i shared with y’all a few days ago that i had been asked to be the photographer for a band during their upcoming gig on friday night. well, i’m completely over the moon with excitement because i love their music & i love that i have an opportunity to do some photography for more professional reasons. (eeee!!!)
so, that got me dreaming a little. ya know, sometimes i can be a little materialistic. hehe. and since i am working to make my writing & my photography a little more serious these days, why not get down to business and get a fun camera strap & camera bag which seem to suit me. yeah. why not? there’s nothing wrong with a little funky, fun accessory for my camera, right?
well, i’m dreaming about this series. putting it on my wish list.
i can just imagine myself, carrying my little black bag with the orange polka dots inside, as i board a plane for india, ready to embark on a spiritual & cultural journey, documenting my trip all along the way… the people, the customs, the religions, my reflections… and then, after india, a village in africa. the urban jungle of nyc. the tropical paradise, bali. the shrines & temples of the east. the holy ground in jerusalem. mexican festivals. greek islands. parisian sidewalks. scottish castles. the american heartland. the wild west. irish cliffs. the australian outback. caribbean beaches. northern sweden. and everywhere in between.
yep. me, my camera (with its polka-dotted strap & bag), my moleskin notebook, & my love. traveling. photographing. writing.
oh man, i am so ready to get down to business.
dream big, my friends. peace.
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” Kurt Vonnegut
i never really thought of myself as an artist. but, then i saw this:
i am an artist.
i am a writer. i need to write. writing is like breathing. and when i write, i believe that i create something.
i am a photographer. taking pictures is like capturing a moment of beauty, sharing something wonderful through an image.
i may not get paid for the things that i write or photograph (yet!), but that doesn’t make me any less of an artist. and, you know what, being an artist isn’t really something one does anyway… it is who one is. an artist is a person that notices details, observes the world, appreciates every little beautiful thing. an artist is someone who seeks to be aware.
but, of course, the idea of art is not to keep it for one’s self, is it? it’s not just some cozy writing moment or some beautiful image staring back at you from your computer screen. no, art is meant to be enjoyed & shared. art builds community, evokes emotions, challenges ideas & beliefs, teaches, calms, and inspires.
in truth, aren’t we all artists?
“Let’s just say that I think any person who aspires, presumes, or feels the calling to be an artist has a built-in sense of duty.” ~ Patti Smith.
peace, my fellow artisans.
söderköping (south borough) is a cute, little village about 30 minutes from where i live (norrköping-north borough) that lies on a canal, göta canal, to be exact. the canal winds it’s way from eastern sweden, where the baltic sea lies, to the western coast and the city of gothenburg. in the summer it is a favorite vacation destination. you know, grab your sailboat or sleeping cabin motor boat, and slowly make your way across sweden by water, stopping at little villages and harbors along the way. for all you east coast americans, think the intercoastal waterway, only on a much smaller scale. sounds like, fun huh?
well, the cute, little village of söderköping fills with tourists and boats during the summer, and lina & i thought we’d pay the canal town a visit yesterday. that’s right… a mini road trip!
being the earth-conscious friendly people that we are (and also because we don’t have a car. hehe.), we hopped on the public bus after lunch and began a cozy, lazy afternoon of wandering around the village on a typical, crazy-weather, swedish summer day…
ok. you have no idea how important this place is. it’s an ice cream restaurant. swedes love their ice cream like i could never even begin to describe with words. on the other side of this building is a line so long that it takes about an hour to get into the restaurant. what’s on the menu? only ice cream, of course! this side of the restaurant is take-away ice cream. shorter lines, but still amazing ice cream.
this picture means everything to me. she means everything to me. our life means everything to me. when i see us here, i think of the past 3 months… the fear, the struggles, the lessons, the tears, the challenges, and my amazing wife… to be standing here with her, so close, my heart is filled with love. it means everything that we were standing together, that she is with me. all my love to you, my baby.
