Monday, June 30, 2014


Everything is Alright, Digital Photograph by Milly West

Frankl quoted Nietzsche that if a person has a why to live he can bear many hows. Or so I just read.

A shower tune by Jimmy Fontana for those of us who need a little la la la la la this morning.

Yes, yes, grateful for music and for those oddly timed, extraordinary moments in my life when, once again, Frankl is mentioned. You know I am.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

never too long ago, never soon enough

Dear Dan Carlin,

Yesterday I spent two hours on the phone with this young man. He told me everything I ever needed to know about the first month of World War I. You, sir, have ignited a passion for history I never even knew he had. So I just want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your research.

His Mom

Today I am so very grateful for an incredible conversation with my son.

Saturday, June 28, 2014



Much gratitude goes for the conversations I have had this morning. From research into World War I to the life and images of a photographer discovered by the masses after her death, it's turned into an invigorating morning.

Friday, June 27, 2014

same but not, less drama

Slater once told me the best way to change the negative behavior of another is to ignore it.
The behavior is seeking attention. Don't give it.

Incredible reasoning for a child who may have not done his homework. Quite beautiful, I think.
Still as a parent you have to call bullshit since all negative behaviors lead to negative consequences, and you have to stop it before it gets out of control and it's all common sense and I'm not telling you anything you don't know.

The point is I'm thinking about this as I drive home at 1:00 on a Friday afternoon. It's been a good week. Several white page, blinking cursor projects have either been completed or are in a "this is turning into something" stage of the creation process. It's the best kind of exhaustion, and I laugh when I consider a meeting I had scheduled at 9:00am that morning.

The guy didn't show up, didn't call, didn't care, didn't exhibit any concern for another human.
And I think I've grown because I now know it's not my job (it's not even in my power) to save him.

Again and again and over and over I am grateful for the ability to let go.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


The Rustler

Two and a half hours later I walk out of the restaurant and realize it's still daylight. The next morning I look at photos and understand the building is acting as a time machine. The people working there, scientists from a time when a meal was a romance, a slow dance, perform some magic act. And I don't know when it happened or how even but at some point in the evening there were no longer any more points and the food and the service and the people all blurred into one grand experience.

Highly recommended.

Today I am grateful that places like this still exist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

cigarettes and kittens

Okay so maybe I would have changed a couple of things.

Today I am grateful that the kitten didn't die in my car last night and there is no opossum in there this morning. Some days it's all about the reprieves you realize you received.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


We'll get there one day but it is likely that we'll look back and be all, Remember when..those were the days…Dude…if only we could go back…

we wouldn't change a damn thing.

Today I am grateful for fond memories and all those people and places and experiences who/which helped shape what the hell/who I am today.

Monday, June 23, 2014

will to meaning

another Queen City cut

Because I don't know I like to imagine she is 32, was able to get a place for cheap 'cause she could renovate it on her own. Her real name is Delilah Dedra Moore but her friends call her Dee Dee for short. Sometimes during the early morning hours she sits out back, has a cup of coffee and thinks, maybe this is enough.

Then, nah, I can do more.

Today I am grateful for those who never seem to give up.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

the couple who danced for me

I was nervous about this deadline. All the talk of violence and murders and ohgoodgosh, don't go to Meridian after dark. But I had to. All the lights were what I loved about the city as a kid. So last night I took my camera down the sidewalks and alleys, and I found this couple who danced for me. The photo didn't make the cut for Sowashee Power & Light, but here I just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in the Queen City at night.

Today I am so very grateful for the kindness of strangers in this world.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

peace flags in the wind

I think Slater was about this kid's age when he took a boy scout trip where he had to build his own shelter and be alone for either twenty-four or forty-eight hours. I don't remember which now, but I remember the look on his face when he got home after the trip. He was spent in a good way, exhausted from accomplishment. Dirty and rambling about how he had found a creek and what he had built and how this happened and that happened and then he took a long bath and slept until I had to force him back to life.

When I saw this kid the other night I thought of Slater and that trip.

Hey. Um. I was told to bring my camera up here, but I'm no exactly sure what is going on. Can you tell me what this is? Did you take those photos? We're standing at the entrance of the installation.

