And then there were two…

Thursday night was a blessing, a confirmation of my decision to “pass the baton” of my photography class to Cheryl. While I enjoyed sharing my thoughts on composition that evening, as 9:00 pm rolled around I was tired and ready to call it a night. One of my students asked a question about capturing the little raindrop splashes formed when rain hits existing puddles. I froze — not because I couldn’t answer, but because class was over and unlike in the past, I did not want to stay late.

Cheryl jumped in and offered to take the two students who’d stayed behind (everyone else was gone) out to a fountain near the entrance of the building. She said they could play with their cameras and see what they came up with. I put my things in my car and then wondered over to the fountain to see how the impromptu shoot was going.

I could not be putting this class in better hands! Cheryl very generously explained some technical concepts required for shooting both moving water and shooting in low light. She then offered to pull her car around so the two students could use its headlights  to play a little longer, since by this time it was well past 9:30 pm.

We have two classes left (if you don’t count the Saturday field trip to Galveston that I throw in as a “bonus”). I’m feeling a little bittersweet, but in a good way. I’ve already given some of my resource materials to Cheryl to use (or not) as she sees fit. There’s a lightening in my spirit with the passing of this particular responsibility.

I expect I’ll always enjoy making photographs of the things that I find lovely. For that reason, I expect my blog name will continue to be “A Scribbler & A Shutterbug” for the random occasion I share a visual story with you.

 

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I regret not picking up this Baby Brownie I saw in an antique store in Comfort, Texas last May. Aside from the fact that it’s so stinkin’ cute, I wonder who owned it and what memories he or she captured with its lens. 

 

Wrapping Up and Moving On

I taught my first photography class in the spring of 2011. Having always been a hobbyist, I felt incredibly unqualified. I had to concentrate intently on not hyperventilating from the barrage of nerves that threatened me each week. When I try to remember that first class, it is mostly a blur. In its original incarnation, the class met three hours a week for 14 weeks. I cannot for the life of me remember what I managed to talk about for a total of 42 hours, over the course of the semester! Apparently whatever it was was mildly informative and moderately entertaining, because the 24 people who signed up left me with positive evaluations, and I even had some people say they enjoyed the class so much they planned on coming back. I am still a bit flabbergasted by this.

Over the years, the class has morphed into its current format — a six week class presenting the technical aspects of photography, followed by a second six week class composed of guest speakers and photowalks, each with a maximum of twelve students. Sometimes there’s a waiting list, other times it’s me plus four — the minimum number of students required for the class to make. The class I dubbed the “Making Friends with Your Camera” class ended up bringing me more than a few friends of my own.

One student from the early days wanted to learn to take photos of her granddaughter. It’s funny, though, how she started down one path and ended up doing something completely different. A classmate’s invitation to go on a wildlife photowalk sparked a passion for bird photography that came completely out of left field. After she finished my basic class, she took off running — seeking out additional photography classes, watching YouTube tutorials, practicing, practicing, practicing. Always learning! And her work has won awards — people have purchased her work to hang on the walls of their homes and their businesses. I’m incredibly proud of her.

It was really a no-brainer when I realized this fall that I really need to, really want to pass the torch and I thought of Cheryl. I’ve enjoyed the almost eight years that I’ve taught this class. I guesstimate I’ve probably helped between 250 – 300 people make friends with their cameras. But I have other things I want to focus on and I know my former student — my now friend — will do a fabulous job of helping people make friends with their cameras when she becomes the new photography teacher in the spring. I’ll begin my last session this evening with my friend observing and assisting. I’m a little sad — teaching this class has been a huge part of how I define myself:

“What do you do?”

“I have my own business, I’m a writer, and I teach photography at the college.”

I have the business to help our family economy. I teach photography because my teacher asked me if I would when he moved away, and I discovered I enjoyed it.

But the thing that I’ve done since I was in grade school, the thing I want to find more time for, the thing that I always find myself coming back to is there in the middle, in the heart of my answer:

I’m a writer.

Highly Recommended:

Anything taught by Ron Rozelle. I didn’t grow up in the Brazosport area, so I didn’t have the good luck to sit at the feet of Brazoswood High’s most excellent creative writing teacher. Fortunately, since retiring, Ron has chosen to share his writerly wisdom by teaching three day workshops for those seeking to unleash their inner Hemingway,  Bradbury, or whomever. If you work, I can’t think of a better use of a vacation day or two. If you’re retired, all the better. I attended his Wordsmithing 101 class at the beginning of January and it was worth every penny of the registration fee. Great teaching well-seasoned with entertaining stories and encouragement.

If you’re in the Brazosport area or out near Brenham, I urge you to avail yourself of Ron’s expertise. You won’t be sorry.

Two upcoming events on my agenda that I’m very much looking forward to are a repeat of my Wordsmithing 101 workshop in Clute, in the Brazosport area south of Houston, in March and a memoir workshop in Brenham, Texas in June. Both communities have excellent hotels, good places to eat, and interesting things to […]

via Two upcoming writing workshops — Ron Rozelle Wordsmith

Image Magazine

The first issue of 2018 is now available and yours truly has THREE contributions within its pages! My first story in the spring of 2016 was about the Alvin Historical Museum, and readers enjoyed it so much that I was asked to continue with a series on the museums throughout Brazoria County. A few months later I pitched the idea of a series of short articles on the historical markers throughout the county. Thus were born two regular series: Museum Go-Round and Park at the Mark.

