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Sunday February 01, 2004, 03:17

I followed a piece of string down the street yesterday. It went for about half a block, starting next to an abandoned sofa cushion that I was sure housed a homeless person and proceeded down towards a bar at the other end of the block that I knew from a previous experience (when I entered the bar alone was confronted by the stares of a room full of coupled men and thought that it would have been nice to know that it was a gay bar before I actually got there, just because) and just abruptly stopped. I was hoping that it might have ended in a kite, or a kitten, or a man lying on the ground, the string wrapped around his index finger, muttering "damn, I knew I was going to forget."

But it didn't. It unwound down the block, looping as if coming directly off of a ball or a spool, and then just ended, with all the fanfare of a brick landing on a plate of spaghetti.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. I guess I was just expecting a better story. Something that I could recount over drinks (in which I would most likely not be participating), or online (where I have not really been writing as of late). And in recent weeks I've been forced to remember what it is that I'm doing here (where here is defined, loosely, as the entirety of the online world), how long I've been doing it, and how the world as I define it has grown up in many ways without me.

I've been thinking a lot about this site lately, and how it's fallen out of favor with me, not through any fault of its own, but mostly because of cycles of interest and dedication to my man hobbies. I've recently found myself more tired than usual, due in no small part to the lack of sunshine in the Northeast of the US in the wintertime and the fact that I've been sleeping even less than usual. I like to say that I really like the mornings, and I really like the late late nights, and if i could get away with having no sleep at all, I would probably be the happiest, but I do enjoy sleep, and I enjoy dreaming, and in the winter, I enjoy being curled up under the blankets. On the train today I fell asleep and, even upright with my head against the glass, I was content to set my rest at conscious ease (who knows that the unconscious was doing at the time).

Teetering at this perpetual state of exhaustion (for, in reality, that's what it is) has always left me somewhere between incredibly creative and totally drained. With enough coffee in my system and enough stimulants in the form of the various characters I run across in daily life, I have enough to drive myself towards completing all of my appointed tasks for a given day (work and fun, all mixed up into a nice little ball). When I slip towards the non-productive end, I tend to get less creative and do the bare minimum needed to get by.

My unending pursuit of "not letting down the client" generally puts work, in all its various forms first. On a good day, this leaves me (freelance and hourly as I am) with enough money to feel like the rest of the day can be dedicated to me and enough energy to actually dedicate that time to my own pursuits. More often than not this is not the case and I find myself working until I pass out, or working until I don't feel like staring at the computer at all, and then I pass out on the couch watching television. Blaming my coat and the weather for my lethargy is not the most mature course of action I could take, of course, but it is the most likely outcome of all of my contemplation. The truth is that I don't have to spend all of my time in front of the computer; my photography takes place out in the streets, and can only be done away from the computer immersed in the world. But it is too bloody cold to do anything about it.

But when I am completely drained of energy and still want to present something creative, I will dig through my stacks and stacks of prints and find a photo that I really like and I will put it up on my site. And as I have put more and more photos online, more and more people come by to see them, and I am reclaiming a bit of the thrill of the mid-90s that I felt when I put my then called "Thoughts of Nothingness" online (and if you look hard enough, you can still find them) and started to get comments back from complete strangers telling me that I touched them with my work. It was basic teen angst in a box, but it was mine, and it was getting reactions. And over the years, I moved my sites around, I changed my style, and I kept on writing, and people kept on reading.

And slowly, over time, I started to run out of juice. And I stopped writing as much, opting more for the sleep option over anything else. A quick run to my favorite search engine finds my photo site beating out this site in a search for my name, which is a pretty decent indicator of the aspect of my life that to which I am most referring at the time. And once again, the world has responded positively with emails and comments online.

Fortunately, it all feeds on itself, and I am far more interesting in flexing the part of my brain that can actually produce rather than just passively capture. The photography and writing serve my basic need to share my life, yet they come from such different places that I really do have to focus on them independently in order to keep myself completely balanced.

So what about the string that started it all off? Who knows? But given the opportunity, I'd like to tell a story...

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