Friday, October 18, 2013

My Last Writing Assignment

by Deanna


I just completed a Writing Class in an Adult Continuing Education class at our local college.  There were 5 women in the class, all of us in the same age category, grown children, most of us were retired, so we had a lot in common.  It was pure pleasure sharing 5 weeks with these women, learning and listening to their stories.  Since I moaned about coming up with original topics on my last post 2 weeks ago, I thought instead of trying once again to be original I would share with you my last writing assignment.

"I think everyone has a passion, or should.  There needs to be something in your life that you feel passionate about….whether it be reading a good book, writing a story, cooking, gardening, teaching, whatever it may be, everyone needs to have a passion.  I have had several passions in my life, some greater than others, some I still have, maybe not as intense as they once were, and some have fallen by the wayside. 

My passion for several years was the craft of rubber stamping.  I was lucky enough to land a job at The Stamp Shack after retiring from AT&T (which by the way, was not a passion).  A job that I found fun, rewarding, and a place I could release my creativity.  My passion for rubber stamping continued for several years, spending a day in my “studio” aka the basement, was a little slice of heaven for me, creating, getting messy, making a mess, all part of my creative passion.



The Stamp Shack, sadly closed but my passion for rubber continued.  As my husband’s dementia began to worsen, he demanded more of my time, resulting in less time for me and my passion.   No longer could I spend hours in my studio getting lost in the creative mess.  But creative people need an outlet or a sense of frustration begins to creep in, a feeling of uneasiness and loss.  My birthday was approaching and by this time, my husband had progressed to the point of barely knowing what a birthday was.  That year I decided I would purchase my own gift and that gift to myself was a Nikon DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera, or as I refer to it as my “big girl camera”.  I had always enjoyed taking pictures of my family, our vacations and my garden but now I felt I wanted to go beyond the “point and shoot camera” and really learn some photography.   And I was bound and determined to learn to use this expensive camera and not shoot everything in auto mode. 

Since I could no longer leave my husband at home alone for any length of time, I immediately registered for an on-line digital photography class on how to use your camera… to discover what aperature, shutter speed, and ISO meant.   Ten years ago this would have been impossible, but today education is as close as your internet connection. It was love at first sight….literally.  I fell in love with what my eye could see through the lens.  It was my new found passion, my heart was overflowing again and it was an enjoyment that I could even share with my husband.  He would walk with me as we went on my photo excursions, holding my bag, or lens, and even posing for me when asked.  I had found my creative outlet, my passion, and was still able to be present for my husband.   I do believe this new-found passion saved me from total despair.  Having your husband slowly fading away was devastating, but the beauty that I found in my photography continued to remind me of the blessings and joy that surrounded me.

Two years later I made the decision to place my husband in a memory care facility.  The 24/7 attention that he required became an overwhelming burden that was leading to my health failing. 



My passion for photography has continued and grown over these years.  I am now on my third dslr, stepping up each time and my collection of lenses do everything from wide angle to macro photography.  I see beauty thru these lenses, whether it be a sweet-faced child or the lichen growing on the shady side of a tree.  I do believe photography has given me a passion for life.  I created a blog over 2 years ago that I consider my photographic journal, a little writing with a lot of images.  And I continue to learn more and more as I journey with this new found passion.  Currently I am in an on-line “posing” class and Sunday I leave for a 5 day photography class in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Passions are good, they teach you to focus, to learn, to share, keep you young and mine I believe saved me from despair."  

And another one of our assignments was to write a story in 50 words or less...do you know how hard that is to come up with a comprehensive story in 50 words or less??....here was mine.

"The white shiny box loomed ahead.  Approaching it, she reached and pulled at the handle feeling the blast of cold air.  Staring at the contents, amid the reds, greens, and yellows, along with the boxes, cartons and bottles surely the fixings for dinner was in there somewhere."  

So I guess my post today is really about finding something that you really love, because it certainly will not only enhance your life but possibly save you from despair.  And never stop learning....
"Live as if you will die tomorrow.  Learn as if you will live forever."  ~  Mahatma Gandhi


18 comments:

kybarb said...