Park at the Mark: The Confederate Cemetery (page 28)

Out of the Storm: The Marguerite Rogers House Museum (page 30)

I also have a Writer’s Reflections  piece in this issue, thinking back on the half marathon I walked in 2017.

The Friendship Race (page 36)

I hope you enjoy my articles, as well as those of the delightfully talented writers I am honored to work with!

Keep choosing joy!

Laura

P.S. — In addition to writing our articles, we also do all our own photography, unless otherwise noted.

 

Good Intentions and Well Laid Plans

So today has not gone quite as I’d hoped. I planned to really tackle some of the finishing paintwork (doors, trim that could use another coat), but I’ve been busy attending to other matters. Balancing checkbooks, returning phone calls, scheduling appointments, and working up a blind quote for a repeat customer.

I did a little googly detective work, too. There is a lovely home in Alvin, over one hundred years old, that I have loved since I was a little girl. Before I was old enough to do so myself, I would ask my mom to drive by so I could gaze upon the fanciest house I’d seen in my young life. Older, running errands for my mom, trips to the grocery store somehow always required sidetracking down South Beauregard Street. Even now, when I return to Alvin for whatever reason, I manage to find an excuse to drive past that elegant Victorian. Thanks to the internet (and my hardheaded persistence), I located the name of the owner and carefully penned a letter of inquiry on nice stationery, asking if I might write an article on the home and its history for Image Magazine. I enclosed my Image business card and I’m hoping my handwritten letter will open the door (literally) to a visit.

The key to a successful interview will not be asking the right questions or taking nice photos.

The key will be not passing out from unbearable excitement.

A Tuesday Reunion

Yesterday I spent some time filling out my planner for the week. One of my goals is to be more diligent about scheduling my time. That encompasses responsibilities and fun! So when I sat down yesterday and entered appointments and to-do’s in my Agenda 52 Planner, tomorrow’s entry was especially exciting.

Years ago when I worked at the law firm, I had the pleasure of working for a legal assistant named Sallie. We were a good match and I enjoyed working for her until life took us in different directions. We lost touch for many years, and then one day I decided to see if I could reconnect with her through Facebook, and was happily successful!

Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this) we are meeting for lunch and I think we both are as excited as little kids. It will be so nice to catch up with each other after such a long time. She is a wordsmith, in addition to many other things (a lawyer, a realtor, a homeless animal advocate), and I look forward to hearing all about life since we worked together back in the day.

I’m not sure lunch is going to be long enough.

Try, Try Again

A few years ago (longer than I care to admit), I began writing a novel. When I think about the earliest pages of that novel, I blush with embarrassment at how terrible it was. And yet I was so proud of it. At the time I thought it was really, really good. You know those novelists who think they have no need of an editor? That their work is ready for print the second they type the words? Yeah. Silly, silly novelists.

Anyway, while the initial beginning draft of my novel needed a lot of work, my characters must be pretty interesting, because I have had people who knew me back then (over six years ago) ask me about Kate and Sam. Not “Oh, how’s your novel coming?” but, “Have you written any more of Kate and Sam’s story?”

And then there’s Mr. Petrosian, the Armenian grocer that my husband adores. Somewhere along the way, he misunderstood something and thought I was going to get rid of Mr. Petrosian. Any time the subject of my novel comes up, my guy starts campaigning for Mr. Petrosian’s continued existence. I have to reassure him emphatically that Mr. Petrosian will not be going anywhere.

In October 2015, I tackled revising what I’d written, because I wanted to resolve some glaring issues with point of view before moving forward. I’d finished cleaning out my mom’s house after she died, and I needed a distraction before my sister and I began the renovation work needed to sell the house. I rented a friend’s beach house for four days and revised like crazy, wrapping up the weekend with 20,000 good words. And then I didn’t touch it again because life got in the way. I would tell myself that it took Margaret Mitchell ten years to write Gone With the Wind, so I still had a couple of years left to complete my masterpiece.

This past summer, my laptop died. Didn’t just crash. Completely died. I had them remove the hard drive because it was fine, and there was hope that I could have the data moved to my new computer. I got busy, we went on vacation, then there was Hurricane Harvey and the summer flooding.

I can’t find the hard drive.

I have no idea what happened to it. I thought for sure I would find it in the middle of our room shuffle/painting project. I don’t have a clue where it is.

I jus spent about ninety minutes seeing if I could find the 20,000 good words off the external hard drive I used as a backup.

A few odds and ends, but nothing of substance.

I have a binder full of marked up chapters from when I participated in the critique group. Unfortunately, the marked up chapters are the crap that I revised that four day weekend in October.

I was able to find a few of the revised segments I copied and pasted in a chat window to share with my friend. I located a snippet in an email.

I guess all there is to do is to try, try again. Kate, Sam, and Mr. Petrosian are still there, still wanting their story told. Who am I to tell them “no”?


I had some flash drives lying in a dish and thought “I just wonder….”

AND THE MISSING 26,066 WORDS WERE FOUND. And the angels sang…

Hallelujah!!!