Owl In Tree - Cold Lake, Alberta
A close family member was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Beyond the "sucker punch" as she calls it, she's still finding out what type let a lone the treatment for this disease. It's still early in the diagnose phase in other words.
Being the creative that she is and the generally awesome chick that can laugh when most others are falling about themselves overwhelmed with life's little issues, she decided to start a blog. Her first two posts were commentaries about the discovery and her personal experience of finding out.
She also shared in her circle of friends that writing this way was exposing herself it was kind of like being naked. It's one thing sharing with your closest friends and family. It is completely a different matter when you're full open-kimono with the general public. Brings "being naked" to a whole new level.
I thought through what she wrote. I thought about my own experiences when encountering hardship. I thought about how sharing in that knife cutting honest kind of way and how that differs from writing like you're updating an antiseptic form letter. The key difference is the former is about experiencing the writer through words vs the latter where you're just reading words.
You see, you are the key. You are the linch-pin to creating compelling art vs just another run of the mill technically competent piece. The former is all about transmitting a personal experience. The latter is simply recording data. Those are two totally different things. And, really... The former is art while the latter is not.
Here's the thing, there are risks involved here. By displaying yourself through your art in this way you are exposed in a large and dynamic way. By being in open-kimono mode, you are revealing yourself to total strangers without the normal safety mechanisms in place that you might use if you met someone with a handshake. That means all the potential issues are right there--rejection, ridicule, belittling, anything you can think of negatively. They are all potentially right there. That's a problem isn't it.
What I am describing is there is a cost to being this way. Let me say, it's all worth it.
If you have an inkling that you want to connect with anyone through your art--name type of creative art here--you have to expose yourself. Think of what you've read that's made a real impact on you. I'm not talking stuff that merely looks great and is catchy. I'm talking stuff that makes a difference. That type of content has a human feature that's indispensable. Without that human part, it's without the foundation that makes it compelling.
I encourage you, if you're up to it, to put yourself out there, to be exposed for all to see. In the end your art will be stronger, the community will rejoice in connecting to your experience, you will make a difference.
PS - I posted this particular image because it reminded me of a scene in the new movie "The Big Year". The Jack Black character has an especially poignant scene with his dad when they found a Great Gray Owl just like this. The scene reminded me why I like nature photography and the many surprises it brings. I thought I'd share one of those surprises with you.
TreeCalendar 07Great Grey OwlSnowCalendarCatalog 19992000