Announcement: Jonathan Chapman Photography Collaboration
It was love at first sight when I connected with Jonathan Chapman Photography.
At our core, we both believe in the power of a story and spend our days finding, creating and telling them in our own different ways.
I’m excited to say that after months of email exchanges, we’re paving forward with a new form of collaboration, one that combines and accentuates our different forms for telling these stories. It’s a new, tea-fueled storytelling platform that melds words and imagery, both still and moving.
To kick-off our work together, I’m publishing on the JCP blog to help highlight the latest project, JCP collaboration partners and even a one-of-a-kind newsprint promo. We’ve released two posts together: Adidas | Head to Head | Vol. 1 and JCP Newsprint Promo | Vol. 2 Issue 1. Look for another post coming this Thursday!
Shorelines and Sunrises
We drove to the shoreline. It’s still end of April cold where the wind is out of the North. I pull off on a worn out gravel path to park next to the No Overnight Parking sign. ”Remember the first time,” I say. “We laughed as we tried to guess what our mothers would say when we told them.”
The sun is almost set. A dim golden glow covers the tops of the trees but I promised a campfire before you would get out of the car. I found driftwood as long and smooth as your legs and carried it to the flat spot near the water with the thick wool flannel. “Come, it’s brighter now.”
In the morning, the sunrise starts to peak over delicate flowers in fiery shades of red, yellow, orange and smoke and you say, “I’ll be right back.” There are still hot coals simmering from the night and they re-flame easily. I hope it’s a sign from a fiery sun God I don’t believe exists.
I find you at the water’s edge smoothly sliding your toes down the rock’s mossy water line and back up again. The waves rhythmically tapping to a wash, wash, wash beat. I try to tell you gently that it’s coming fast, to come up the cliff now, to watch it come over the horizon.
When we left the city, I promised you grand, glistening, and glowing if you’d try—just one more time. The sunrise was the opportunity and I knew that I could finally say those words to you. As the sun rose, your head dipped under the water. It was too late. I lost you when the sunset.
Photo credit: brockpetrie
For the past five months, I’ve had the privilege of working with the Los Angeles-based start-up Serenify. Typically, I try to refrain from work conversations on my personal blog, but I have developed a special appreciation for this project. It has been a gateway towards reaching and fulfilling some of my own personal 2013 goals.
Serenify is an online profile verification and certification service focused on improving trust, authenticity and transparency in online communication, starting with online dating. As someone who met her partner online, this is especially near and dear to my heart. In fact, the majority of our team has met a partner through online dating.
Our team is serious about creating an online dating experience that is both safe and secure, and we’re doing it by setting a new standard for honesty on the web. While we’re busy getting ready to launch in early 2014, I’m excited to say that my role has evolved into a Communications Director position where I’ll be advocating and raising awareness about our services.
Before I began working on Serenify, I was working a 60+ hour a week in advertising where my writing didn’t matter and my personal life, interests and goals mattered even less. For almost a year, I watched my company turn out mediocre work and I watched myself become increasingly disappointed. Finally, I made the decision to leave what was comfortable in hopes of finding something more fulfilling.
Since I started freelancing I’ve encountered the ups and downs of new business pitches, accounting, taxes and work/life balance. What I didn’t anticipate was connecting with a company like Serenify that celebrated my personal goals and work style and encouraged me to be my own independent brand and person. To my team, thank you.
To fall asleep near the sound of water
against the shore and your fingers
against my neck knowing
morning is still far away.
To close my eyes
to fall asleep
These days I write my way out and sometimes I read my work. Thank you to all my old friends and new ones, strangers and supporters, writers and listeners who joined me at Common Good Books.
“There isn’t a lot you can do but you ought to do that much and if you do you’ll likely find there is more you can do and you should attempt that too. When all is said and done, there is more to be done and that goes without saying." -GK
The sun is sliding around the corners of brownstone buildings illuminating the lines between parked cars. I can see hidden corners with broken bottle pieces and little mossy rocks. There are temporary sun-sketched patterns on my sheets and shadows on my moccasins with the bow ties.
I could swear it’s the first day of summer sun when there are gravel paths to find and tree trunks to climb and beaches to walk barefoot. Unmarked days on the calendar. Days to make memories that become the stories we tell when we’re old.
This is my sunny summer story told in autumn. This is my true story—a cancer update—written in a text message conversation and dedicated to my mom and dad. This is our family story of strength.
Grow old with me.
Mom: GREAT NEWS! All cancer cells are gone. No more cancer cell activity. We are excited. This does not change the treatment plan. He still has six more to go through.
Me: That’s the best thing I’ve heard, maybe ever. I’m just thankful today. For Dad’s news and your support to go through this with him. He’s sick, but you’re both suffering. We’re all suffering. You’re as strong as his medicine. That’s an amazing gift.
Mom: That is funny because the last thing I feel is strong.
Me: You don’t feel strong but the thing is our strength isn’t always strong. Strength is the willingness to try even when you feel weak.
Mom: True! It just feels good to have people to reach out to and lean on. It has proven to me—again—how much I appreciate having a partner, spouse, husband to count on.
Me: I’m going to cry. I am so happy thankful for you and dad and good news and the sun on my sheets.
Mom: They better be happy tears because, even though your dad is sleeping in the chemo chair, we are excited and happy!
The boys had a game of chasing
each other from the dock
and the first to yell, “No!,”
was the loser.
While they played,
the parents bought stocking caps
and colored mittens
at True Value
near the empty beach
near Burlington Bay,
near Johnny’s Mom’s new house.
In evening, at the dinner table,
the parents gossiped
how the boys could stand
such chilled water
and the boys,
how the parents missed
the last day of summer.
Photo credit: brockpetrie:
You are loved…
My studio is filling up with paper cranes—window sills, bookshelves, counter tops. I’ve started stringing them from the ceiling. They are most beautiful at night when the parking lot on the other side of the brick wall is turned off and the ceiling fan is turned on. They rustle together, flutter like a gentle rain and it helps me sleep knowing it’s okay to cry.
Making cranes is something productive to do, with my hands, with my heart, with my spinning head, because now there are two. My dad and my other dad—Grandpa. Locked between there’s Mom and Grandma. And, strung together on clear fishing line, there’s the whole family. Two important men in our lives are fighting.
My dad is fighting for a chance to someday walk me down a flower strung aisle, to hold a grand-baby and build campfires next summer. My grandpa is fighting to do a second round of chemo, to delay the spreading, to open Christmas 2014 presents. The whole family is fighting to pretend “the way it was,” isn’t a phrase we use.
The thing about us, though, is that we don’t miss the past; we’re happy about it—for memories, laughs, fights, patched pants and hugs. We’re happy picking sweet corn and drinking root beer floats and watching deer eat from the farm fields. We’re happy when we’re with each other and sad when we’re without.
From my now colorful Minneapolis studio, I’m writing and folding paper and re-cleaning the floors to fight for two. I’m finding a way to say once, “Keep fighting.” And to say, too, “It’s okay. I know you’re tired.” But really, I’m trying to write “You are loved…,” in a folded piece of square paper.
Photo credit: brockpetrie: