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my last pixlcrew blog for the year

Boy, did I feel superior to poor Hugh Day of New Zealand when I read his absorbing and pitiful tale of how acquiring camera gear: better cameras, better glass, better EVERYTHING (if you want the short version – for his better written version check here:

“How I Acquired and Defeated Gear Acquisition Syndrome”

until it eventually ruined his life, though I don’t imagine working at a call center helped it any…

Anyway, I thought, that would never happen to ME because I deliberately bought an iPhone 5 so it would have enough pixels to cover my day-to-day photos and I do everything in Photoshop anyway. I had long noticed some people’s relentless buying of every piece of camera equipment they could get their hands on and decided they were the very same people who took technically perfect, but incredibly boring photos. “Look at the perfection!” they yell, because otherwise there’s nothing to look at…

Of course, the iPhone set me back a little – Apple doesn’t do cheap – and Siri and I do not get along at all. Am sure I would do much better with a more deferential voice, such as, say, an English butler voice where I could say, “Jeeves, exactly how many Baldwin brothers ARE there? It seems like dozens.” and he would actually give me an answer instead of Siri’s disdainful, “Do you have a question? I do not understand.” Diva. Listen, these are important questions when, if someone in the know answers them, avoids lots of arguments in my circle of friends. We’re just thirsty for knowledge, that’s all and Siri, you’re not helping!

Now take the cost of Photoshop – people tell me all the time, “I have Photoshop – it came with my scanner,” but you and I know that is not Photoshop, but rather what we in the biz refer to, in as disdainful a voice as Siri’s, “Photoshop Lite”. And if you purchase the REAL Photoshop, it’s thousands of dollars all by itself and of course you want more of the Creative Suite than that – I’d at least want Illustrator. And After Effects. And I use Muse a lot – don’t look at me like that! it’s great if you don’t want to do coding.

You can get the whole, entire Adobe Creative Suite through web subscription now. Even though I jumped on the cloud bandwagon and happily bought into $20 per month per FOREVER, that’s not exactly nothing. Plus, unless you’re willing to paddle about in the shallows, with all the software goodies Adobe gifts you with when you get your Creative Suite subscription, eventually you have to buy a software manual or a video or something, because the only place you’re going to go using the Adobe Help menu is the Vale of Despair. They should call it the “No, I won’t” Help Menu. Or you could take a class – such as the one you’re enrolled in – and all of this costs money.

The more I think about it, the more I realize how much my profession “costs” me in terms of things I don’t exactly have to buy. I’m a sucker for new software – ask anyone – and Amazon one-click downloads of computer manuals and textbooks are a curse because by the time you reconsider, you own! And I absolutely need a laptop for home. And internet connection. And lynda.com training videos. And… you get the picture. So Hugh and I are pretty much in the same boat after all: rocking, rocking, and beginning to sink!

This blog I follow, “The Minimalists” by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus says the answer is to create. “The void most of us feel is a creative void. We’ve been so caught up in our consumeristic mindset that we’ve forgotten about our inherent need to create.” the minimalists. Well, okay, but what should we create? Joshua and Ryan have their blog and all – since they’re minimalists, what else have they got to do? And, while have been racking my brain for what seems like minutes for a creative project that doesn’t involve laying out cold, hard cash in some way, am sure they’re right… Oh, found art. That’s one. Writing – Text Edit is free because you already bought the laptop…

But I should try to work with what I’ve got more – find all the ins and outs of software I already have instead of buying new. Get into iPhoneography – even though that’s so 2011! According to Josh and Ryan the consequences for not doing so are dire, “…when we consume too much, we experience stress and anxiety and depression, effectively deepening the void. Our possessions possess us. They weigh us down mentally, physically, emotionally, and the void becomes cavernous.”

And I have to say, writing this blog post has made me much happier than buying new textbooks to check out for next year – for one thing, it’s something off my to do list – if I hadn’t, it would still be hanging over my head! But creativity isn’t always the answer either. In Tina Fey’s book “Bossypants” she mentions one of her main jobs is to convince people NOT to be creative. If you need a donut on a plate you don’t need a homemade one with chocolate icing and sprinkles and nuts on a doily and the plate engraved with a funny saying and held up by a 19th century “Souvenir of Maine” cake stand…

So maybe another answer is not so much creative as tying up loose ends, finishing old projects, or deciding once and for all we’re done with them. That’s something we don’t often do, isn’t it? Everything’s about new, different, change – but there’s a lot to be said for done, crossed off, returning to what works, making what we have better instead of changing to something different. The truth is, we’re scared of that because it frees up time – without our massive project lists, without our endless lists of errands to run and jobs to do – who are we and what will we do?

Probably better we don’t find out. There’s enough angst out there without adding an existential crisis to it. Even though most of us dream about a summer afternoon with nothing to do but, say, lie in a hammock and read a classic, how many of us could actually DO it? Not me. Not Hugh Day. Maybe Josh and Ryan, though they would probably say we don’t need a book. Or a hammock. We should just BE!

Since this is my last pixlcrew blog for the year, naturally I’m thinking about summer coming up – especially with this cold, wet spring we’ve been having, summer looms tantalizingly on the horizon, doesn’t it? Do it all: dare yourself to do nothing for an afternoon.Buy yourself something new. Resolve not to lie in a hammock once and definitely don’t read a classic. Keep that job so you can buy more glass. And you know what? You will find yourself creating in spite of yourself – and I can’t wait to see what that is!

There are 4 comments. Add Yours.

Christy Sooter

Love this post….a few weeks ago I actually had nothing on my to-do list and I kinda freaked out. I thought what am i supposed to do now. Then I go hmmm….maybe relax!! I need more time to do just that! It helps all around!

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David —

hmmmm…relax, huh?

napping time in class!

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Kristen Harris

Creating things recharges my batteries because I enjoy it so much! But I like r & r too! I plan to do lots of each this summer… 🙂

Great post!

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