26 May 2006

Found Treasures

For better or for worse, I am entering a local amateur photography contest. The entry fee is small, and better yet, all of the fees go toward helping local children go to art camps during the summer. It's a shame to think that as a hard-working taxpayer here that locally the school kids nowaday only get about 2 hours of art and/or art exposure a week, and then only through the lower grade (primary) school years. I have no problem with supporting most any summer art camp that will help kids get the enjoyment of art that I have now: I can't even fathom how much I have learned...on my own, mind you, after getting the inspiration in a 3rd grade art class...because I got fascinated as a young child with the great Leonardo da Vinci. In our beloved country's rush desire to 'make sure no child is left behind', I'm so glad we've also decided that the artists can be...starting at age 12. (No wonder there are so many complaints about the status of American artistic culture.) That abandonment (let's call a spade a spade, folks) must be nothing less than heartbreaking for the budding artist who may not have the proper artistic support or funding to keep up their dreams at home. Anything that helps these kids, I say.

Although I must also admit that I'm feeling more than potentially anxious about the level of my work being submitted. I used to love art and did something artistic every day until high school graduation...and just somewhere along the lines of securing a paycheck, I left my own artistic dreams behind. Sure, I've dabbled here and there around the holidays and all, and also with a band for a short period of time...and I like to think I am an expert Christmas shopper and gift-wrapper...but sometimes you need to create art just for the sake of creating it, even if it stinks. I used to paint and sculpt and 'throw' pottery and make jewelry. Now I make ledger sheets and Excel spreadsheets and accounts payable files. No wonder I keep thinking work has to got to mean something more substantive to me than this...and I even like almost all parts of my job.

But I digress, as usual. I found these gems among my files the other night, as I trying to desperately narrow down to two final entry candidates. While I eventually decided with the help of an exceptionally gifted expert friend on my selecttions, (2 from Oz, wouldn't you know LOL), these were taken on my historical trip to Egypt a few years back. Historical in the sense it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but also historical in that the last night in Cairo...September 11, 2001...my tour group and I cowered in our hotel rooms and watched small crowds celebrate the day's events outside by burning anything they could find American in a huge bonfire in the street. It was, hands down, the beginning of the scariest week of my life...and I thought I'd seen some massively scary things before and survived. And, unfortunately, even when I see these beautiful pictures even now, that image outside the Sonesta Hotel in Nazr City never, ever goes away.

P.S.: I will be updating and adding some things here over the long holiday weekend. Please forgive me if the blog is temporarily unavailable some times during this period. I've been woefully neglectful of it, and I need to make amends. LOL.

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