Yeah. I have this art teacher and we're traveling and there are these flags, thousands of them, and he's been to the Himalayas and Haiti and I've seen the photos and they're beautiful and he's hanging them everywhere and it's about peace. It's Peace Flags in the Wind.

You're exhausted.

Yeah. Well. We just got here Sunday night and we were in Memphis and we've been to Atlanta and Montgomery to the Rosa Parks Museum. We stayed in a monastery in Memphis. 

Wow. I betcha got some great photos there.

Yeah. He nods.

So how are you traveling?

A van with a U-Haul attached.

There's another student slumped in a chair against the wall. A camera around his neck, I think he's sleeping. Other kids are bringing in boxes. I've obviously arrived to the museum on the night they are setting up and then I see him, the teacher.

His name is J.L. Vasile and from what I can gather he has been teaching art at Pinecrest Preparatory Middle High School in Miami, FL where he and his students have been creating art for peace and in the process have created, inspired and displayed thousands of peace flags from all over the world.

The kid I talked to made him sound like a legend.

And here we are again to the point I have to say I am so very grateful for our teachers in this world.

If you'd like you can follow what this teacher and his students are doing here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

thrive too or two (however you want to look at it)

Meridian Museum of Art, 2nd floor
I wait and watch and the kid is doing great work, but I've just been downstairs comparing my photograph to others who show me I have much more studying to do. Now I'm upstairs at the museum taking pictures of a photographer who is accomplished, has accomplished (dot, dot, dot) his photographs are stunning (dot, dot, dot) at fifteen years old and I am feeling especially behind the curve at forty-four.

Here is recurring theme. There are these people, Joe McNally, Betty Press, Dawn Early, Ken Flynt, Courtney Taylor Trawick, this guy

who have all this natural talent, this incredible ability to create and what I want to do is be good at capturing it. What I know is I have more work to do and what I can tell you is I have yet to find an end to the list of all the good around me and above me and how thankful I am to Kate Cherry for allowing me to be a part of the People's Choice Art Competition and for suggesting I take my camera to the second floor.

The kid, the photographer, the fifteen year old exhausted (dot, dot, dot) all he can talk about is the guy who is teaching him. Hopefully we'll have more on that tomorrow.

Today I am grateful for you, for reason, for meaning.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I am voting a lie when Kate asks, Do you have your camera?
When you finish voting you'll want to go upstairs and see what's happening.
Only if you'll take all those other photographs off the walls.
She laughs. Your photograph is nice.
She is especially kind.

Upstairs is creative chaos. 
A children's art class on one side of the room, a TV interview on the other. 
A guy standing in the middle of an installation, photographs surrounding him.

He is exhausted. There is good reason, and I hope to tell you about it tomorrow.

Until then I'll leave you with this quote I found yesterday morning:

Through art, children invite us into their thoughts by communicating through words, drawing, painting, clay, and a number of related "languages" to express these (Edwards et al., 1994). It is our role to provide children with rich experiences, good-quality materials, and skills that will help them be lifelong learners and lifelong thinkers.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to put in a good day's work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

shameless/full self promotion

You, like me, need to go to a museum and not just any museum but a super nice museum located in Meridian, MS. Because. You know. I care about your exposure to art, not just through your monitor but right there, right there in front of the work with all the great lighting and nice music playing.

You need this.
So does your wife/husband/friend/kid.
While you're all there I don't guess it would hurt to vote for this.

Though I do care, I am self promoting.

Today I am grateful to know this creepy, dirty feeling will leave once I take a shower and put in a good day's work. Or at least I hope it will.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Today I am grateful for the understanding we are all caught somewhere between who people need us to be and who we think we are.

It's freeing.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

being particular

Today, as always, I am grateful for my Dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


I'm certainly no expert, but sometimes I think it's all about the when.

Today I am grateful for synchronicity.

Also, there is this. Total love fest. Watch it. You'll see.

Friday, June 13, 2014

run, Ben, run away from mass hysteria

Downtown Jackson, MS looks as if it has been bombed.
If I drive faster than three miles per hour on Capitol Street I'll lose a tire.
Later I sit in a conference and listen to lawyers talk about ethics and warnings.

Last night a friend calls to tell me Mississippi is now touted as number one in corruption.

