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The measure of all things


A couple of weeks ago I had mentioned that perhaps I was crooked, given that my photographs were all atilt a couple of degrees clockwise. Lots of you sweeties wrote back to me with bits of advice, but ultimately, my thought about being crooked was on the money. I was sitting on the edge of a table being evaluated for physical therapy for my frozen neck when I mentioned the crooked pictures to the therapist. He said, “Funny you should mention that;” and then told me he didn’t like my posture at all, and that my head wasn’t on straight.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this was the literal truth, and it makes a big difference. I’m not talking about the idiomatic metaphor of being nuts. I’m talking about the underlying truth of having to trust yourself and your perceptions of the world. If they suddenly contradict your perceptions of the past, that easy relationship you have with your own judgment goes kerflewy, the rug gets pulled out from under your most basic decisions. Even unimportant ones like, is that picture really crooked or is it just me, suddenly lead to a confidence-disturbing answer. It’s me. It’s really me.

I find this issue is wider than just the crookedness of my outlook, which by the way is already much straighter. Unfortunately, I’m still not sure that my photos or my pictures on the wall are straighter; But at least when I’m thrown back to just feeling where the center is, I know it’s not my crooked head that’s the cause. My current guess is the photos have to do with depression of the shutter button and the way I hold the camera.

The same problems of self-trust and self-confidence come up when I make non-spatial decisions too. These problems I cannot blame only on the tilt of my head.

I feel like I have had a tilt of my mind as well, that has rendered me a mixture of very stupid as well as very smart. I still get good ideas and I still think. But I occasionally write sentences that don’t parse, or I write two instead of to.

Some of us have always written two instead of to. But not me. In matters of grammar and such, I always went straight to the right answers. But my fingers now make the error sometimes, when I’m not paying attention, so somewhere in my mind there’s been a slip or a bent connection, even though I know the difference between the words.

To be an artist means living with a crooked perspective and being confident in its validity. The key is not in the tilt of mental perspective, although it does feel like a metaphor for my personal issues. The key is in the confidence, the knowing that what you think and believe is right, and the ability to convince others to tilt their heads in your direction.