Letter To A Dear Friend

Darling,

I was just sitting at work thinking about something you said to me the other day on the phone about “admiring (my) dedication to self-care.”
I want you to know that it feels really good to be validated for that and for someone to recognize that is an important skill to have. Thank you for providing that validation. I feel that our world in general really admires people who will give everything they have got to the point of their own detriment for the betterment of others. Taking time and energy back from that is certainly a challenge.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about times in my life when I felt like I was more productive or made better art or made more art or was just in general more successful. I think back to high school when I couldn’t make my own choices about when to socialize and had to find ways to entertain myself in my room alone. I think back to college when I was surrounded by a community of people who encouraged me to create.

I am trying really hard to reclaim all the time that I feel is wasted on people who are not supportive of me. I am trying really hard to ignore all the naysayers who want to invalidate the things have established for myself that I need (more alone time to be creative, to rest, to perform self-care.) Be gone all the friends who want to drag me out of the house when I need sleep and who don’t respect my needs. Be gone friends who want to pressure me into drinking on nights when I shouldn’t be. Be gone all the people who don’t respect my time, my goals, or me.

I know I need to be in a space where I have alone time to focus on myself and to ‘play’ with art supplies privately, and make ‘bad art’ without getting any feedback from other people about it. Now I just need to practice every day to make that happen. It almost feels like a diet, where you make ‘the right choice’ at every meal to be a better you.

Thank you for reading my word vomity feelings and thoughts. I hope they are meaningful or helpful to you in some way. I’m glad we manage to stay friends despite the distance.

IMG_20170616_202216Love you girl,

Kenna

PS. Attached is a photo of me with a stinking corpse flower that recently bloomed at the conservatory of flowers here in SF.  They bloom once ever 7 years or so, I made it a point to go see it and put my own needs and desires first. It smells like rotting compost in order to attract pollinators!
http://conservatoryofflowers.org/bloom/amorphophallus-titanum/
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New Leaves & Old Labyrinths

Last fall I went through crisis hotline and advocacy training with The Turning Point Rape Crisis Center of Collin County Texas. This has been and continues to be an incredible organization to work with and I really cannot say enough good things about them.  The Turning Point is focused on the treatment and prevention of bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault. They do this predominantly with the help of volunteers and a few very dedicated staff members. Together we run a crisis hotline and provide resources such as Individual, Group and, Friends and Family counseling, yoga therapy, crisis, hospital, and legal advocacy for survivors of sexual assault and their friends or family as well as education programs for the community.

If you want to know more about this organization or if you would like to donate time by volunteering, or some other type of support you can check us out here http://www.theturningpoint.org/

As impending springtime draws near, the newness in the air condensates.  I find that manifesting in my life as the reallocation of time to address things to have been issues or challenges for a long time.  Such as my new year’s resolution from last year that never happened, without feeling the pressure to get it done on any timeline.  By removing the pressure to finish things by a certain time and instead focusing on doing “a little bit each day” I have found both more progress and more peace with these activities and within myself.

The writing community I have been working to develop with Alicia at the Roanoke Public Library is growing steadily which fills me with delight.  I have started posting daily writing prompts on my personal twitter (@theonlykenna) and on my Facebook account as well as the writing group on Facebook. Our next meeting is on March 12, 2016 at the Roanoke Public Library 2 PM – 4 PM. I hope to see you there!

When I was at RIT I took a course called Women’s Stories Women’s Films, I took many courses as a part of my Gender studies minor that changed the way I thought about life and the world around me but I feel that this class was particularly relevant.  I remember a reading assignment that we had about labyrinths. This reading implied that we all walk a labyrinth of life, and that as time progresses we just walk in the same patterns time and time again.  The corridors of life remaining eerily familiar but the people or situations we encounter in them changing.  The simple way to express this poetic illustration is ‘everything changes but everything stays the same.’unnamedI often find myself coming back to this visual in life and I say, bring on the spring, bring on the change, bring on the challenges, and the goals, and the endeavors. The learning experiences, the smiles and tears, I can’t wait.

Aside from my new year’s resolutions I have started a journal where I write down my favorite moment from each day.  This has been an awesome practice because it keeps me focused on and looking for my favorite moments instead of stuck thinking about the less enjoyable parts of being a biped carbon based life form that calls this pale blue dot home.

Some of my favorite moments from January were:

“Eating chocolate cake and red wine for breakfast in celebration of mine and my best friends birthday while she was in town, at 2 pm”

“Putting on the completed dinosaur costume that my mom and I designed and made, then going to my birthday party and having an absolute blast.”

