Ernest Hemingway wrote that “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Hemingway was responding to the concern that every artist has that they may not find their voice or their inspiration again after finishing a project. Inspiration can be a capricious thing, and I find making art without inspiration pure drudgery.
After spending the past few weeks in the darkroom developing film and printing, and not being able to shoot at all (in sharp contrast to shooting daily while in the road), I wondered when I would be inspired to pull out the camera again. Being in Santa Rosa weighed me down in ways that being on the road doesn't, and I couldn't wait to leave.
I'm not ready to begin photographing memorials again until April 1, so I'm making my way along the coast easing back into the rhythm. Luckily, it didn't take as long as I feared.
While walking through the Bodega Dunes, I saw several crab shells along the side of the trail, though they didn't really interest me. I walked on until I reached the shoreline, listened to the waves, and watched the tide come in. Then, enroute to my campsite, I saw the shells again. The light had shifted revealing them in a new way.
I ran for my 4X5 camera and returned quickly. The light held through four exposures, and then I took a souvenir picture with my iPad (above). From there I went on to photograph the lovely root formations of a tree near my campsite.
From there I passed the evening reading "The Book of Persephone" from Laurie Sheck's The Willow Grove , climbed into my sleeping bag, listened to the sea and the horn, and stared into the stars. The truest sentence.