We have obviously been given a gift within the decades of beat downs by the national media because somewhere along the way my generation learned to look into the eyes of their children and say, Baby, not one other single human being gets to tell you who you are. You get to define yourself in this world.

Today I am grateful for the lady who sat next to me and told me her life story.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

kids are the coolest

I seriously don't  hang out with these people enough.

Today I am grateful for the children of this world.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


There is a light coming through the window. I would panic but no longer have the energy to do so. Whatever time of day it is I'll either handle it or won't. Sleep like this doesn't come often.

Today I am grateful for the ebb in the ebb and flow.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hays Berry Farms

I told family and friends I was going to Dumas, MS to photograph a crazy man but even when I said it I didn't know the extent to which what I was saying could be considered the truth. What I knew of the truth came from a little research and a phone interview I did with the guy last year. Since then I have stopped doing magazine articles and consequently forgot about the moment I pitched this story to a second publication. I forgot until last week when I heard from the editor, a quick but crucial reminder of the June 10th deadline. Because of what I remembered I didn't panic. I decided I was up for the challenge, and an email response from Robert Hays said he was as well.

What I remembered was that it was the easiest interview I ever conducted, that he reminded me of my Dad, that I could not write as fast as he could tell me everything I couldn't imagine I needed to know about a berry, a blackberry to be exact. Still that's not even exact enough because we won't even get into how many types of blackberries there are or how many Robert grows.

What I will tell you is that the eight hours in the car yesterday was worth it. Because what he does works. Because Robert has found a way to more than double the average yield of a blackberry plant without the use of any fertilizers or chemicals.

I have to write the article today about how Robert does what he does, but for you I'll summarize by writing it comes down to hard work and common sense though common is not a word I would ever use to describe what Robert does. In fact, once Robert grows enough berries to feed the world I think we need to put him on any other project where we need an expert. 

Anything, I swear. Just put this guy's brain on it.

Today I am grateful for a trip, for a little hike on a farm, for how the people of this world continue to amaze and inspire me.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Bright Idea by Erin Hardin, Oil on Copper

Today I am grateful to know where I have been lacking and to understand there is always work to be done.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Today I am grateful for timely messages.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

people I'd stand in line to meet

You know those people of this world who by just their presence can brighten your day, who make you wonder, does she ever come down from that, whose good morning acts as a sign you will experience such?

People like her.

Today I am grateful for people who serve as examples for us.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Never Alone

Leonard Cohen calls him the Shepherd of the Strings. I call Javier Mas the focus of my Never Alone photo which is hanging in the Meridian Museum of Art now through July 26th. If you get a chance stop by and see it along with all the other works submitted by local artists. If you have an extra five bucks in your pocket and feel like giving to the arts, please tell Kate Cherry you would like to vote for your favorite piece.

Also, as with all the other works, this is for sale. It is a 11" x 14" stretched canvas going for (ohmygosh, who does she think she is?) $150. The original comes back to me, but I'll do one more print just for you. Signed if you'd like accompanied by a personal thank you note whether you like it or not. If you are interested in purchasing the piece and don't live in the area you can call Kate at (601) 693-1501 between 11am to 5pm CST Wednesday through Saturday. Together Kate and I will make sure it is shipped.

In case you're wondering, the five dollars it takes to vote and twenty-five percent of all sales from the show help fund the great work Meridian Museum of Art is doing in our area.

Today I am grateful for all the sweet firsts in this world. It's good to know you never get too old for those.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

old haunt

Como Courtyard

There was a time when I would imagine what the perfect future would be and I would feel what it would feel like to be there and then I would say thank you. Then I stopped imagining so much because I felt like I was ruining it. What if it could be better than I imagined?


What if I was missing the best parts by always imagining more?

Today I am grateful for groceries, a working air conditioner, hot water, clean clothes, and, I know, it sounds like I'm bragging. Doesn't it?

Monday, June 2, 2014

another episode of kids these days

This was last weekend at the beach. Couple of quick shots before they left. Looking at them now I wonder if we will believe in anything for our children or if our children show us what we can believe. For me, it's the latter. It's one of those things I don't think I ever knew to dream.

Today I am so very grateful that this guy knows how rare and precious what he has can be.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Standing room only to the front porch concert.

Today I am grateful for the morning sun.