“Successfully taking a few steps on the slackline while hula hooping around my waist”

“Pizza and puzzle games, game night”

Happy New Year-2016

Happy New Year Friends and Fans!  This year is sure to be full of adventure and growth for me, I wish all of you the same!
Some of my new years resolutions include things as simple as flossing every day (I’m really bad about that) and writing every day and more complicated stuff like being more on top of life in general.
I have added some new videos to the video section of the site from my involvement with Open Stage in Dallas, Texas which was produced by the lovely people at http://www.circusfreaks.org
In November last year I started teaching a book binding and book arts workshop at the Roanoke Public Library (http://www.roanoketexas.com/166/Library)  and we have kicked off the new year with a Creative Nonfiction writing workshop as well. Both of these classes are happening monthly and are open and free to the public, I would love to see you there.  We have plans in the works to get a zine off the ground through those two groups and I will keep you updated on that as it progresses.
I am also still working with Alexis Lerhman to get my Photo book produced through indigo-go.  https://whatisdfw.wordpress.com/
Since moving back to Texas and getting connected with Open Stage and the Circus Freaks I have become really interested in circus arts and theatrical performance as an expressive medium and I cannot wait to show you all what comes of that. I have dipped my toe in the water of skills such as juggling, contact juggling, and slack lining.  This coming year I hope to get more involved with acrobatic practice, at the very least for fun exercise but it would be really cool for that to turn into a performance skill one day.
I have been reading the book Impro by Keith Johnstone at the recommendation of Russ Sharek of the Circus Freaks and I gotta say it is a really solid read for anyone who is interested in improvisation or life in general.
Finally I want to address some important realizations that I have come to in the last few months.  In photography school we talked a lot about how photographers create one view of the world or of a situation by determining what is inside the frame and what the exclude.  I am really starting to understand that this really applies everywhere in life and not just to the images we make. The people one decided to include in their life, and make a part of their story can effect so much about where you go and what happens. Also much like creating a photograph the perspective we take on what happens is really more important than what happens; I have been choosing to end my day by focusing on the most enjoyable or positive thing that happened that day and this practice has really made all the difference for my outlook.  I don’t think I understood that you can choose happiness regardless of what is around you in most circumstances until recently.
We all have more (and less) control over our lives than we ever imagined, but that’s okay, and no matter what happens it’s going to keep being okay.
Look for more updates here soon, I’m excited to keep in better touch with all of you.
-Kenna

Announcing My Newest Photobook Project

I’m really excited to introduce you to the currently untitled project I am working on that involves all the images I have been producing since moving back to Dallas Texas in 2013. This project will manifest as both a book (let me know if you are interested in having a copy of your own.) and as an online edit.  I have been working with the fabulous Alexis Lehrman as the Editor for the project.

Here is a teaser:

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642 Things to write about – The Worst Thanksgiving Dish You Ever Had

The worst thanksgiving dish I ever had, has to be the time I asked my mom to make fish for thanksgiving as I really wasn’t that into turkey. I must have been about 14, a young teenager.

I imagined she would make some kind of salmon thing with goat cheese or like scallops wrapped in bacon.

After trying to avoid my mom toiling all day in the kitchen because she seemed way too stressed out over cooking in the first place. We sat down to the thanksgiving table for her to uncover a large disposable foil cooking pan and reveal the saddest looking slices of cod with some kind of store bought bread crumb breading desperately clinging to them as if each piece of cod was one of few life boats.

I had ruined thanksgiving. When I asked my mom to make fish I had no idea that my mom didn’t know how to cook fish. I had no idea that my mom actually hates fish which is why she didn’t know how to pick things out that would taste good together.  I learned to asked for more specific things that thanksgiving.

The second runner up was this past thanksgiving. Macaroni and cheese. Spirals not macaroni. The cheese part was so awful I don’t know if the English language actually has the capacity to describe the level of cheese sauce with the consistency of spray in truck bed protector. it was delicately flavored with a pallet that only all of the efforts and time that it takes to save the crusted died up ends that form at the tip of a cheese wiz container could bring to a dish. This spiral pasta and cheese protector coating was garnished with Italian seasoned Kraft Parmesan flavored crumbles.

At the thanksgiving table my mother was raving about this shit. “Oh that macaroni and cheese is good enough to sneak eat out of the refrigerator at night and hope no one catches you in the pajamas.”

My date and I looked at each other like she was on crack.

Thankfully I later got to clarify with my mom that she was in fact just trying to be polite.

This concept of “politeness” is something that I think my southern family takes entirely too far. Perhaps part of me has become a Yankee but I learned while I was in the north east that its okay to not like other people,or other things, and that its okay for other people or things to not like you and that maybe its best to just be upfront about it.

“Mise En Place”

So here I find myself about two years out of college and I think I am finally starting to get my footing in the non academic world.   Right now my biggest personal project has been collecting all of my data onto one computer so that I can set up the raspberry pi I received last year for Christmas and begin playing with it as a server.

I am most excited about this because it means being able to have all my data organized and accessible from pretty much whatever computer I am using.

My best tip to anyone who is starting school right now or any major undertaking. Organize from the start and as go you because its a nightmare to do it later.  When I worked in a kitchen we called it “mise en place.”

Mise en place (French pronunciation: ​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French phrase which means “putting in place”, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift.[1] The practice is also effective in home kitchens.[2]

I have found time and time again that reading all the directions before you begin, and having taken the time to get everything you will need in order first, really saves a lot of headaches in the future.

But seriously its a mess most of the time.
Where the magic happens

 

New Year, New Work

I am super excited to announce that I am working on a new project. I don’t want to share a lot of details yet because it is still getting off the ground but stick around for updates on its progress.

 

Teaser Picture:

Meow Meow
Sketches of my Cat Yoshi

 

Other new things that are going on include:

  • I am back in school and preparing to go to graduate school
  • I am finally getting comfortable with making non photographic art again
  • I would really love to get a zine of some sort off the ground and if anyone wants to participate in this project they should get in touch with me