Category Archives: Fear & Doubt

Fear & Doubt

What the Heart Has Once Known…

I saw a video on Facebook that actually moved me and got me thinking about this whole concept of gay marriage.  I have been very mixed on the subject, not sure where I stand on either side of the debate.  I sense my own security in my own relationship seems to be enough to bind us.  Everyone around us on both sides of our families acknowledge and respect our relationship and know what our ultimate desires are if something happens to the other.  Being gay and growing up in Montana I had never even considered the possibility of being able to marry someone of my same sex.  Working for UPS, they have a strong policy supporting same sex partnerships, and though I only work part time in the evenings for the company they acknowledge Glenn as my partner and give him full benefits along with me.  Of course we have had to prove our relationship and actually establish we were in a partnership.  But over the years as we have attended the weddings of all our straight friends our age, joining in union, and photographing the marriage of all my nieces, and then to see my father at one of the happiest moments I have seen him in decades remarry after my mother’s death, there is a tug in my heart to unite with a man I have adored for so much of my adult life now that I can’t imagine a life without him.  We committed in our early thirty something’s to watch each other grow old and that we have done.  This video captures all the stages of our relationships, with warmth and tenderness and told the story of my own life.  It reminded me of where I have been and I must say brought a tear to my eye to see the reflection of my life and know in the end I have been loved.

My fears are now more for the future now that we grow older.  We have built a life together sharing in everything.  But fiscally we are not bound.   Glenn was a student, when we built the studio and I could not put his name on anything because at the time he was more of a liability and it would have been detrimental to secure financing.  But together we have equally shared in the dream, labor, and completion of the project.  My fear is if something happens to me where will he stand?  Our hearts may say we are together but the laws of Montana may say we are not.  Will he possibly have to pay an inheritance on something he has spent his entire life working to build?  I saw this happen over and over years ago with partners when one passed away and the families kicking the remaining one into the cold, leaving them with nothing but adding to the already great sense of loss.

We know in our hearts what we feel is right and we have chosen to love, adore, and cherish each other already, shouldn’t this somehow be enough?   Here’s to you my love.  If the question ever becomes available “I do…” with all my heart and soul you have been the courage and strength of my existence that I have been thankful for since that fateful night in May so many, many years ago.  What the heart has once known it shall never forget!!!!

The Naked Man Finally Finds Exposure

OK!!!! Here it is the big day!!!!  The website is finally up and running!!!!  You can find it at  We have put together a limited version to test the site and see how it will function.  It’s still a work in progress so there may be some quirky little things that aren’t quit there yet, but for the most part you can get a good feel for what it will become.  We currently have eight of the thirty plus odd galleries open so it will give you a sampling of various styles.  Sorry I could not get an opening splash page up to warn viewer of the content, but most of you know what that is anyway and will hopefully get that up later in the day.  As an option I have chosen to hide the more graphic images from casual public viewing that can only be accessed when you become a registered user.  There are ratings at the bottom of the gallery pages, but they are way at the bottom so please feel free to use to give some feedback, you may have to scroll down to find, but am working on bringing them up into the page.  And there are comment sections at the bottom of each section for feedback.  The blog will now become more searchable via keywords though not all of the blogs have been categorized yet.  There is still a tremendous amount of work to be worked through on what’s currently up, but will be refined through out the upcoming weeks as we muddle our way through it.

It feels like I have reached the pinnacle of a wondrous place in my life today.  I now have a public home where I can dwell and share my creative spirit.  A year and half ago I was too afraid to even show my work publicly and now have a site that totally celebrates what I have become.  Thank you to all that have contributed and helped along the way.  A very special thanks are due to Glenn who keeps pushing me and reminds me of the practical side of my vision.  A huge thanks to Thor for his hours of working through my massive catalog of images and getting them organized and putting so much of the galleries together.  Alison you are the female love of my life, you just keep inspiring and cleaning up all my dirty little messes and making sense of my babbling.  I also have to thank Ramon who’s giving me the courage when I feel like I have fallen in a dark holes from which I thought I would never recover.  This website is a community effort and I have graciously learned this year that it takes a community to create art and survive.

The Creative Path Less Followed

It seems far easier to be creative then it is to actually market or sell your creativity. This is becoming the lesson of this week. This is the greatest leap in my creative endeavor so far since this project began. I think back to the beginning of when I was first getting into photography and the greatest hurdle was just getting my self to the creative table. The beginning of a creative existence is filled with self-doubt and anxieties surrounding whether we are good enough or even talented enough to create. It happens in baby steps. For me doing “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” a 12-week program by Julia Cameron which created that leap in my head that said it was OK to be an artist and the acceptance of myself as a creative being. With each success your confidence grows. The consistence of creating good stuff begins to outweigh the mistakes and, believe me there are lots of mistakes, you reach a tipping point where you become a master of your craft and nearly everything you work on is at least interesting. But it is a long voyage of forcing yourself to the creative process that continually nudged your way to that point of this clarity. The next hurdle seems to be exposing what you create and putting yourself out there for judgment and criticism. Of course this has been my greatest obstacle because of what it is I want to do and the acceptability of it in the culture I live. The first Friday evening of every month all the galleries in Missoula have a gallery walk where everyone is open late and you can wander from shop to shop and see all the new work that is up for the month. It has been a huge success in Missoula because they typically entice you in with wine, beer or some sort of edible treat. But these shows mostly only contain images of western themes or landscapes, the usual sort of paint pealing off the old barn sort of work. If I where to display my sort of imagery I am afraid I would create a scandal sort of thing and my studio would possibly be fire bombed. So this has become a huge leap in my own creative acceptance. The next phase that I feel I am on the verge of overcoming is creating a presence. This is the culmination of the process of this year and the process of search for a place. This phase has been far more creative and certainly more work then the process of creating art where the process of art began. Along each step there is a huge growth and a better understanding of myself and the things that seemed insurmountable in the beginning are now trivial in the end. Why does it take most of us our entire lives to become what it is we desire or aspire to become? Is it that we just don’t know the pathway? Does it become a battle with our own self-doubt? I began this year asking the question from many of my artist friends “Are we born to be artists or is it something we learn?” I now see what a tremendous amount of time and perseverance it takes to create anything. But so many of us put that amount of time and effect into things we are apathetic toward as a means to an end, just to make a living. When the real question becomes what is it that really satisfies and makes us happy. I know most of my life has been lived in uncertainty. But I have had this impulse all of my remembered existence and somehow at this stage it all seems worthwhile.

