My last post was in September, explaining my long absence, trying to convince you as well as myself that I still wanted to do this. That my heart was still completely in it. That I was working on it.
And I was working on it, truly; I took a photo later that week and had started on the review. Then work got in the way – and then nothing else mattered. Work always became my number 1 priority (photography wise that is) and I couldn't as well as wouldn't make time for the rest. Once I did my work, I turned off the computer, no more room for anything else.
My heart wasn't truly in it. In my personal photography. Not then. I don't like admitting it, but there you have it. I feared back then I might actually had stopped caring altogether. But no, that wasn't quite the case just yet.
I appreciate my work, I'm glad I get to do it. I'm grateful, forever, to everyone who's had faith in me and my capabilities as a photographer to document their smiling faces and their important moments. It's awesome that I get. to. do. that. I will always love doing what I do.
But there is MORE to me than this. Damn it, I miss the passion I used to have for my own projects. MY moments, MY people, MY home, MY places, MY memories, MY thoughts. For me photography has always been an outlet. When I couldn't find the words, I'd find the imagery. (Another reason why Reading & Reviewing is so deeply personal to me – the format is my way of truly expressing my views.)
The past few years, as my photography became more about work and less about artistic expression, I've felt lost and confused, and always searching for something. I stopped knowing what I wanted. And I stopped knowing myself. I stopped seeing. I feel like I've shut myself off. I was hibernating, and now I'm slowly waking up. And I want to do things but I don't know where to start. But you just have to take the plunge and start somewhere, anywhere, just as long as you START.
So I made the decision over the week to start here.
But I need to be clear. I am done with making promises. I'm done with trying to make this blog anything other than what I need it to be, which is a place to organize my reviews and my sporadic-other-book-related thoughts. You won't find daily posts here, or giveaways, or product recommendations (even though my inbox is flooded with marketing emails trying to get me to recommend you sunglasses). My reviews will be honest as always, which I imagine is all you want from a hobbyist book reviewer anyway. Just honest reviews, no fuss.
I don't want to alienate my readership – whoever is still left after months of radio silence after more months of radio silence – but I don't want or intend to be something I'm not. I'm not a daily poster. I'm not here to try and have more views and clicks. I won't social network everyone to death: I'm quite bad at keeping up with Twitter and Facebook pages and – obviously – blogs.
I'm not a blogger as they are defined today: someone who makes this their job and their priority. This instead is something I will try to do to the best of my abilities when I have the time and the energy. Because I know, from writing this, that I definitely still have the passion and the words.
I just need to have a little more belief in myself, and know that I can still do something that I can be proud of. I need to forgive myself for abandoning a project I've always claimed to love more than anything else I've ever done.
I'll try. And this time, I'll try for none other than myself.
A worldwide trending topic on Twitter today is about the books that are important to you. Blogpost time! In no particular order:
JK Rowling – Harry Potter series The Harry Potter series, which I started reading at age 18 when I lived in the US, allowed me to relive some of my childhood. I feel young and utterly cheerful when I read this series. It's such a wonderful world of magic that anyone, young and old, can enjoy. These books just bring me joy. A lot of it. And makes me feel like anything's possible 😉 I reread it regularly because they are just fantastic. After a very long period of not feeling any affinity with books, this series got me excited about reading itself again. Reading pages on end in one sitting. It had been years since I've felt like doing that.
Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice This book turned me from a cynic into a romantic. Rereading it regularly helps to keep that feeling alive. But it also taught me never to give into society's demands. (I used to hate it when I ran into a former friend, haven't seen each other in years, only to have their very first question be: "So, are you seeing anyone?" – it was really more important than "Are you studying?" "What do you do now?")
Elizabeth Wurtzel – Prozac Nation Having struggled with depression (as well as cyclothymia) multiple times from age 15 to 23, I read a lot of 'depression lit' to gain an understanding of what was happening to me. Prozac Nation hit me very hard. I still cry when I think about my reading experience. The author dealt with a lot more on top of depression, but I felt so, so understood and it actually helped me overcome some of the emotions I'd been dealing with. I felt supported somehow, a little less alone in the world. This book definitely changed my life.
Douglas Coupland – Girlfriend in a Coma This book's apocalyptic plot hasn't so much changed my world, but it has made me feel more responsible for the world as an individual, making me feel more conscious about my place in the world as one of many – and that one person perhaps can't change the world, but can contribute, however little that is in the grand scale of things. I try not to over-consume, to support organic food and to consider the environment and nature when I make certain choices.
Michael Cunningham – The Hours Like the Harry Potter series, this book greatly affected reading in itself for me (which is now a big part of my world). When I read The Hours, I started to really develop myself as a reader. (And this process was only strengthened when I began this book reviewing project.)
Patricia Volonakis Davis – Harlot's Sauce The most recent read of all, this book about a woman who has managed to get herself out of a hairy situation (a marriage which wasn't healthy) with willpower, strength of character and optimism. Patricia is a wonderful woman, and an inspiration. To just keep trying, to let go, to allow yourself to start over fresh and to do something with ideas.
Might add a few more to these later… but now I'm going to take my book (Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole) outside and enjoy the sun on this beautiful day 🙂
Edit: forgot to ask you the question: which books have changed YOUR world? 🙂
It's not just this project for me; books feature in my general photography and self-portraiture with some regularity. Books, my favorite props – in photos and life.
Some photos I took today, featuring the book I'm currently reading: Dressing Up for the Carnival, by Carol Shields (and a lot of others in that stack, which almost tumbled down by the way). Hope you like these.