OK, so novels have been serialized in the past, most notably Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, but not specifically for coffee breaks. The Weekly Man will be published every day for two and a half months starting September 8 with just enough reading to last for a coffee break.
I did something similar to his in 2014 with my photography. Each day for the month of October (and wouldn’t you know, it would be a month with 31 days) I posted a picture I took that day along with a story about the picture or something inspired by the picture. I thought this would be a breeze, given that I’m a photographer and a writer…just marry the two and toss out some magic.
There’s something about needing a picture at a certain time for a certain purpose that makes that picture almost impossible to find. And there’s something about finding that picture, taking it and processing it, and then trying to write intelligently about it that seems to lodge the words somewhere deep inside your head where you can’t see them.
It wasn’t so bad for the first couple of weeks. I ventured out after work, during lunch hours and on weekends. But I had very specific rules that were meant to make this exercise something that would help me learn about both photography and writing in terms of starting with a specific objective and meeting a deadline. One of those rules was that I couldn’t take a dozen pictures on Saturday and do the writing on Sunday and have them ready to post anytime I wanted. I had to take the picture the same day it was to be posted and do the writing the same day.
I think the main lesson was never to do anything like this again…obviously a lesson I didn’t learn because here I am, doing it again, this time with my writing…and for more than double the time.
The photo gig almost drove me nuts during the last week and a few times before. There were times when I entered the last word in the blog seconds before midnight. That was one of the rules: it had to be posted before midnight each day, every day. I was astounded when I began to realize how all the little things in life can suddenly crop up to sabotage a project that has iron-clad rules.
Out of the blue, friends and family had problems that only I could solve (or listen to). I needed my car to travel to sites for the pictures. My car suddenly developed car problems. Nothing expensive, but problem enough that it ate up valuable time.
Time. I think that was the only real lesson I learned. Time seems to move slowly when you don’t need it; faster, when you need it. And it never stops. It moves forward, relentlessly, testing your ability to keep up to it.
But there were some purely magical moments, like when I walked down a road beside a river in the fall with the leaves in full color and the sun shining down. I focused down the road to capture the color and noticed that someone was on the road, walking toward me. It was a woman in black slacks and white top. I thought, great…add some human interest. I took the shot.
As she walked nearer, I realized that I knew her, Rhonda, an enthusiastic kayaker and canoeist that I hadn’t seen in ages. There were a few surprises like that.
It also gave me a chance to do some cool portraits of artists friends, like Marilyn Masserole…in her studio, sitting on the floor in front of her, being the hippie artist that she’s been since the 60s.
I started to realize how easy it is to find beauty all around me…if I was looking for it…even in trees without leaves.
And I took my first horse picture ever…
So yes, it had its ups and down, enough of both that there were moments of joy and wonder and also moments of quiet thoughts of never venturing into a project like this again.
I promise this to those who read The Weekly Man: I will have each episode published every day for 76 days and ready for your daily coffee break…even if it drives me crazy.