You are so inspiring Deanna! I had no idea you did any rubber stamping! I visited the Stamp Shack many years ago while in the area visiting a friend--it was a great shop. I wonder if you still have all of your rubber stamps or if you got rid of them and if you got rid of them how you did that? I'm really wanting to downsize my stamp collection and am debating on whether to take a bunch to a donation place like Good Will. What class are you taking in the Smoky Mountains? I love hearing about what classes you all take and books and blogs you all find helpful!

kelly said...

i always love, LOVE hearing the stories of how my friends got into photography. isn't it amazing how learning to see through the lens can help us see life differently? find joy again? thank you for sharing your beautiful story. xo

Cathy H. said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It's both beautiful and touching. You have a wonderful attitude about life and it shows through your photography. My Dad has Alzheimer's and he constantly teases me about taking photos of weird things. I'm glad my photography can make him smile!

CarolHart said...

I absolutely love your story! Thank you so much for sharing. I shall be thinking about your words all day.

Dotti said...

It's true. Everybody needs a passion. The thing I love about photography is that there is always something new out there to learn about it. That keeps us engaged in this passion that we love. And yes, camera therapy is a good thing. Lovely stories, Deanna, and lovely photos.

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

I love your word art and photos. Your short story is soooo perfect. I love it!

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

This is lovely, Deanna. I agree that we all need a passion, and I'm so glad you found photography. You have a real gift for it, and you give that gift to us when you share your photos.

Barb Brookbank said...

So beautifully written! Of course I agree with you about photography - it certainly opened my eyes... Have fun at your next class! Oh, and I love your short story!!

Kim Stevens said...

Yep, it was moving here to the gulf coast for me, and last spring my camera kept me for going off the deep end of worry. Funny how a box with a hole in can do that sorta thing! Have fun next week, so jealous, the Smokey Mountains are so beautiful...this I remember from my elementary years when I went with my grandparents...haven't been since.

cheryl Crotty said...

A beautiful post and such beautiful photo's to go with it...your story could have been mine..except it was my Dad that suffered...I did get my first SLR though when my younger brother was dying...and we kept him home...I would take the camera and walk in the woods just to get away from the pain and suffering for a few hours..Like you, it saved my life and my sanity...and today..it is also my passion, along with reading and my Grandsons...
Good for you for finding that something special to help you through...a great job on the writing...Last year I took a workshop with Natalie Goldberg...just loved it...Life is Good...
Have a nice weekend.

Patti G said...

I can't say or add anything to what's already been said. You amaze me with your words, your images, you gentle spirit and loving ways.
Enjoy your week in the Smokey's - I know it's not Italy, but it's an escape none the less.
Someday lady - we shall go on a photo walk together and oh the things you can teach me!

Sarah Huizenga said...

What a similar path we have followed to the place of photography. I too worked at a rubber stamp store and enjoyed it very much. I still have a lot of stamps, but don't tell me husband. I think I have visited the Stamp Shack before when we went to Chicago for a stamping convention. So sad that many of these stores are now out of business.

heyjudephotography said...

I'm so glad you found a passion to help you through your pain. I think that you've actually found your calling since your photos are always perfection. Love that you took a writing class, and I hope your trip to the Smoky Mountains is a great learning experience.

Barb said...

Thank goodness for passion, Deanna. Life would be very drab indeed without it. Your photos always speak to me, but I'm glad for the story you tell, too. Have a wonderful trip and learn a lot to feed your passion.

Peggy said...

What a wonderful essay that told of your passion, your struggles, and your triumphs. Your photos are so detailed and shows your knowledge of photography and your eye for details. Enjoy your trip.

Robyn G said...

Deanna,
This is a great post! I love your photographs and meanderings. Your work is gorgeous and I find you inspirational. Thank You for writing about how and why you started taking pictures.

Saving yourself from despair has been a blessing to you and all who view your work.

Have a wonderful trip to the Smokey Mountains.

Viv@within the Frame said...

Deanna a truly wonderful post, from the heart and full of love and wise words, you are an inspiration. Have a wonderful time away I'm already looking forward to your images.

Susan W said...

An inspirational post. Loved reading it.

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