I share the photo above for a few of reasons:
1. It is silly and funny (I wish I owned that wig) and I fell in a big emotional pothole today and I am trying to fish my way out. This photo reminds me of the side of me that is light and doesn’t take things so seriously. Oh where are you light side?
2. Several of the photobooth pics from my photobooth gallery will be in a cool textbook about identity & culture that is coming out next year.
3. It represents a wonderful lesson about courage and trusting our voice in the world. Let me explain.
Around the time when I started the superhero web site I had an idea to create a photobooth book. It would be a collection of photobooth pics from around the world alongside interviews from the folks being photographed.
A friend and I began the process by standing at a photobooth in an amusement park in Santa Cruz. We paid for people to take their photos for us. Then we would have them answer a list of questions about themselves right there at the booth. So much fun…
I later announced the project on my site and submissions started to come in from all over the world.
Years went by.
And I never wrote the book proposal.
I was afraid. I didn’t know how. I made up excuses about how I wasn’t really a writer and what would I even say on a proposal? I decided to build the book instead. Maybe I could show a publisher what I had in mind.
I decided I needed to learn Quark (a book design program).
More time went by.
I was miserable at Quark and had a wonderful friend help me create the proposal and a look for the pages.
More time went by.
I discovered that a friend was a gift book editor at the exact publishing house I wanted to court. I met with her and showed her my project.
“Oh Andrea!” she said. “If only you would have given this to me sooner. There are 3 books about photobooth pictures coming out this year. We are actually distributing one of them.”
My heart sank.
Hello, cautionary tale.
If I had simply trusted my voice and my vision when I began the project, (literally 3 years before I presented my idea) it is possible that my book could have been published. I had invented so many reasons why I wasn’t ready to create a proposal. I needed to get more submissions. I needed to learn the right graphics program. I needed a better printer.
But really. I was just afraid.
And that’s okay! But this is the risk. The cost of staying in that place a little too long.
I have another book project in the works, and I am in full swing with the proposal now. I am still afraid. I don’t always believe I’m a writer. I don’t always believe I’m a photographer. My mind screams “Big phony!” all the time.
But alongside all of the evil voices, are amazing friends, a life coach supporting me in keeping my deadlines, and a community here on this site called YOU.
I am creating in the face of all of that chatter.
And dammit. This time I’m going to do it.