in the quiet of naptime

Is there a word for actively making gratitude? Giving thanks seems too weak. I mean chasing down the thing you’re grateful for in your mind and staring down the idea of living without it and feeling so relieved you don’t have to actually live that way you can feel it all through your body.

This afternoon you were sleeping in our bed. Your brother and dad had gone off swimming, and I was resisting joining you, even though I needed a nap. The house was just so peaceful, it was tempting to stay up and do something all by myself. In quiet. But then you stirred and I panicked that you might have a short nap and I would miss my opportunity to sleep entirely. So I lay down beside you and just watched you breathe. The bruise on your forehead was faded to yellow. And I thought about that time last week when I thought you were dead while I dialled 9-1-1. You went so still, and while I thought you were dead, I also couldn’t believe it. You were just alive, a minute ago; you couldn’t possibly be dead. But that’s how it is with life and death, isn’t it? One minute it’s there and the next it’s gone. I didn’t want to look; I figured let the paramedics tell me when they arrived.

So today, I watched you breathe, in and out in and out. Totally fine. And I am grateful. More than grateful.


Smashley Massacre

On Tuesday, I met Smashley Massacre and River. Usually, I meet each derby girl in her home and we get to know each other and I get to scout her space. Then I come back another time and make pictures. This time, I combined everything into one visit. I’m trusting my instinct and experience more in my shooting decisions for this project, and this most recent shoot helped. I’m hoping to travel and photograph derby girls a bit further from home, but I’ve been uncertain about how the time constraints of travelling would affect my work. But I think it’s going to be ok.

Tuesday was my quickest shoot ever. I couldn’t keep the camera out for long because darling River was fascinated by it. I managed to squeeze four frames with River in it: one to check exposure, one where Smashley’s face was blurry while River nursed, this one, and one when both of them were a blur because he noticed my camera and needed to come explore again. I shot some more frames with just Smashley, but they just didn’t come close to this one.


the opening

So last Friday, the opening of Revealing Spaces, was pretty great. The Baby Who Hates The Car didn’t scream as much as usual in the two-hour car ride to my parents’ place. But when we arrived, I realized I’d forgotten the outfit I was planning to wear. That sucked. The few other clothes I’d brought were decidedly weekend at the farm clothes, not suitable for an opening of my work. My mom and I went out to the little second-hand shop in the teensy tiny village two miles from my parents’ in the hopes that might have a better shirt for me to wear. But as luck would have it, not only did I find a shirt, I found a whole outfit, including a cute vintagey mint blazer and snazzy shoes, all of which fit me perfectly. All for about $30. And it was WAY snazzier than what I was planning to wear. How crazy is that?

Here are a few photos:



Here I am speaking, with Curator Sonya Jones in the background. Apparently I was very hard to hear. Ah well.


Anyways, I don’t think I made an ass of myself at the opening, my work looked great, if I do say so myself, and the whole show overall was pretty great. The Durham Region Roller Derby League had a table there, which I thought was pretty great since I hadn’t actually had any contact with them yet myself. It felt legitimizing somehow. The highlight of the evening for me was when Kiss My Ashlinn’s daughter introduced herself to me. I was honoured she came out. Kiss My Ashlinn died in April of this year, just a few months after I photographed her. Today, the RMG blog posted some of my reflections on her.


I’d like to speak at the opening of Revealing Spaces this Friday. But I’m drawing a complete blank as to what to talk about specifically (obviously, I’ll talk about Yes these bones shall live, but exactly what angle?). I could talk for hours (and have done) about the project, what it means to me, why I’m doing it, what I’m learning from it and from the women I meet through it, how I do it, etc., etc. At the opening for Hard Knocks last year, it was easy: the curator used a question and answer format, so I only had to answer the questions.

So it occurred to me, maybe I could ask the audience for questions. But that’s always risky, because nobody cares enough to ask. So then I thought, why not ask here? I don’t know if anyone is still reading, but if you are, would you mind sharing with me what makes you curious about my roller derby project? Any burning questions about the series? Anything at all?