are really, really, realllly incredible.



That One Time...

I woke up yesterday feeling a little off, but I assumed it was because it's like ten million degrees here in Texas right now, and I probably didn't drink enough water the day before. 

We did our usual Sunday stuff; washed the car, bought too many paper towels at Costco, went to pottery class and made my first not-a-bowl. I had a baby headache, and still felt weird, but I just kept chugging my water and going through the motions, anxiously waiting for the River Story™ at sundown. 

The drive there was awesome, and I was hopeful that whatever was weird had passed. 

And then, just as I clicked the first shutter, I felt it: a flash of extreme nausea. The kind that makes you want to curl up in the coziest place in the world and just pour freezing water on your face. But I ignored it and kept going, chatting furiously about every little thing in an attempt to not think about how increasingly sick I was feeling. 

At one point, in the middle of it all, I might have dry heaved on the side of the water, and I might have almost fainted twice, too. And maybe if it was anyone else, I wouldn't have been able to carry on, but these two. These. Two. My goodness, their love. 

The session was set up for Lauren, and she mentioned in an email that her fiancee might jump in for a few at the end, but right away I noticed something: When Holt is near, Lauren GLOWS, and the second he lets go of her hand, or walks away, something shifts. It's incredibly subtle, and perhaps not everyone would even notice, but to me, someone who makes a living being deeply in tune with matters of the heart, it was glaringly, and most beautifully, obvious. These two really are complete when together. As if one spirit was mistakingly separated somehow, and it was only by finding one another that everything finally made sense. 

Yup, I threw up the entire way home, and last night was pretty rough (still have no idea what it was, but probably a bug since I'm doing great today!) but there was NO WAY I wasn't going to capture these two. I feel SO incredibly blessed that they were called to fly here to Austin to share these waters with me, and inspire me with some of the purest love I have ever seen. 

I haven't finished editing their full session yet, and I already posted a little preview, but COME ON, when you get to capture a love like this, you kind of owe it to the rest of the world to share freely! 

I cannot stop thinking about last night and how, no matter what you believe in, there is no doubting that these two were brought together by something far more powerful than anything logic can explain. I have been reading a lot of Oscar Wilde lately, and this passage keeps circling in my mind,

If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.

How incredible to witness that their wait is, most beautifully, over.