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Jan 28, 2014

Gaining Traction in the New Year

It has been a little bit quiet around here since before Christmas, even. That does not mean that things haven't been going on, it's just been content I am unable to share, yet. The above photo is a teaser of some of it. Work has been produced, projects have been ongoing, unique one-time opportunities have arisen and consumed reasonably significant portions of time, but with good results.

As I've stated before, so much of my energy goes into Challenging Reality because I feel that that is the area where I can have the greatest usefulness as the body of work continues to grow. I had this idea that I would start my campaign in early January and have sent out dozens of cold e-mails (similar to a cold call but an e-mail) and have seen my readership on Challenging Reality skyrocket. That has not happened because, though I have a prewritten e-mail, I am trying to customize it to each individual or organization so that they know I actually have an idea what they're about and and not just sending them unwanted form e-mails. That takes time. Not to mention, it is intimidating to send out those cold e-mails. I'm not even having to be rejected as a person may be with a cold call. I simply don't receive responses from those who are uninterested. And, I have received some very affirming support from a number of organizations that I have reached out to including the Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago, where I had a very brief visit 16 years ago. They gave me both some people to contact and permission to use Doctor Vogel's name when contacting them. He is the lead doctor in the neurological department of the hospital and the doctor I saw when I was there for a few brief hours. In addition to that they want me to be one of their people featured in the alumni portion of their newsletter, once it is instituted.

While attempting to interact with the Rick Hansen Foundation on Twitter, I was responded to by Reveca Torres from Backbones who wanted to feature me as one of their Hi Rollers, which is the post linked to in this sentence. That was no small honour and was the second time in a week I was having a conversation with someone in Chicago. As well, Challenging Reality will be featured in her newsletter that reaches over 2500 people and she wants me to write a post about it for her blog. I will begin working on that as time permits. Another potential upcoming opportunity related to disability is a piece I may be creating for Brain Week here in Saskatoon.

Brain Week is a worldwide week of events at various places, mostly hospitals and Universities, of activities, displays, artwork, silent auctions and other things that will help increase the awareness of brain injuries and diseases. It was thanks to Help-Portrait this year that this opportunity came about. A couple that I met at the gatherings for Help-Portrait, Garrett and Amanda, have connections with one of the researchers at the University of Saskatchewan who is organizing this year's events. They may not be as extensive in the past, but hopefully if I do make a photo it will be useful to the event. Whether it will, or not, I have already found a gelatin mold shaped like a brain that I have access to, not that they are hard to find online, but at this time of year shipping can be slow, so I will be making a photo of a brain analogue. In the interest of not making it look like a preserved brain, I started looking for real images online last night and was somewhat surprised at the feelings they caused in me. As with most internal anatomy, it isn't immediately beautiful. I think what caught me most off guard was my response to seeing the underside of one where the brainstem had been separated from the spinal cord. I will do my best to find a recipe that best resembles the colour as to have the greatest impact.

As much as there are a number of photos I have mulling around in the back of my mind, the ones I feel most motivated to complete are those related to Challenging Reality. With so much of the advertising and networking time being spent the time for actually making photos has been reduced and I find it impacting me. A number of them I need to wait until the weather warms up, others will take portions of time and portions of our home to complete. I'm still trying to find the best bracket of time for those without leaving too much equipment set up for too long in our living room or dining room.

In the next little while I will have something with more variety than the repetitive pattern of photos of Kiwi that I am noticing on here. Sometimes a lot of my own personal work has seemed to be without purpose. Challenging Reality put an end to that but I know that had I not played around, photographed the variety of things that I have photographed before now, and simply experimented, I would not have been ready to put together the quality of work I am not able to for when opportunities like Brain Week arise. Supposedly, to become truly skilled at any one thing you need to put in at least 10,000 hours. I have no idea where I am at time-wise, but I do recognize that any time spent studying, practicing or experimenting will pay off in the long run.