hmm… i wonder what’s in store for me today? i wonder what’s in store for you? work or play, today is all we’ve got. let’s make it count!
wishing you some lazy summer peace.
it’s the end of july and another month of photos are done! and yes, i’m up for another challenge tomorrow. but first, here are the last three pics for this month:
hope your tuesday night is beautiful! mine’s been filled with tacos, a girl’s night of music, and now a showing of “rent”!!
see ya in august! peace.
yep. it’s been a big week in the eriksson-mcguire household. luckily i have the photo a day challenge to make sure i have a memory from each day. hehe. enough chit-chat.
some new cups that i’m totally in love with. the first is one that lina & i have been wanting for a while, thinking they only existed in the states. but, we found some here! mason jars as drinking glasses. a funky & different style for sweden. the second cup is a mug that i got from lina’s parents as a congratulations for being a permanent resident of sweden this week. so cool & unique. perfect for coffee, of course.
well, friends, there are only 3 days left in july. and then, we get into the dog days of summer of august: for some of you, the heat builds. for those of us up north, we wait to see how it will be. but, for all of us it is a bit of a transition month. school starts again. work begins again. and the days creep toward the changing of the season. but before i get ahead of myself, august still brings us some lazy days, some more time to enjoy the sunshine & the warmth. and of course, the august photo challenge.
if you want to follow me on instagram and see my pics on a daily basis, i’m lizslens. otherwise, check back here in a few days to see the last 3 pics of july and to get the august challenges. perhaps you’ll want to join in?!
happy saturday! enjoy some olympic moments, if that’s your thing. me, i’m gonna have a little cookout, check out some olympics, and then cozy up with my love tonight with a movie in bed.
peace around the world.
summer lovin’ & peace.
ps. what do you think of the slideshow thingy? i’m not sure if i’m a fan or not, but i thought i’d give it a whirl. change things up a little, ya know?.
i could be angry. but i choose to channel that anger into passion. i could live in fear. but i choose to face my fears. i could feel overwhelmed and give up. but i choose to keep on going. i could just turn my head and live in my happy, little bubble. but i choose to be aware. i could focus on the evil, the violence, the pain. but i choose to focus on healing, reconciliation, and peace. i could pretend it didn’t happen. but i choose to acknowledge the pain and heal from it. i could stuff all my emotions down inside me. but i choose to find a way to talk about it. i could forget that it ever happened. but i choose to remember. i could hold a grudge and seek someone or some system to blame. but i choose to be a part of the solution, to educate, to move forward.
i could think that it won’t happen to me. but one never knows…
today marks the one year anniversary of the shootings at the youth camp and bombing in olso, norway where 77 people lost their lives. i remember the day last year, hearing the news of this act of terror, listening to the details unfold hour by hour. and then, the days that followed… hearing the stories of the victims, their stories of survival or the stories of their short lives as told by family members and friends.
it crazy to grow up in a time where i mark my life by acts of terror/tragedy (these are the ones that just popped into my head as i was writing).
but, i guess i’m not the only one who can mark their life by tragedies, remembering where i was when this or that happened… my parents have this list, and then countless others to add: viet nam, civil rights protests/violence in the south, assassinations: martin luther king, jr. & president kennedy, the cold war, etc. and then, my grandparents: WWII, WWI, the great depression,etc.
of course, all i am mentioning here is from my tiny american perspective. i am greatly aware of (without knowing all the details & history, i admit) the fact that all of the countries/continents across the world have their own history, in addition to the history that we share. however, i can only speak from my experience, while acknowledging that everyone has their own experiences with tragedy and violence as well. many have much, much more first-hand experience of tragedy and violence than i.
i am painfully aware of the fact that there are horrible acts of terror and violence occurring daily in other parts of the world, of which i do not know the details. still, on a daily basis, details or not, i consciously try to think of all the people i will never meet who are suffering, who are frightened, who face bombs, guns, and abuse on a regular basis. i may not know them personally, but i know that they are my neighbors here in sweden, my neighbors in africa, my neighbors in the states, my neighbors in asia. they are my neighbors all around the world… and so many face the loss their lives or someone they love. yes, violence is everywhere. it touches everyone.
