The Drive

A couple of days ago, my brother in the throes of cleaning the house dug up a piece of my past that I thought was long gone: "The Drive."

Prior to my joining the Armed Forces, I was a prolific amateur photographer who had serious aspirations of becoming a professional photojournalist.

Early in life I had messed around sporadically with my mom's old SLR 35mm, but with the advent of digital cameras I found a whole world of possibility open up to me. I shot with our family's point-and-shoot compact 2 megapixel for a while, then worked a whole summer on a local farm to save up enough for an 8 megapixel prosumer ZRL (zoom reflex lens). Over the next two years I shot around 40,000 photos. My photos were all stored on a hard-drive when I went off to Boot Camp and when I came back I found that I had completely and inexplicably lost all interest in my creative outlets. Photography was no exception.

Photography was the most important thing in my life before joining the military, and as such, returning to that obsession became the path that I navigated as I sought to return to something of my former self.

I took what I thought to be the first step back when I met a girl who somehow helped me to see colors again, (ironically, she had just gone color-blind) and I felt a hope that among other things, I could be the obsessive photographer again - the trait I thought that defined the pre-military me. Then she left my life completely and I soon abandoned my reborn photographer in favor of going on a long streak of heavy drinking and writing heaps of ridiculously emotional music and poetry.

The final blow came one day when the hard-drive with all my work on it started clicking and suddenly died as well. At first, I felt sick to my stomach thinking that my greatest tie to my prior self was gone.

At first I thought about spending the heaps of money that it would take to recover the photos, but for reason, I felt a strange peace and acceptance that the photos were gone. No longer would they haunt my existence, bidding me return once again to my former obsession. I think now that I was right to feel that way, and my life has been better since I gave up that pipe-dream. 

However, although I gave up on being a photojournalist, I found in it's place a revolving door of other aspirations whose urges and capabilities came and still come to me in an almost clock-like cycle. 

It will happen (often suddenly) that when I am within grasp of finishing a project, such as the production of my music album, that I lose all creative drive in that direction and find myself writing heaps upon heaps of lyrics and poetry instead. In time I'll move onto some other interest, and then something else, and even spend weeks just subconsciously adsorbing stuff, and many days later when my drive for making music returns, I find that I want to take my album in a completely different direction and I'll start all over again from scratch. This cycle has repeated in some form ever since photography ceased to be a part of my life, and now it seems with ever increasing regularity.

I've only recently, and quite gradually become aware of the surety this phenomenon, and I find that I am actually happy with it. Granted, I'll never be really good or well known for any one thing in particular like I felt sure I would be as a photographer, but I see and experience so much more without my eye glued to a simply viewfinder, or a microphone, or a monitor, or my fingers tied to my computer's keyboard or a guitar's neck.

So, this hard-drive showed up, bringing with it some turmoil, memories, phantoms of ambitions and dreams. It reminds me of the two years I spent looking through a lens; of the perhaps one thing I could have been really exceptional in my pursuit of; but it also reminds me of the life-time I might have spent doing just one thing, trapped by ambition and obsession. 

So I suppose I'll keep this little doohickey safe, and one day years from now I might see if I can recover the photos. But in the meantime it serves to remind me of the path I once travelled to a destination I thought I knew; and the path I'm on now which could go just about anywhere.


  1. Gosh! I love going through all the old stuff I have stored on spare drives, thumb drives, cds, even floppy disks!!! It's a good trip down memory lane!

    Also, thanks for posting my button. I really REALLY appreciate it. You know, you could still beat me! Although, I will forever be suspicious of anonymous comments from now on. If you ever decide to join in (any time in the year) just let me know and I will count you in. :)

  2. Of course! It's my pleasure... and may the best reader win! :-)

  3. Oh Yeah! I will add you to the competitor list. also, I know you are busy and I don't know if you accept blogging awards, but I have awarded you the versitile blogging award because your blog always has so many different and interesting reads, plus you are a great blogging friend. To find out more about this just follow the link back to my blog post...


  4. Oh, also, don't forget to build a list somewhere of all the books you have read in 2011 thus far so we can all keep track of your progress in the competition! If you visit my sidebar you can also see where everyone else is in teh competition whenever you are interested!

  5. Thank Aubrie, I have the list prepped and ready for populating; it's just waiting for me to get the heck off my computer and kill my eyesight the old-fashioned way :-)

    I posted a response to the award on your site. I hope you don't take it too seriously. I'm occasionally quite an idiot.

  6. Awesome! and when you get the list up just let me know so I can start keeping track. Also, don't worry about it. I know it was kind of a girly thing (I changed a few of the questions for Matt so he wouldn't feel strange) but I wanted to award you anyway, because i have really enjoyed your blog and your our little chattings!