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Monday, July 29, 2019

Sunday in the Park with Cardinals


In my early morning blog post for today, I featured Marquis quote, "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

That quotation seems to be the story of my life these past couple of months because I have been unable to finish my proposal for a photo book project I am hoping to do with Steidl.

I had intended to submit my work to him this past April or May at the latest. However, this past May I took a U turn from the work I had been doing on the proposal and focused on my other book and or movie project, Imperfect Strangers.

This particular project which is currently 32,860 words, is dedicated to raising awareness re bullying from the perspective of my being bullied as a result of having the neurological medical condition Neurofibromatosis (NF) Type One.

Because May is NF awareness month I wanted to produce and release a video introducing my endeavor during that month. Therefore all my efforts went to creating and producing my video for Imperfect Strangers, and, as some of you may know, I posted my video (on You Tube and Vimeo) re this matter on May 21, 2019.


After posting it, my intent was to return to my Steidl proposal and finish the editing of the text. The images I will be submitting to him are good to go but the narrative needs to be tightened up.

My intent was also to create, produce and post a follow up video by June 21. However, problems with my Internet, phone service and health stood in the way of my realizing my goals. It is now one month  and eight days since my target date for the video and while I have made great strides with that video, it is not quite up to posting (at least from my standards).

Moreover, I have made little progress with tweaking my Steidl proposal, and now I'm finding the task of doing either one seems impossible, which frightens me: Have my creative juices dried up? Am I too discouraged by lack of income from my work to continue with it? Am I so afraid of failure or afraid of success in relation to my projects that I'm nearly paralyzed? Or do I have a very bad case of Writer's Block? These are just a few of my questions that prompted me to search the Internet on a possible cure/solution to the last question, which is where I came upon a web-page (reedsy) which included the cartoon seen atop this entry.

The aforementioned page gave a suggestion which I've heard many times: take a long walk. Taking long walks is a standard for me but often when I take them, my mind is not necessarily on what I am seeing; rather my mind is searching for what I can do about a given situation. I realize to walk and think about one's circumstances defeats the purpose of walking to clear one's head. But I made a resolution to take a walk in Central Park and focus my attention on what I encountered.

Not only did I focus my attention on what I encountered, but I focused my camera's long lens on what I encountered which included a male cardinal spending time with his fledging.

Part of what I saw can be seen in the next series of photographs.

The inspiration I feel from cardinals is no secret to anyone who follows my work, so much so that I published a series (Words In Our Beak) of three hardcover books where the stories are told from the female cardinal's perspective.


My own "Sunday in the Park with Cardinals" caused me to think of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical, Sunday In The Park With George, and in particular the following song lyric lines from it:

Dot: Are you working on something new?
George: No
Dot: That is not like you, George
George: I've nothing to say
Dot: You have many things
George: Well, nothing that's not been said
Dot: Said by you, though. George
George: I do not know where to go
Dot: And nor did I
George: I want to make things that count,
Things that will be new...
Dot: I did what I had to do...
George: What am I to do?
Dot: Move on...
Stop worrying where you're going-
Move on
If you can know where you're going
You've gone
Just keep moving on
I chose, and my world was shaken-
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken,
The choosing was not
You have to move on
Look at what you want,
Not at where you are,
Not at what you'll be-
Look at all the things you've done for me
Opened up my eyes,
Taught me…

I can certainly identify with George's words, "I've nothing to say" and "Well, nothing that's not been said" and "I do not know where to go."

However, I must do as Dot says, "... just keep moving on."

Therefore in a few hours, I'm about to move on by following another piece of breaking writer's block advise from reedsy. They suggest when all else fails, pack up your computer and hard drives and take them to another location; I've made arrangements for me to work on my project within an office in the hood and face the challenge addressed in Sunday In The Park With George.


The is image attributes the "blank page or canvas" quote to Sondheim but according to Wiki, these words were spoken by Georges Seurat, for whom the lead character of Sunday In The Park With George is named. And I'll leave you with that thought so I can move on with my personal challenge to "bring order to the whole, through design, composition, tension, balance, light and harmony."

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