Sunday, October 14

barnstorm XX - back in black

last year i had the incredible opportunity to attend the eddie adams workshop in upstate new york. it will always be one of the biggest honors of my career. four days of sleep deprivation, inspiration, scortching critiques and induction into the barnstorm family. it's a lot to take in.

over the last year i've gone back in my mind to that first walk up the driveway to the barn. faculty and alumni line the gravel road, cheering me on towards the door that reads 'you've arrived.' i try to recapture that feeling of relief, that moment saturated with pride and humbleness and confidence. it was the complete lack of doubt i remember most.

sometime over that next four days the doubt crept back in, small but persistent. in the face of so much amazing work, by peers and mentors, the power of my own seemed so jouvenile, like baby steps to their ballet. those cheers on the drive hadn't all been for me. and with a few more careless thoughts i deconstructed the moment i had worked so hard for.

i still felt an incredible boost from the workshop and an imperative to use the talent so many had invested in. there was just a lingering doubt. until this year.

on october 1st i rode a bus into the catskills as a member of the black team, the alumni that run the behind-the-scenes of the workshop. for four days there is non-stop raking, weeding, mowing, painting, scraping, sanding, cleaning, dusting, mulching, raking, tacking, planting, sweeping, hedging, insect-bombing, stocking, raking, mopping, excavating, furniture arranging, stone laying, pumpkin carving and did i mention raking? it's the most meditative housework i have ever done and as close to church as i have ever felt.

day two, standing on a ladder, two stories up, scraping paint from a window frame, my triceps aching from a day of raking, my blisters stinging from the sweat, my sense of gratitude overcoming my fear of falling, it hit me. everyone on that driveway the year before had done just as much work for me. over 100 people. countless man hours in dedication, in service, in belief in the talent that walks through that door. and all at once, i finally felt like part of the family.

i hope i have the opportunity to go back again next year.