Last week as I was pulling my purse off of a desk, it pulled along with it, my camera which fell with a loud thud. I am very careful with my media equipment and I had placed it against the wall so it would be safe. I’d only had the camera for 3 1/2 months and was still getting to know its abilities. Maybe a good camera repair store can fix it but that will have to wait months. As an artist whose art form has dwindled down to just photo-blogging, this is all I got.
But that wasn’t all. A few days later my phone died. No phone means no internet. No internet is like no coffee, it brings on the jitters in me. After a few days I finally understood that the used phone which I had bought only 2 months ago from a former PC Volunteer, had run out of memory and was too old to refill. Fortunately, I was able to buy a new Samsung phone with a better quality camera than my old phone. I paid for internet service on it and walked out a happy camper.
My first selfie with my new phone.
Would I miss these things if I’d never had them in the first place? I don’t miss the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, car, or the fancy coffee shops that I used to think were necessities. But after letting go of most everything else, I need my camera and phone and ultimately, I need my social media.
Here are a few things that happened on social media while I was out of service:
a Peace Corps Volunteer in my group said goodbye on Facebook and returned to the U.S.
Chicano Park in San Diego became a National Historic Landmark
I received an invitation to a Peace Corps boat party on Lake Atitlan
my daughter had a birthday which definitely requires a public shoutout on FB
I don’t want to miss out on the news as it happens! Collective hearts beating as one and all that, you know! Now I’m back on track and today I tested the phone’s camera. It’s not great but I am not complaining. The German filmmaker, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, once said something about the need to make art with whatever resources you have available, even if it’s just a five dollar camera. Find out what the capabilities and idiosyncrasies are of the camera you have and accentuate them in your work. I will now confess that I also have a small android with which to take photos. It’s very limited and needs plenty of light and doesn’t offer me much resolution. But when I’m sure of what I want to document and the conditions are right, it can come through for me.
Above and below: Sprucing up a Catholic church for a religious celebration.
As for my blog writing, as much as I love to write, I know I’m not a talented writer. But I don’t need to be a talented or even have to have something important to say for it to have value. My mother likes to read what I write, so there’s value in that! I like to imagine that some people (fellow introverts, Chicana/os, spiritual seekers, older women) might read my posts and resonate with some of my experiences. Knowing that you’re not alone is helpful for all of us.
I use Instagram to post photos and captions about Guatemala and the Peace Corps. One of the Peace Corps goals is to help North Americans broaden their understanding of Guatemalans and to help Guatemalans broaden their understanding of North Americans. It’s the simple stories and photographs that help me achieve this goal. Some of my friends wondered if I was living in the jungle with bare necessities. Instead, they see me in my photos, living in a huge home in a lovely town with housemates that are professionals in their fields. They also see my many photos of coffee shops because I love coffee and having a place to write in my journal. Not so different from my life in the states.
One of my dearest friends suggested that since my camera broke, perhaps I could take up another hobby such as weaving (weaving is everywhere in Guatemala). I smiled, because my friend is a weaver and of course she could imagine that, but I couldn’t. Photography and writing is kind of who I am, or it’s how I express myself. If I can learn to draw, that will become another creative outlet for me. I feel a desire to draw welling up inside of me. Maybe we are all designed to resonate with certain creative or playful outlets. It could be painting, crafting, quilting, sculpting, writing, photography, or maybe it’s dancing, yoga, rock climbing, sports or cooking or spiritual seeking! Whatever turns you on, as long as it is life supporting, do it—It can keep you sane in this upside down world.
Definitely my favorite tree here. It’s hard to tell, but there’s a natural seat that juts out from the tree on its lower left side. Perfect for a short meditation.