Tuesday, October 31, 2006


On Sunday morning, while I was heading to Kenmore station to catch the bus to work, a man got on the train holding his stomach and unsteady on his feet. Once passengers cleared a bit and he made his way into the train and grasped the rail, I noticed bloody gash marks on his cheekbone and chin, a dark bruise beneath one of his eyes, and a rip in his shirt revealing a large, bleeding cut on his chest. When he turned to look for a seat, I saw a small knife handle imbedded deep in his lower ribcage.

That's what tipped me off that it was Halloween weekend.

And the sick expression? Probably too much mystery punch the night before. I just hope the poor reveller got through the Ride of Shame and made it safely home to wash off all the red dye.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Up, Over & Away

These days, life is triple-layered.

Three modes in which to function, three flavors of anxiety, three ways to answer a telephone. Sunday night I lay in semi-sleep, half-dreaming I was with set after set of ruffled parents, trying to help them buy their children's photographs, which I'd taken poorly, on a computer system which invariably lost whichever photo I tried to select. Last night, I dreamed of my own website; files spinning down the digital drain of deletion while I watched in dispair, unable to stop the encroaching blue progess line. Today my shoulders are so sore I wince when I rub them with my fingers; too, too many hours with my hands extended and my fingers active, like now.

When will I ever hit my stride? What, exactly, would that look like, and would I recognize it if I did?

The truth is, though, keeping my mouth just above the surface of the stress so I can breathe feels kind of good. Because it's the kind of stress I can tread, the kind that's taking me somewhere - not the meaningless, 9-to-5 stress that I've had before.

It is hard, though. I've cried twice now on the #60 bus, coming home at night from the portrait studio. The driver thinks I'm crazy, and keeps recommending that I call the MBTA and complain (and believe me, I have, but I never get past hold). But then I took up knitting, which helps the waiting time pass, and now my scarf is long enough to wear wrapped around my neck as I knit. I miss my boyfriend, who's working even harder than I am right now on a campaign job, but we find a few minutes here and there, and are asleep for most of them.

Dreamweaver and I have become tentative friends, and my site is coming along. Fellow photographers should check out JAlbum, some of the best free photo gallery software I've seen, and the BananAlbum "skin", which is the one I'm using for my galleries. There's not much to see yet - only "kids" "politics & events" and "abandoned umbrellas" are active - but all I want to do is sit at my desk and tinker, and learn this new language. With a good website and business cards, I figure I'm pretty darn hireable.

The money thing is going alright at the moment with two incomes and little time to spend anything, but I am pretty nervous about the winter, once my "steady" job ends. I'm accepting any and all dinner invitations, as well as hand-me-downs and canned goods. I realize this may be overdramatic... but I find it a romantic notion nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

You Know You're In Business When...

Still working on the "real" site, umbrellablues.com. Keep an eye out for it, though.

Happy Fall, y'all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Ooh, ooh, look! Jesse KB found a reference to my last blog post, as well as mentioning me in his... well aren't we all a cozy family around here.

Man, I really need a real website. Help, anyone?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Attack of the Yeahbuts!

Not unlike the mice that have taken an illegal sublet in my kitchen and who gnaw and crunch on peanuts that have dropped too far behind the fridge to sweep, the yeahbuts are driving me insane. Close cousins of the whatifs, the yeahbuts are a truly unwanted nuisance, because instead of being followed merely by an innocent hypothetical question, they are sure to deliver a real punch, a full-on objection to some well-meant idea or another.

So, it's not the end of the world if I take a risk to be a photographer - I'll wait tables. I've done it before, I can do it again.

Yeahbut! There were times you really hated waiting tables, and it totally wore you out, and left you with hardly any energy for yourself!

Oy, the yeahbuts, they're keeping me awake at night.

It has a lot to do with life lining up and slipping into place so nicely like rice settling in a jar, and maybe the fall coming - that unnerving and intoxicating sense of promise in the air. We should learn to harness these tides of new stamina and inspiration and ride them out as long as we can.

Change is good. Change is what you have been wanting ever since, at 24, you started to feel old. You can do it!

Yeahbut! What if you take the risk and it turns out it's not what you wanted after all??

(Sometimes, the yeahbuts and the whatifs breed and you get some inbred, disturbing blend of the two. The yeahbutwhatifs.)

I've been poking at them with a broom, so far as I can reach them where they hide. I sent them scattering for a good little while by plunging in and interviewing for a job at a portrait studio, and, to my surprise, got it. Oh, shit.

Yeahbut... but... you can't afford that, and it's only part-time after the holidays and it doesn't have health insurance, and you of all people do not need to risk not having health insurance, young lady, and anyway you sure as hell can't leave CS now, in the midst of a huge fundraiser! What are you thinking?!

You see what I'm saying? They're viscious.

With the help of some friends, and the hiring of some others, I'm starting to build a humble little business; a couple political candidates here, a wedding there, and now overly priveledged children and mothers in Chestnut Hill, where the buses don't even go because why would they want anyone in their mall who's reliant on the bus for transportation, my god. I prepared an invoice today, my friends. I had a job to do, I named a price, I did the job, and I wrote an invoice. And someone wrote a check, per my request to "please make all checks payable to..." Me Photography.

(Sorry, but: an aside. I ride a bus to work every day, from the chic South End, into the not-so-chic South End, and into the decidedly-not-chic Roxbury... and on the way pass an entire block of a housing project on Harrison Avenue. The funny thing is, and not funny-ha-ha, that there's a bus stop just before the project, next to the chi-chi grocery store Foodies, and another one a good half-mile past that, once you get to the BU Medical area... but not a single one between the two? If you want to get on the bus, even if you see one coming towards you from way far away, and even if you run to catch up with it... it's going to go right on by if you happen to be on either side of that block.

Which really makes me want to go into my constant, constant gripe with the state of the MBTA and the Boston attutide in general, but I'll refrain, except to say that when I leave Boston, it'll be the weather and the T that drive me away.)

But given any luck I won't be leaving Boston just yet.

The truth is I'm terrified; if nothing else, with CS I could rely on the solace that it's meaningful work, that it matters. It was a meager, but steady, paycheck, too. I think I've just thrown myself back into the throes of retail, given up my short if gritty commute for a long hour-plus on two buses, and thrown the security out the window, for a part-time job taking pictures and the flexibility to maybe, maybe, start something of my own.

Yeah, but. Maybe this is how people do it. Maybe if I didn't do it now it wouldn't happen, whatever it is.

And yeah, it's not much, but... I think it's gonna be okay.

It seems like there's so much other news to share, but now that I'm sitting down face-to-face with this... well, interface, most of it eludes me. I'll leave you with some pictures from one of the last warm days on the Esplanade.

Okay, enough of the cityscapes. Let me just say about the individual that follows that I've rarely seen such a celebrity reaction to anyone who walks into a scene, much less someone running for political office.

Deval Patrick is captivating. And as a photographer, I have to offer that I'm impressed; the man never seems to blink, which can be a portraitist's curse (god, don't you just love these terms I'm throwing around in regard to myself?)

He just had the perfect thing to say to everyone.

Ow, that had to hurt, huh?

I leave you with one more return to the Charles. You're probably having the same reaction to the following photo that I did:

What the bejesus....?

Go with it. Trust me. Just go with it.

....and... um... not to get all high-falootin', but... all images are copywrite of me. Just ask first, you know?