but, hang with me, friends.
the point of this blog post is first, for me to process my thoughts; and second, to remind myself & all of us what is most important. however in order to focus on what is most important, we have to be honest with ourselves. we have to open our eyes, we have to hear the cries, we have to see the pain and suffering, we have to listen to each other. we have to acknowledge what is happening in order to move forward. we have to open our minds and think. i agree, it’s not fun. it’s depressing. and it’s scary. but, i believe that we are in this together. we are not alone, and if we look honestly together at the state of our lives & our world, it is perhaps not quite as overwhelming.
the thing is… we need each other.
i don’t have answers to solve the problems of war & violence. i don’t know how to stop acts of terror. but, i do know that how i live my life makes a difference. just think, though, if we all thought about how we lived our lives, faced our fears, worked together, sought, as a community, to heal each others’ pain, shared each others’ burdens, listened to each other, and lived life from a place of love instead of fear and exclusion, we could begin to make a big difference together. still, i am only responsible for myself, i know. but maybe part of my responsibility in my life is to talk with others, listen to others, be someone with whom others can process their thoughts and reflect on their own lives.
it’s the whole pebble in a lake theory. what one person does makes a little impact, but it spread out further and further.what if we were all making little impacts?
however, all the tragedies and violence in this world teach us something else too. it’s not just a reminder to try to make a better world, but to look at how beautiful & wonderful the world is already. yes. i said it. even in the midst of all the pain & suffering, there is beauty and joy. perhaps the most important thing that tragedies teach us is to live life!
to soak up every moment. to greet each day and welcome all the possibilities it holds, to focus on moving forward, to reframe everything in the positive instead of the negative, to see problems as opportunities, to hear the music, to dance, to laugh until your stomach hurts, to enjoy good company & surround yourself with people who make you a better person, to close your eyes and breathe deeply, to face the sunshine, to believe in hope, to spread smiles and give hugs, to take risks and be adventurous, to dream big, to travel the world, to create art, to follow your bliss…
yes, i believe we must remember the victims, we must be aware of what’s happening in the world and in our own lives. we must be honest and face the dark times, because they are real. they are part of life. but, life is so beautiful as well. why not enjoy the beautiful moments when we have them? why not share that beauty with everyone we meet? why not work together to bring more & more beauty into the world?
thursday night, there was another act of violence & terror that occurred in aurora, colorado as people watched the midnight premiere of the newest batman movie. 12 people lost their lives and 59 people were wounded, many critically. *heavy sigh* yes, again. more violence. more death. more pain.
but, more opportunities to begin to talk again about how we can create a better world, without access to guns and bombs. and another opportunity for those of us left, to remember what is most important. to remember that the darkness exists, but the beauty of the world is brighter. as i always say, love wins.
i want to leave you with the words of one of the victims (jessica redfield) in the colorado shooting. no doubt many of you have heard of her on the news already… she survived a random shooting one month ago in canada, only to be killed in the shooting thursday night. chilling. but, her words are beautiful.
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
don’t we owe it to each other, to ourselves, to all victims of violence, to all who are suffering (even ourselves), to jessica… to make beautiful music with our lives, to live every second of every day as a gift?
breathe it all in, friends. love & hope. it’s all around you, even today.
yep. it’s photo a day challenge time! i had fun this week with the pics, they feel a little bit random & perhaps boring, but i tried to be a little creative and artsy. have I mentioned how much i love documenting my days this way?! and to think… i’ve been at this for 5 months now. craaazy. i’ve been thinking about creating a book at the end of the year, a photo album of some sort. but, we’ll see. there’s tons of time and tons of pictures left to discover!
for now, here’s a peek into my week.
happy saturday, all you out there! peace