I’ve heard it said that driving down a country road, is the best form of therapy. I was in need of a long drive, and there is nothing better than driving down an old country road with the windows down, while chasing a sunset. I don’t intend to be cheesy, corny or sound like an overfiltered Instagram meme with horrible typography, so I must clarify – no, I was not listening to country music. If you must know… I was listening to MPR, and an occasional orchestral track from one of my favorite movie soundtracks.
But none the less, this drive of the open, country road was needed. My closest friends and peers know that I struggle immensely with the business side of being a creative professional. I hate flow charts, graphs, sales tax, budgets, cash flow and anything to do with numbers…and, I hate taking hours away from creating to answer emails and messages. I just want to create. The business side of being a self-run creative professional is very draining to me. And for the past few days, it seems like projects keep piling up while I try to find balance with keeping business operations running smoothly. This balance thing also coincides with a self confidence issue. Maybe not so much a self confidence thing, but confidence in what I am creating, confidence in what I am offering as a creative service; are my images good enough to be exchanged for money? Asking “what the hell am I doing?” All of these emotions and paralyzing thoughts have drained me this week.
I know I am not the only creative who deals with this stuff. Everyone who creates for a living deals with it in some shape or form. These paralyzing thoughts come and go. And so does the energy to answer an email or balance a budget. This week was my time to deal with it head on, and after a few days of struggling, I decided to “chase the light” and do something I have not done in a while: photograph a landscape.
I used to venture out at least 3 times a week on these long, country road drives. I would take off and just drive, letting the sunset be my compass. Every once in a while, I would come across a gem in the prairie, and would wait for the right moment to photograph. The sun would have to rake across the grass or the subject in such a manner that warranted it to be photographed. I got lucky on enough of the drives where I was able to put a small collection of images together and showcase them in a gallery at the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council.
But… then my dad died. And hours alone in a car with endless thoughts prevented me from chasing the light. I tried channeling my grief through the camera… but the open road was not welcoming. So I stopped chasing.
Balance. Confidence. These are my struggles today. But at least I was able to “chase the light” once again for the first time this evening in nearly 10 months. And it’s quite obvious who was riding shotgun given the nature of where the sunset brought me. A barn, a fence post, and a vibrant, dramatic sunset on an open country road.