There’s a mouse in my china hutch. He’s been there quite a while. Just standing there, alongside my mother’s china.
WHY? Because one day, I sat down to paint ceramic mice with my children, and when we were done, and the mice were dry, it seemed a safe place to stash them, just for the moment (though it was a little late for “safe” since one was already broken.)
Broken mice live in my china cabinet.
Broken, PEELING mice live in my china cabinet.
Because one day, I stumbled upon them, under the bed, where I had stashed them until the kids were old enough. And forgot them. And then found them, (the mice,) and, with a shake of my head and a laugh, declared that they were (old enough, that is, the kids.)
Only the ceramic paint was all dried out because it took the kids so long to get big enough. So we used other paint. Inappropriate paint. And it peeled.
And every so often, I glance up and see that I have mice living in my china hutch. Broken, peeling mice, with inappropriate paint, marching in place next to the creamer pot.
And I shake my head, and go back to what I was doing.
And every so often, at 3:15 in the afternoon, I find socks and cheerios and overflowing art supplies under the dining room table. Except maybe nobody had cheerios that day.
And I can’t find my coffee cup until the post-night-shift-breakfast-in-the-afternoon light reveals its hiding spot, behind the blinds.
And I wished I owned stock in Kleenex with all the nose-blowing going on and yes, that damn box deserves the magical light!
And one day, my hand reaches out to sweep up the pile on my four-year old’s window-sill just before it resolves itself into poetry, crayons, and bandaids, and earns a reprieve while I grab the camera.
Still life, in four year old. Soon to be swept up, stirred up, and redistributed in a meandering pathways until they find a long-term resting place.
Like the mice.
I used to think photography was all about taking the picture. But the more I learn, the more I think it’s about seeing the image in the first place. And the more I appreciate those who can make me see what is already there–especially if it’s mundane.
And I used to think life was more about the big moments and the next thing. But the more I learn, the more I think it’s mostly dirty socks and cheerios under the table at 3:15 and ecclectic piles of life all over the place. Or more to the point, finding the good stuff IN that mundane stuff.
(I’m almost forty you know, I get to say navel-gazing shit like this now.)
So, a new project. One that’s all about my people, even though they won’t appear. The rules are pretty simple. No people. Strictly documentary–no moving stuff around or making up scenes. But somehow, I don’t think I’ll need to.
The purpose of this project is to document the little, bizarre, incongruous, ridiculous tableaux that fill our lives. The ones that somehow transcend the visual background noise long enough to make me take notice, and shake my head at their absurdity, or beauty, or relevance for some small moment, before returning to my path.
Some may only be relevant to me, others more universal, but I hope a few make you stop and chuckle, or look a little closer to see what on earth that is, or shake your head before you scroll on.
As you were.