Since I want to start 2017 by talking about being present and in the moment, I’m only going to give a passing few sentences to the past and the fact I haven’t updated my blog in eight months.
2016 was quite a year. Stuff happened. Some of it happened to me but a lot of it happened to the people around me. The majority of the stuff wasn’t so great, but some of it was pretty good. All of it took a significant amount of energy. More energy than I had to give while maintaining my writing at the same time.
And, to quote Forrest Gump… that’s all I’m going to say about that.
On to 2017!
What does Chris Pine have to do with this topic?
Actually, to back up a step, my story starts with Val McCallum. For those of you who don’t know, Val is an incredibly gifted guitarist I like who is also the son of David McCallum. You remember David. We’ve discussed him before:
Anyway, I was watching this interview with Val McCallum hosted by the photographer Sam Jones, (another favorite of mine) when I found that Sam had hosted an entire interview series called Off Camera. From there it was pretty easy to go down the Netflix/YouTube rabbit hole to Chris Pine.
ASIDE: Seriously. How many times have you found yourself looking up one quick item on YouTube only to find yourself two hours later watching Pernell Roberts and Heather Locklear running a Battle of the Network Stars relay race against Parker Stevenson and Melissa Sue Anderson?
Oh, just me? Ahem… Okay, then. Never mind.
I watched the Sam Jones interview with Val McCallum and later found an interview between Sam Jones and Chris Pine. Since I am currently
obsessed with closely following the career of Chris Pine, I was interested to hear his comments on photography and the difficulty of capturing a moment while still maintaining its authenticity.
Those comments played into my own difficulty in knowing when to record an experience to share it or easily revisit it, and when to just experience the moment and let my memories do the heavy lifting.
New York State of Mind
Among my highlights of 2016 was a trip to New York in August to attend the Writers Digest Writers Conference. On my first day in town I had a few hours before the conference started, so I spent them at the Museum of Modern Art.
One of the paintings on display was The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. It’s probably cliché, but that is one of my favorite pieces of art and I felt humbled to be in its presence. There was a pretty big crowd, but I eventually had my turn at the front and was able to get close enough to see the detail of the brushstrokes.
I actually considered taking a selfie, but felt it would somehow cheapen the experience. I then thought about taking a regular photo, but knew that my iPhone could never capture the brilliance of the artwork as successfully as the millions of photographs that already exist in countless art books.
So, instead, I just looked.
I tried to shut out the crowd and the museum and even the frame that the painting was housed in, and called to mind all I knew about the sad and magnificent genius who created the work.
I have no doubt that I made the right decision, because I remember the moments I spent at the MOMA standing in the presence of The Starry Night with complete clarity.
They are among my favorite moments of 2016.
What does “being present” in 2017 mean for me?
Well it doesn’t mean I’m taking a break from social media or no longer taking or posting photos. I still maintain my love affair with Twitter and my Facebook friends will continue to see me check in from various wild and extravagant locations like the grocery store or my couch.
As a matter of fact, I Instagrammed my breakfast this morning. (The omelet wasn’t quite as fluffy as I hoped, but it was perfectly flipped.)
More than anything, I want my presence in the moment to inform my writing in 2017. That includes my choice of blog topics and the way I express them.
Part of the reason for my delay between posts is due to the time I spend trying to decide what to write about and how to frame up various topics. Is it interesting enough? Funny? Do the pictures capture the mood? Will it be offensive to anyone? Am I sharing too much?
You might have noticed that today’s blog went a little all over the place and that was by design. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a few days, planned out the general flow and some of the pictures that might illustrate my points, but then I sat down and wrote it in one sitting. Organically.
Wish me luck as I try to stay in the moment of 2017 in both my writing and my every day life. To help me out, I got a few reminders to wear on my wrist to keep me on task.
Also, because, you know… bling!
Happy 2017 everyone!