You’ve heard me mention it before. My Curating Year is sort of the sequel to Cleaning Out My Underwear Drawer, as I mentioned in my book, Paris Letters. It was my New Year’s Resolution for this year but I kind of forgot about it along the way. Do you remember your resolution? How’s it going?
Who cares. It’s July.
My Curating Year involves organizing my behemoth photo collection on my computer. To get them to that final thing they are meant to be. Some photos should be large format prints, some should be ingredients for painted letters, and some should add colour to my blog (or, um, sepia). Others should add colour to my walls. And yet others should be part of a book or a personal photo album… like, say, my wedding photos.
They all live in a messy heap on my computer.
And it feels like a burden. It’s a made-up burden. Really. A pompous predicament, if you will. If I just changed my attitude, I could shift it to the Hobby folder in my brain. Case closed. Then plug away at it here and there. But I’m haunted by the photos. They whisper to me. They say “You didn’t create me to hide me in your computer.” They say, “Stop looking at Facebook and come over here to iPhoto.” They say, “We are your next KonMari project.” (KonMari is from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.)
By the way, KonMari Adventures is a wonderful, funny group on Facebook that I look at when I’m avoiding my own KonMari projects.
I feel like the only one haunted by this unfinished project.
Even though I know you’re out there, also hearing the soft, quiet ridicule of your photo library whisper to you in the margins of your day.
So I recommitted to my resolution of yore and dove into my photo library.
Electronic editing of photos has replaced the shoe boxes of photos we had in the 80s and 90s. But unlike those shoe boxes which are a real physical item in our homes, electronic photos live on our computers, taking up gigabytes and scratching away at our psyche.
This is what happened.
I basically shuffled around the photos for, oh a few months. I posted a few on my shop, I added a few to folders for blog posts of the future, I created a frightful folder called Assignments, then my computer became very, very slow, and I proceeded to feel very, very tired. Likely because of all the photos. So then I started deleting in hopes that the sluggishness would subside. The result was really just more of the same shuffling.
I had used up all that energy just shuffling around my photos. Gone was the motivation to take it to the next step of posting, printing, framing, and a myriad of other Completion Energy verbs.
Then I visited my friend Jim.
Inspiration arrives just when I needed it. Jim is a friend from my old coffee shop. He has been a photographer for a great many years. The last time I saw him, he gathered all our friends around and pulled out sheets of his photo album. These sheets had photos of all of us, over the course time, sipping and sharing at the coffee shop.
I was so very touched and inspired.
Then I visited my friend Paul, who is Ben in the book. He has things framed and hanging in his house. Recent things. Framed. Done. If he can get ‘er done, so can I.
Completion Energy is a big desire for me these days. When you look at a project, like, say, writing another book, it could be a long time before anyone sees it. So on a daily basis, I’m not really feeling the thrill of Completion Energy.
That’s why I’m telling you this right now.
I’m aiming to do and complete what needs to be done with my Paris photos by the end of 2015, hence referring to this year as The Curating Year.
I even underlined it for emphasis. That’s how serious I am about it.
Remember that time, back in 2010 when I started this blog as a way to be accountable to my New Year’s Resolution to write in my journal every day? It’s like that, but with curating my photos.
Let’s see how it goes.
To begin, we must look at not only what we are about to do but what we are about to stop doing. To help, my friend invited me out but I was in the thick of sorting so I declined. I explained this to Christophe. “Besides,” I said. “This is my Recluse Year.”
And it felt so good to admit it.
I’m in the middle of a Thing, which means saying No to some invitations. (Not all, but some.) I would like to open my front door to the neighbours and say “Hey, I don’t mean to be rude. I should really make more of an effort to neighbour well, but I’m in my recluse year. I’ll get back to you in 2016.” Neighbouring is a verb here.
And that Thing is my Paris photos and art.
Because it’s not letting me move on. It’s on me like a clingy colleague. The kind that won’t Shut. Up. That one. You know who I’m talking about.
So I begin. Slowly. And muddled.
I’m telling you right now that by December I will have made it. I’m telling you, my dear invisible populous, because I need to be accountable to someone, even if you are invisible. I know you’re there, somewhere, reading this blog, perhaps to seek inspiration for or distraction from your own projects.
Let’s do this thing.
If you want to make this Your Curating Year, let’s hear about it.