I thought it might be fun to have a few guest posts* on the blog while I’m neck-deep in book writing, so I’ve asked a few pals to tell us why creativity is so important in their lives. I’ll still be popping by for the occasional tiny hello (and photos, of course) and I also have a couple of fantastic Creative Life interviews up my sleeve too. I’m thinking of all of you as I write these chapters, thinking about what you’d want to know and what will be helpful. I’m being as honest as i can, and continually pushing myself to dig deeper, down into the guts of healing and creativity. There’s no map to where i’m headed so i’m making it up as i go along :)
Now, on with the show! My first guest poster is the indomitable and fabulous, Ms Sas Lockey…
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The first time I took a photo of myself as an adult, was when I Unravelled. It was bloody terrifying. And it necessitated many minutes (okay, an hour) spent doing my hair and make-up. Because even though I spend every day wearing my face in the world, taking a photo felt (still feels sometimes) very different.
Like many people, my relationship with the camera has not been a happy one. I was so self-conscious as a child, so awkward and uncomfortable in my body, family photos of me show a dour and sunburnt child with a tangled ginger ‘fro from the New Zealand beach air. Images of teenage me painfully show the increasing awareness of how unattractive I felt. I look so miserable. And these were the vignettes my dear Gran chose to enlarge and frame for her wall (aka: Hallway of Shame). The whole business of taking photos became associated with feeling completely rotten about myself.
Since then about thirty years has gone past. And because of everything that has happened to me, I have managed to let go of so much fear and learn how to be my own best friend. And living this knowledge makes me feel a little bit like wonder woman; as though I have a glorious secret.
But even with my grown-up knowledge and confidence, it has taken me the longest time to be comfortable in front of and behind a camera. As a blogger, I have always used words to tell my story, it wasn’t until Unravelling that I even considered that pictures can do this too! When I upgraded my battered and scratched blackberry to an iPhone, a switch was flicked: it was so convenient to always have a zippy little camera in my pocket. I found I was noticing EVERYTHING.
Now I see photos all over the place: mundane everyday things like the contents of my breakfast bowl or a stack of books. I am so much more aware of detail: dappled light on a stone wall, trees dipping into the river, street signs. I have taken so many photos of our cats, Rex and Badger, they actually pose now. With props.
Apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic have made it so easy to experiment. I have a Posterous site that I post my photos to (this took minutes to set up, it’s really easy!), and now there is an extra thrill from sharing what I see.
When I first met Susannah, there were several occasions where I would find myself smiling reassuringly at strangers on the street, in case they thought I was Bonkers Talking-To-Herself Lady, when it was just that I had kept walking and talking and Sus had paused a minute earlier to polaroid a rusty abandoned van. I have always been so impressed (and a bit envious) that she sees beauty everywhere.
Now I completely understand that joy of creating something, just by pointing and clicking. And it has completely shifted my perspective of how I see my little corner of the universe.
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Blogging at Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour and tweeting as @saslockey, Sas is a London-dwelling, ex-pat kiwi. By day she tackles government officials and tech-savvy geeks (usually wearing red pants). Off duty, Sas is an avid reader, driven by curiosity. She is fascinated by proper science, philosophy and the possibility of aliens. Sas is coulrophobic. She does not have an Etsy store.
[photos by Sas – portrait of Sas by me]
* all guest post slots have now been allocated. Thanks to everyone who’s enquired!