today, banging out 1,000 words about a lawnmower for Horticultural Mechanisation Principles while trying not to giggle. If my writing professors could only see me now, I’m sure they’d be proud of just how eloquently I can describe the sinuous curves and shiny bonnet of a brand new ride-on. To say nothing of the stunning sense of power felt under the seat as one shears through acres of green Scottish turf.
If this horticulture career fails, maybe I can get a job writing copy for John Deere?
This marks my 500th post on the Bonafide Blog, and as I’ve crept up upon this day I’ve been thinking about the role this blog, and the farm, have played in my creative life.
When I was young I wanted to be an artist, and chose photography as my medium. But making art was hard, and it came at great personal cost as I struggled to find my footing on the ever-heaving icebergs of inspiration, on-demand creative output, and madness. Eventually I traded the stress of artmaking for the relatively stable ground of what I believed was a less art-filled, more art-less, life. I stopped hauling huge cameras around, quit stressing about missing some perfect shot, and started to live my experiences without the filter of a lens and my unreasonable expectation to make every moment into “art.”
Releasing my identity as a photographer was probably a healthy decision, but over the last dozen or so years my creative output declined to the point where I no longer believed I was a creative person, with nothing to contribute to the big worlds of photography, art and writing.
Then, four and a half years ago, came the farm and an unpremeditated decision to write about building a house, just to have a personal journal of the project. Yet even after beginning the blog I mourned what I perceived as my continued creative death. I still wasn’t “making art,” and I viewed what had been an integral part of my life as an atrophied limb, never to regain function.
But when I look back over these 500 posts, I see that most of them are about things I have made, taught myself, or found fascinating. I realize that instead of disappearing, my creativity just broadened, deepened, and diversified. It only felt like it was missing because it was everywhere. Instead of being about a conscious, intense, and usually stressful decision to sit down and “make art,” art has simply been diffused into just about every aspect of my life.
I have the farm to thank for this expansion of my creativity. This homestead is a safe and healthful incubator for ideas and a laboratory for me to learn, experiment, mess up, feel inspiration, accomplishment and limitation. No, I don’t have any new photos framed and hanging on the wall, but I do have hundreds of stories and thousands of images, right here on this blog, chronicling the creation of my life on this farm.
So here’s to 500 posts, and realizing that what you had wasn’t gone at all. It just became so large as to be invisible, growing huge and all-encompassing in a quiet and most beautiful way.