Writer, photographer and runner Michael Lebowitz writes a letter to his editor to try and explain where the words have gone. In an act of faith (and perhaps as an incentive to encourage Michael to keep writing), his editor decides to publish the letter.
To My Editor:
I have trouble writing; that is, I have trouble being a writer at the same time as I am shooting photography and building my little business. I am a different guy when I write… I like him a little better and I miss him because he’s quiet and he allows things to happen. The shooter in me is often about making decisions that are already known: e.g. this light, that setting. The results are often as magical; that is, surprising, unexpected, but I am aware of being different in the world when I’m shooting, of seeing it differently, of seeing with a frozen moment. It’s quite different from the drift of imagination that comes from the sentences and words of a piece of writing that expands time and goes as deeply as I am willing to go to heart of things.
Writing, I guess, is an act of courage and faith, whereas shooting is preparation meeting fate. Both “me’s” have something of value, but one life is hard enough, and these days I am stretched and waiting in the places where I truly come alive, where peace comes into the silence in the dark of the moments before the dawn, in the slow footfall of memory and desire along the crooked path to daylight on the backs of the words that come into the waiting day, bidden but unannounced and unknown until they are there. And then, from time to time, remarkably, they are captured forever in stories that tell me who I was and who I have become.
Today, I am shooting another race. Many of the same faces will be there, the miles will unfold, the weather will turn, and the photographs will be taken, sorted, uploaded, and possibly sold. I guess inside this I am tired. My runner’s body is sore, still old and slow, still a little heavy, still fighting age by tooth and nail — and yet tomorrow is my long-gone Mom’s birthday so I think mortality and memory is having it’s way with me this cold May morning.
Oh well, hello words, good to see you back here on the screen. We’ll talk soon and spend some time together. With Dylan Thomas, we (me and my inner Ray Chandler) ain’t about to “go gentle into that good night”.
We rejoice, indeed we revel, in our small ways, with the coming of the light.
“…sometimes I can barely see” © Michael Lebowitz. All Rights Reserved.