These Are My People

the human store, frank armstrong, photographer, people

Frank Armstrong, Alpine, AR, 1991

People enter our lives in a variety of ways.

Some people we refer to as family––both blood relatives and those that are like family without the genetic makeup. You might be closer to some than others. This isn’t your fault or theirs––life just happens.

Then there are friends––some stay, and some go. Your taste in friends changes as you grow older and begin to see who you are as a person. Your priorities change and that’s when you realize you want to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have similar life goals and dreams.

We also have teachers, mentors and advisors. Some of these people are hand-picked and some find us––we have no idea how they arrived on the scene, and frankly, we don’t care. We like them around. Some stick around even after their jobs are done. Some become friends.

And let’s not forget our loves and lovers. We are attracted to them for one thing or another. Remember that the beauty on the outside is just a facade to their inner-most beauty. It’s important to look beyond the shell because one’s inner beauty never changes. Love radiates from the inside out.

We the people. . .
People are people. . .
People are strange . . .
These are my people.

Who are the people in your life who have helped enabled you to do great things? You don’t need to have a large family, or a wide circle of friends to figure this out. It’s not about the number of people in your life that count. Leave numbers for bankers, accountants, and mathematicians to deal with. It’s the quality of those people that matters most. Make sure to thank them once in a while.

In Memory of Man’s Best Friend

booches, dogI had a dog for almost as many years as I’ve been married. I don’t know if she ever thought of herself as a dog because we never treated her like one––we always treated her like a child––for 15 1/2 years.

We gave this small, little Lhasa Apso the name Booches, a slight take on the Jay & Silent Bob saying “snoochie boochies”. She almost never barked––kinda like Silent Bob (a non-talker). She didn’t give a shit about the other dogs in the neighborhood. She was cool like that. She eventually earned a few other names: Boocheena, Booches-Booches Galli, Boo Boo, and the list goes on and on. We used to change the lyrics of songs and sing to her. My Sharona became My Boocheena. There were a bunch of those, again, too many to count.

A couple of weeks ago she got to go on her last vacation. She liked it up in Maine. She liked the long car ride, roaming around in the grass, and even walking by the lake. I think she especially liked sleeping on the bed in the boathouse while we all listened to the waves roll against the shore at night.

The house is so quiet now––too quiet. There are no more squeaky alligator toys to pick up, or the pitter-patter of her long nails running around on the hardwood floors. The zebra striped blanket that she used to lay on is gone, so are the dog bowls and random dog food kernels on the floor.

I used to speak to her and tell her, “I love you, do you know what that means?” I think she did, although she would never kiss me back or lick my face––ever! She always ran to her mother––my wife seemed to be the calm to my wake. My wife would tell me that when I was away, she always used to sleep on my side of the bed––that probably was the only way that I knew that she missed me. Every time  I left the house, I would always say, “Be good. I’ll be back soon.” She would look at me probably thinking, “hurry up and leave, so I get my nap on.”

Pet owners will understand this rant more than anyone else. I wasn’t trying to get all sappy and depressing––I actually should have used the hashtag #NSFW (not safe for work) on this story since some people might have a tendency to tear up while reading it. I did before I even finished writing the first sentence.

dog paw, tattooAnyhow, I feel a little better now. I need to thank my wife for being my rock, the kind folks at the MSPCA Angell for taking care of us yesterday, and for the folks at Regeneration Tattoo in Allston for making sure that I never forget her.

I hope you get to eat an endless supply of cooked chicken wherever you are.

A Thankful Reflection

I have been connected to a lot of people in my life. My most important connections, besides my family and closest friends, are the peers, mentors and the network of artists, photographers, collectors and educators that I have met along the way. I am very thankful to all of you, especially on a day like today.

frank white, turkey, panopticon gallery, photograph

Frank Sherwood White, Turkey, from the series Inflatables.

Adding a few books to my shelf

So yes, we are now aware that GoodReads has been acquired by Amazon.  There seems to be mixed emotions about this throughout the social media circles that I’m in, and that’s normal when any change happens.  It’s a great website, and if you’re into books, then check it out.  In fact, check out my GoodReads page (see link at the bottom of this post).

I’ve been on a memoir quest this year, both writing one and reading many.  Actually, I have another memoir idea that I’m trying to formulate now concerning my paternal grandfather.  Born a twin on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, as a young boy he was shipped off to the United States to live with his aunt and uncle.  The specifics of why this happened are vague.  I plan to go to Nova Scotia this summer to research my heritage and hopefully learn a little more about my family and myself.

elsewhere, richard russo, the shipping news, annie proulx, books, book suggestions, reading, amreading, Pulitzer Prize

Anyhow, I’ve been getting some nice support from friends and fellow artists about my writing process and suggestions on books to read.  These are the two newest additions to my list.  I will be reading Elsewhere by Richard Russo first, then will tackle The Shipping News by Annie Proulx next––two Pulitzer Prize winners that I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own.

If anyone is curious what books I’ve been reading or what books are on my shelf, visit my GoodReads page (here).