I saw this window display in one of the coolest stores ever when I was in Port Townsend a while back. It’s called The Writer’s Workshoppe and, as another sign said, “This shop is for anyone who wants to write, has to write, aches to write, can’t write, wishes they could write, is scared to write. It’s for those who don’t know where to start, or where to end. It’s for anyone interested in developing the craft of writing.”
I took the picture because it made me think of my daughter Hilary, who follows that advice every day. She’s a writer who writes, no matter what. She’s brave.
And really you could put so many pursuits on that first card and it would still be good advice. Because trying to do anything well — putting yourself out there — is scary. And hard.
Next week I will be speaking to some high school students about photography. And I’m scared. I don’t feel at all qualified to stand as a representative PHOTOGRAPHER. I’m just one person who wants to do it, has to do it, aches to do it, can’t do it, wishes I could do it, and is scared to do it.
What I mainly want to tell the students is that a good camera is not a ticket to fame, fortune and glory. But if you care about the craft and strive to learn and improve, photography is an excellent way to add value to your life. It can allow you to explore and express, to stretch, to dare and to discover. Among other things, you’ll discover how you see the world as you strive to develop your authentic visual voice. You will leave your own trace. Yes, it’s scary. Often those things that are exciting and worthwhile are.
And while I can’t direct the students to a bricks-and-mortar photography “shoppe” like The Writer’s Workshoppe in Port Townsend, I can let them know about an amazing community of generous and talented souls ready and willing to take this journey with them. If you are interested in photography, they are there for you too. Let me introduce you to the contributors to Craft and Vision. Meet the storytellers on Rear Curtain. You don’t have to do this alone.
I imagine I’ll disappoint some students with that news about fame, fortune and glory. But I hope I’ll inspire others to do it anyway. They may have something to say that can’t be said any other way, or by any other person. And if they do, wouldn’t you like the opportunity to see those photographs? I know I would.
So I’ll talk to them. Even if it’s scary.