Sunday, September 25, 2011

Return to Purpose

Now that I am done recapping my adventures abroad, I can return my focus to the original purpose of this blog, change.  I have been working on several things to continue my pursuit of a different career (eventually).  When I first started writing, I thought that this change could occur within the next year.  I do not think it will happen as instantaneously as I predicted.  As I have started thinking about what I want, I have realized that there is so much I don’t know.  I have opened a Pandora’s box of questions that I need to answer to better understand what will make me happy.  Some of these questions include:
Where do I want to live?
-I have thought a lot about Indianapolis lately.  I have loved it there since I was little and there are so many benefits.  I look forward to going there this weekend to go with the perspective of it possibly being a future home.
-I have heard so many great things about Charlotte, NC. I love the idea of the climate, living so close to a beach, and being on the East coast.  There are also many drawbacks, not to mention I’ve never actually been there (yet).
-I love Madison, WI, but it is just too cold there in the winter.  I want to move away from the extreme winters.
What kind of career do I want short term?
-If it is necessary for me to stay with teaching for awhile, what kind of teaching do I want to do?  Elementary, middle, adult, administrative, etc.
What kind of career do I want long term?
-Many ideas have been flowing on this topic.  I was evening considering opening a bed and breakfast.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a home that welcomes others in?  There would be dinners on the weekends, activities, and opportunities for travel advice.  I just love the idea of being able to converse with travelers and share experiences.  I would love to create a bed and breakfast in a place like Giverny.  I get so excited thinking about the dinners, decorating, and company.  I would definitely need my Aunt Lori to help me with setting everything up.  This idea is a big one, but worth investigating.
How can I incorporate helping others into my life?
-Ultimately, I need to feel like I am serving a purpose.
Which creative art should I pursue?
This last question is one that I am not sure about.  I imagined bringing photography and writing together, but they both require such a high level of expertise to truly be good at them.  I am trying to do both, but I am sure that I will have to choose eventually.  No matter what, they will always be at the very least, my hobbies.
My current photography adventures include gaining more experience and knowledge on the subject.  I am trying to improve my content along with removing myself from more automatic features.  I now am in complete control of iso, aperture, shutter speed, and focus for each image.  I am also learning quite a bit about photoshop to enhance my images even more.  At first I thought that this was wrong and almost cheating, but the more I thought about it, I realized that photographers are constantly making creative changes to their images whether it is changing the shutter speed to show blur, changing the aperture to simply focus on the foreground, or using filters to alter images in photoshop.   I also only shoot in RAW now to gain the absolute best quality in images.

Today I purchased a mat cutter and more premium quality photo paper so that I can begin to frame my images.  I want to be in complete control of photo taking, editing, printing, and framing.  My goal is to try to approach a local business in August to see if I can display my work and hold an exhibition night.  I do not know if I will be ready, but that is a goal.  I am excited to be able to continue to take photographs this summer, especially when I am in New Orleans.  I would like to expand beyond flowers and truly offer a variety of selections.
Lastly, I attended a lecture at Chicago Photography Center about stock photography.  I have been considering this as an option for income, but after the lecture I realized that it will be much more challenging than anticipated.  Any image of a place or person must have a release signed by the owner or person.  Getty Images is at severe risk for being sued, so they find that every image that endorses something must be accounted for.  I find this challenging because it really seems like a lot of work.  I also do not know that I want my images to be used for advertising.  They did say there was a need for archival photos, so I may look through older images to see if there is anything worthwhile.  So at this point, I think I will stick with fine art photography.
On the writing front, I am also trying to continue practicing and researching my area of interest.  Overall I would say that nonfiction is my preference.  I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday to look in writing magazines for contests.  I wrote down several addresses and will research more to begin entering writing contests.  There is one group that is looking for transparent travel writing.  They allow for up to three submissions, so I began one yesterday.  I am also going to begin a creative nonfiction piece about a specific time in my dad’s life.  He is being gracious enough to let me interview him and share his story.  Ideally I would like to be able to write about people’s experiences, so this provides me with great practice for the many steps necessary to write a piece like this.  I am a fan of the format of a book called “City of Falling Angels,” and would love to be able to compose a piece on a similar subject.
I am so fortunate to have this summer off and be able to devote my time to these endeavors.  I do not know how I will be able to continue this while teaching and taking 3 grad courses in one 10-week term.  I suppose I will try to accomplish as much as possible and set up a time during the weekends designated to do what I want.  I read a blog that someone posted about the “Sunday Blues.”  I scrunched my nose when I read it because it reminded me of the dread that comes on Sunday.  It almost begins on Saturday because I know that Sunday is coming and that inevitably leads to Monday.  I don’t want to lose my Sunday’s to anxiety anymore.  Maybe Sunday’s will be my writing and photography days.  It will take time to figure out what I am going to do with my career, so I might as well start taking steps to improving my happiness.  The good news is that for now I don’t have to even think about it.

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