Dislodging the Unmovable Boulder

I wanted flowers. I planted flowers. I expected flowers. Why didn’t I water them?!

Three years ago, I put a whole bunch of images up on a photography-based website that lets you sell directly to people. So convenient. The website is sidewalkface.com. It was a lot of effort, but I persevered because it gave me the ability to sell prints and present the sidewalk faces in thematic groupings. Right off the bat I made a bunch of sales. I was happy. I thought I would have so much fun keeping it updated.


Nothing happened. Not with other people. With me! I stopped interacting creatively with the website. Why? I don’t know. I don’t like it? I don’t know why I don’t like. I don’t want to know what my hands are currently typing out faster than my brain can process. It took so much force of will and stamina to build. It was supposed to be the thing. I must be bad for neglecting it. I had all these big ideas and I did none of them. NONE OF THEM!

Instead of tending that website, I found myself blogging. Instead of adding my newest work to keep the website up to date and fresh, I would come over here and use my art to illustrate ideas I have about the creative process. Sidewalk Face as an entity was developing over here more than it was developing over there. That’s just the facts. The interpretation of the facts remains to be typed out. I am so curious what I am going to say but I am also afraid. I hope I don’t say something that makes me feel bad.

The surest way to get to the truth of something is to see what is being done and what is not being done. We tend to overvalue what we “think” about something but the evidence for our real priorities lies in our actions. The truth is I enjoy writing more than I enjoy organizing the faces into new galleries. I thought putting them into galleries was what I most wanted to do but I was wrong. The other truth is I want to sell them as limited edition prints on a better quality paper. I have been wrestling with this for over a year. The old website is like a boulder blocking me from the path I want to go down, its heaviness formed by the weight of my expectations. It feels like, if I remove it, all my hard work and imagination was for nothing. If I don’t remove it, my future hard work and imagination is imprisoned.

If you really want to do something and you suddenly have the chance, you are one hundred percent doing it. Like if you really want coffee and someone brings you one, you’ve already had a big sip before the end of this sentence.

What I have learned about art is that only the stuff you want to do gets made. Art is totally optional and it’s a lot of work. So, it’s very important to tell ourselves the truth about what we want. It’s very important to nurture the art we are actually capable of making and stop paying any attention at all to the amazing theoretical art we never make.

So, what is the truth about what I want? Hmmmmm… will I keep writing, or refresh my coffee and let this blog post sit for another month, or year or forever?

I want this to be my main website and I want to sell the work over here. I will be changing the name of this blog to sidewalkface.com soon. And I will have something very special to offer soon as well. I am excited!

Thank you to Mary, Joanne and Kerry for your encouragement. You dislodged my unmovable mental boulder by tilting my word view just enough that gravity lost its power. I appreciate that.


13 thoughts on “Dislodging the Unmovable Boulder

  1. You are such a truth-teller! I have copied your bold-face paragraph to a Sticky Note on the computer. I will read it often. Now can you help me with the residual guilt? I want to want to do this big sculpture sort of thing that I’ve been developing in my mind for more than six years. But all I (want to) do is play around with photography.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Linda! What I am trying with myself for big projects is to break them into the tiniest possible tasks. I enjoy small tasks that are not too stressful, or where the outcome isn’t do or die. If I am having fun than ideas just come and suddenly I like doing it. So do something to further your sculpture project that is really really easy and doable and no big deal. And then see if you enjoyed it! Let me know!


  2. Wow.. your insight into the creative process is so wise! Listen, nothing we create is ever wasted, even if it ends up in the trash can. It’s not for nothing because it ultimately forms the foundation to build new stuff on. That’s how I feel anyway. I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing and following your artistic journey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lizi! I appreciate that. I totally agree that nothing is wasted, the rejected material helps us see what we don’t like and has as much valuable information as the good material, maybe more. It doesn’t alwasy FEEL great looking at this material and tyring to learn from it but once the knowledge is being put to good use, that does feel pretty darn good!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really love your galleries on smugmug. I’ve never seen anything like this, so it draws me in. But at the end of the day you have to follow your gut and keep what makes you happy. Plus with this blog you get to honor writing + visuals!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much. That is actually nice to hear. I don’t want to lose the ideas of galleries all together, I just want to be working in a space that is “alive”. It’s so challenging to figure to out. I am writing about it in part as a way to force my hand to push past my confusion.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I can relate to your emotional struggle, Caren. I went through a similar period when I was deciding if I should drop out of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and just keep the focus on my website, ethnojunkie, where it really always belonged. Although I posted slavishly to the Insta, I felt that it really wasn’t a great fit for me – at the very least in terms of format and structure – and there were plenty of other reasons. Long story short, I went through a lot of soul searching: 5 pages of pros, cons, and what-ifs in my overstuffed journal. Ultimately, I decided to consolidate everything on ethnojunkie: I’ve been taking the best content from those other platforms and copying it into my website. I realize you’re not leaving Instagram, of course, so it’s not quite a parallel, but just as my food writing and promoting food tours in New York City coexist in one place, your seemingly effortless heartfelt writing and marketing your brilliant artwork can – and should – coexist on sidewalkface.com.

    FWIW, Caren, you have my empathy and my support. I can’t wait to watch your decision come to fruition!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for this rich response (no pun intended but oddly apt!). Social networks are their own forms of creativity and skill. Like every art medium, one has to dabble in it to find out what it can do and if you and it resonate. I don’t want to be all over the place but I do have a lot of ideas and it’s tricky trying to find the right thing. The big thing I know is that I learn by doing, not by thinking. When I get stuck, I can mull something over for a year and still get nowhere. I have to just do it to move forward.

      Thank you for the support. It’s so appreciated. And thank you for revealing your journey to me. I am interested in it. Wish I could be in NYC and go on one of your food tours when that all fully resumes. I think your website, writing and photography are great!


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