Why do we remove ourselves from the orbit of things that we love?
Interests, activities, engagement that takes us out of ourselves, literally lifts us from a default state of self-defeating self-absorption, and transports us to a wider field of options and opportunities than we could have imagined? How do we begin to stagnate, and why do we persist within it once we recognize it? And what are those loves, interests and inclinations then replaced by? How do we spend our time? Why do we spin our (metaphorical) wheels so endlessly? Why do we stop caring what or whether we do, or dismiss the specter of our old selves that used to? Where does the curiosity and wonder and desire to make connections and communicate go? And how do we find our way back to it again, once we remember, with something approaching longing, that we miss it?
Such has been the case with me for so long that I feel embarrassed to even count the dd/mm/yyyy since it hasn’t. I wonder at reason, and causality, and what I must have done wrong. There are reasons, there are excuses, and there is Life, of course, that manages to insinuate and complicate and for stretches of time, totally subsume everything. Some of those entirely normal and collectively shared traumas and life events have been unfolding for me in the recent past, and for far too long they have served as convenient and comfortable blinders, hiding from my conscious self the kinds of ideas, art and people that excite and enliven me.
This space has been many things over many years, but one place that it—I—became stuck was in ceding to it a singular way of thinking and recording. A mode that became arduous and in turn aggravated an innate sense of perfectionism, so that I didn’t feel like I could write here unless all the writing was the way that it had become: longform, lyrical, thoroughly researched. There came to be this inability to be personal, or to switch gears or voices or to move between lightness and heaviness in the tone or topics of things I wrote about. And I began to feel a prisoner of what I had so meagerly created, and honestly probably came to resent creating. And so what happened was radio silence. For a period of years.
I don’t really believe in explaining oneself, in giving an accounting for any choices you do or don’t make, to yourself or the universe— unless you have wronged someone somehow. And the only person I really wronged in my prolonged absence from writing, reading and looking was myself. My method for making amends is to begin playing in this space again, truly and with regularity. Years of editing professionally for others has given me skills for things in the publishing sphere that somehow never occurred to me to apply to my own writing endeavors. Beginning with adhering to my own editorial calendar is a first step. There will still be longform writing (this is unintentionally approaching that zone), but there will also be more fragmented looking and musing, as well as trying to keep some level of engagement and conversation on current topics that I’ve always been partial to, if not awash in: Japanese photography, the odd current practitioners who interest me that aren’t Japanese, the history of photography, convergences, literature, the rich and unceasing world of ideas and questions. I’d also like more playfulness, when possible, and to be more connected to having an extended, virtual conversation with others that share some of the same sympathies and predilections that I have.
So: not exactly a manifesto, or an explanation of anything. Call it, to borrow language from the land of things woo-woo, setting an intention. Look to this place often in the near future for the manifestation of that intent.
(some housekeeping errata: About page and Links have been overhauled. The latter now is heavily curated, with preferences given to presses, online magazines, blogs writing about Japanese photography, personal favorites and lots of places where I buy—or more precisely: want to buy—monographs. Have fun finding out where I spend my time and money.)