A Random Image

I recently started an Instagram account; like most everything else in my life, it’s equal parts everyday inane

Standing in line is total bullshit. The woman behind me is totally disrespecting my space bubble and I’m about to break bad.

and funny

A small representation of the sorts of things that grace my mailbox on any given day.

and clearly stupid

Phone. Why do we always have to go over this, Phone? ADD THE SWEARS INFINITY.

and artsy-cum-fartsy while trying not to be too fucking pretentious for its own good.

The abandoned train depot in Eldon.

A person or two here and there going back a few years has called me a photographer. I would never call myself one, though. I’ve bought some groceries before (Kerry, holla!)  and contributed to charity (Haiti, we love you) with the money from selling prints. I have a pretty good eye –it’s a side effect of being a writer, really, that things catch my attention in a certain way– but little to no technical skill. I could correct that. I should correct that. I need a one-on-one tutor, is what. I learn the geegaws and whatsits better through hands-on exploration, through being walked through and thing and then being let loose to tackle it.  If I have to break the flow of knowledge by lifting my head from a book to look at something and then having to find my place again (or even by the simple act of turning a page, sometimes), then I just get frustrated at the continual interruptions and for. get. it.

I enjoy learning. In fact, I enjoy it a great deal. There’s something euphoric and heady about it to me, like a form of coitus. If someone were to ding a bell and tell me to change position right before I reached the apex of a sexual romp –that lovely breathy breakthrough place– over and over again, I’d be all like, “Fuck this. Hand job.” Once or twice is teasing. Anything more than that is cockblocky and frustrating. Tantric-shmantric, okay?

Yes. I just made up the word ‘cockblocky’. You can point and laugh.

But anyway, my eye is keen. I know for a fact that I see shots that people who sling cameras on the regular don’t catch so easily as I do, because I’ve had those same people trail behind me and set up a shot exactly the way I did. I’ve also had someone pull a rig from my hands like I was a toddler and hand me a point-and-shoot, “Here, use this instead.” Both of these things irked, but ultimately I’m okay with them, because we learn how not to treat others when our hearts (and egos, natch) get stepped on. Both of those moments were opportunities for the parties in question to be generous with me, to shore me up against any uncertainties I may have had (“Hey, that’s a good idea! I want to try it, too!”) or offer to teach me skill sets (“Want a quick lesson on that thing?”) that I may not have had.

I hope that when I’m in a position to bolster someone else’s artistry or creative mind, that I am not so tired or caught up or self-involved as to not catch those times and run with them. I think there are a lot of people meandering around the world who have Great Big Creative Thinks rattling around inside of them just waiting for permission to come out. Some people need that….the permission, that is. Who knows why? Who cares?

Let’s just give those folk permission, for fucksakes, forever and ever amen.

So yeah, I been a-Instagrammin’. It’s fun. I suspect the thing I like about it –its on-the-fly ease and immediacy– is what photographers who take themselves and their art VURR VURR SRSLY pooh-pooh about it. Okay, photogs, okay. But I do have a good eye, and you’re not gonna take that away from me. And I see crazy things and unlikely things and hilarious things and painfully beautiful things with that eye. Sometimes the odds work in my favor and I can translate what my eye sees with the camera(phone, lately….I should wag my actual hand-to-God camera around with me more often) lens.

I’ve been doing a lot of roadtime back and forth between here and my Father’s house. I do love a good roadtrip even though, so help me God, I am going to fall slap apart if I have to go back again before the calendar turns away from this year and toward the next. There are several routes from here to his home that are pretty equidistant time-wise, so I’ve tried to kick a little variety in there each time. On my last trip home, I encountered this

“I shall not bow down to tyranny.”

and it wasn’t too long after that a Person From This Here Glowy Box said via Twitter that this photo punched up something in her middle, made her wonder about the Story of the Thing.

“Don’t wonder,” I said back, “find the story in it and write it.”

So she did, and she kicked it over to me to read, not sure if it was worth eyeballs being laid on it, and of course it is, so go read the thing and gift her some comments about it.

My actual point is not my lack as a photographer or her gift as a storyteller, but rather the thing I love so much about art in this medium in particular: We have these amazing platforms with which to stir up things in others and by which other creative works bloom outward from our own.

I love that shit. I love it so hard, and that’s why –even though there is bloggy social media bullshit and graft and screeching– I love this community of wayward folks with keyboards attached to Glowy Boxes attached to the ether attached to Glowy Boxes attached to eyeballs. There is magic out there waiting to be translated and handed back every single day.

Do me a favor. When you find it, point to it loudly and exuberantly and encourage the shit out of it. Give people permission to create, even when they don’t explicitly ask for it. Give them permission and praise.

….and those people who would quash the creativity of others? Shun them. Shun the fuck out of them.

12 worked it out »

  1. Ginger 8.6.2012

    Thing 1–you have a fantastic eye. I know plenty of photogs who would kill for your eye. (wait, that sounds funny).

    Thing 2–one of my favorite things about you is how you nurture and coax and honor creativity in those around you. I’ll be totally honest, I sometimes write something difficult (knowing I’m still training my brain to treat words the way they should be treated) with you in mind, like my own badass cheerleader.

    Thing 3–I try to do that for other people. Do unto others man, even in this weird little intertube world.

  2. Jett Superior 8.6.2012


    Namaste, mama.

  3. jonniker 8.7.2012

    I’m seconding what Ginger said and also saying that this whole post made me SO HAPPY. And you do have a helluvan eye, Jetty.

    And you are, as Ginger said, one of the most encouraging, open people I know and I’m grateful. Also, you make me laugh (“I suspect I’ll have to answer to Jesus on this.”)


    I love you.

  4. Jett Superior 8.7.2012

    JONNER! I love you, too.

  5. sarah piazza 8.7.2012

    this. yes.

    love you.

  6. Jett Superior 8.7.2012

    Sarah, you inspire me all the time. I appreciate who you are so much. Love back to you.

  7. John 8.10.2012

    Thank you. I really needed to read this today. I’ve been short on inspiration and generally under a funk. I recently got some bad news, but on the bright side I’ll have more free time to work on rekindling that creative fire.

  8. Jett Superior 8.10.2012

    John, I’ve missed your writing. I hope this means I’ll get to see words from you again soon?

  9. John 8.10.2012

    That’s my goal. I miss it too.

  10. Cheryl 8.11.2012

    I’ve come back to this time and again & still can’t seem to find a starting place to comment. Maybe the coming back to reread it is enough of a comment on how I feel about this one. Besides my full-on love for everything you’ve said & the photos you posted, I need to tell you that the story that evolved from that last photo was perfect.

  11. mcdonnellism 8.11.2012

    Jett, you could never be anything but Southern and I love the way you talk and the way you GET IT. I love the ‘glowy box’ term you use, as if this is all a dream…but still you dream with respect to all those connected keyboards & eyeballs. You are special.

  12. Holmes 8.16.2012

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole permission and encouragement thing lately. Every now and then I get a big shot of gratitude when I remember how lucky I am to have so many creative people in my life.


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