Website Overload

On website overload today trying to get everything ready for the Friday launch of the new site. So far it is all going well, though it is taking a lot of time to get everything functional. Lots of details as it feels we are working around the clock to make it happen. Thor and Danny have been staying here at the studio the last couple of nights as we all work from three computers on separate areas of the project. I can’t seem to sleep and worked until 3 in the morning, cleaning things up. The internal structure is becoming far more complicated then I originally anticipated, but the surface will seem simple and easy. Working in this new medium that has not been completely developed yet makes us have to adapt to make it interchangeable and adds to the complications. I keep wondering what on earth have I gotten myself in for. Thor seems like he is on the edge of burn out and I worry about him a lot as he works through the galleries. Glenn just takes on logistical things and seems to solve those sorts of issues I don’t have the patience to work. I am trying to work on linkage and overall look of the site. We are so close and it may be a bit rough the first couple of days. The weather has turned nice again and I keep looking outside thinking I wish I were out there enjoying these last days of fall.

Lack of Intimacy In A Creative World

Sorry no blog yesterday, every time I sat down to do it I would get distracted by something else. It was one of those extraordinary fall days outside that was sunny and unusually warm for this time of the year. I had my nephew Brenden come over and help me clean the property and prep it for the winter. I somehow thought I would be able to put him to work and I would get to write and work on my computer. But he is not very experienced and I began to realize the work of pruning and cleaning the beds was only specific to me. It was so beautiful out that I just decided to stay and get everything caught up. Then we had Glenn’s mother for dinner in the afternoon, because I had a wedding consult at 5:00, to shoot a wedding next month, and had to attend the dress rehearsal for a University production at 7:00, for a shoot on Wednesday night. When I got home it seems a bit late to blog so I settled in with Glenn. This seems to be the extent of all of my days.

The production I saw the rehearsal for was called Grace And The Art Of Climbing and seemed to focus on a woman dealing with intimacy issues. It really got me thinking about my own life and I began to question if perhaps I too have intimacy issues of my own. I began to think about relationships in my past and how perhaps I have pushed so many people away. When I began to ask Glenn about his perceptions of me and how I function within our relationship? He genuinely said he was happy and realized I had lots to accomplish. Most of the time I feel so focused that I know I am not really present to him and our relationship, and often times it feels like I notice him in the distance watching me. From my past experiences it seems the points of my life where I have been highly creative are the points where the relationship begins to falter. I cannot equally focus my attention in both directions at the same time. That’s why in the fall when Glenn goes off for two months to work somewhere else I try to focus on huge creative projects and seem to get the most productive work accomplished. I think artists in general are people who suffer from relationships more then anyone else because we have to disconnect and rechannel our passion toward what we create. Life in art is not easy and I think this is why many artists are single and probably drink and or use drugs. When we are creative our intimacy is our art. I am lucky, Glenn recognizes this and allows me that creative flexibility with little demand in return, in fact supports, it by taking care of the everyday things that distract me from the creative process.

I am reminded of an incident when I first met Glenn and I was asked to work as an associate director for a large film festival we used to have here in Missoula. I was responsible for logistically pulling the entire festival together. I worked with a woman named Cinda Holt who had help Robert Redford organize the Sundance festival in it’s early stages and we created a similar festival here in Missoula for and with artisans behind the camera: art directors, cinematographer, writers, directors. We screened films for a week and brought in all the filmmakers including Kenneth Turan from the LA Times to facilitate the event. For this project I had to book the films, that spaces, contact all the people and logistically get them to and from Montana, arrange accommodations and coordinate the mass army of volunteers to make the project happen. For several weeks it was all consuming for 24/7 to pull the project off. The project was a huge success, but it about destroyed my relationship with Glenn at the time. He was so angry that he refused to attend any of the events I had just spent every ounce of my being orchestrating. This hurt me so deeply that my own partner would not stand beside me at a moment of my greatest achievement. I now recognize it was a defining moment in the relationship where I disconnected, perhaps we both disconnected. Our relationship has since grown. Now Glenn is my creative partner in all my wacky self-absorbed endeavors. My projects and creative life has since grown and some how we have all adapted. My days do not get any easier and my need or sense of accomplishment never seems to cease. I don’t promise it will get any easier, because I know that would be a lie all I can recommend it that you “fasten your seat belts because you are in for a bumpy ride” as Bette Davis says in All About Eve.