Walk Out Into The Unknown

From the moment you walk out into the unknown a longing is instilled with every step that gives you courage.

From the moment you walk out into the unknown a longing is instilled with every step that gives you courage. By Melanie Gow at http://www.myofficetoday.co.uk

I saw this while out walking in the mist this week and there is something so striking in the solidity of the man and the lack of detail in his destination.

I saw this at a time when I needed to understand something about walking out into the unknown.

Around Wednesday last week I took my sons out to lunch, then I tackled an outstanding parking ticket, and then I arranged for a friend to visit, then I did the washing up and, basically, I have found a way to avoid writing the piece I was stuck on ever since.

Today is looking more hopeful, now. I am trying to write about one particular part of the Walking With Angels Photobook where I have to articulate a life-changing moment; it’s one thing to go through it, it’s another to articulate it, and it’s altogether another to tell the truth.

Writing has always been quite the hardest thing I do; noticing a moment and taking its photograph comes from an instinctual place and then arrives in the conscious complete, holding all the information in it with a simplicity.

Whereas I see writing as a monster, a chimera, that needs taming. I have to wrestle with words that have arcane powers and blur and fade as I get nearer, and still I have to push past and down to a still quiet core where I can make the thoughts cooperate. 

Sometimes the battles feel Herculean in scope, sometimes I win, sometimes I’m bruised and winded. For some reason I get up and do it every day, as if one of these far-ranging adventures will end the struggle.

At some point over the 33 days and 800km across Spain, well actually by Day 4, I found I was too tired to write anything at the end of any day. Maybe tired isn’t quite right, I was temporarily but profoundly crippled, spaced out with exertion and barely capable of washing our clothes in time to dry for the next day, and had no strength for the fight. I turned to my camera far more for support, each photograph holds not just a thousand jumbled words, but snatches of conversations, sounds, scents, even textures and emotions. They are more than bookmarks and memory keepers, they hold vast tracks of information and meaning for me. I rely on photography to tame the fire, and communicate with a simplicity that knows no boundaries.

I also find that through the captured moment I can focus the battle down to one essential thought. Telling the story of just that moment helps to subdue the chimera.

Today I decided I would move on from the mire I am in by turning to a different photograph, and work through that in a flanking manoeuvre. You rarely see a man in a heavy, wool overcoat and suit, with polished shoes, walking any distance, and here he is striding out into the mist. I realised that is why I set out every day, I walk in to the unknown with a longing that is instilled in every step and gives me courage.

From the moment you walk out into the unknown a longing is instilled with every step that gives you courage.Now, I am going back to the piece I’m stuck on …


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