Anticipation is the hardest part of any process

After the frenetic turn-around of the first section of Dirty Laundry, I’d written myself into a corner: having not used the full fortnight to respond, I’d stolen time instead from everything else I was supposed to be working on. As always seems to happen, I then found myself with too many small things to do and got utterly stressed out by the whole situation. In the meantime I knew Samantha was working on the next photoshoot and when she said the next set was up online I was really tempted to take the same path as before: to go look straightway because I was so excited. However, having learnt from last time I knew that once I looked at the photos my creative-mind would be preoccupied by the response and I still had a pile of other things needing tweaked, sent, sorted and confronted first.

It’s now a week later and I still haven’t looked at the second photoset. Samantha and I have talked and she knows why I haven’t and I feel supported in that. My deadline for the response is a week yesterday so i’m not feeling any deadline-stress from the collaboration, in fact it’s kind of the opposite. I’m using my engagement with the process- which feels perhaps less of a burden because it’s a shared production, rather than other of my projects which i’m either leading on or sole-producer of- as a carrot/stick situation. I’m only allowed to look at the photos & respond to them once certain other tasks are done, and it’s proving a really effective encouragement.

Samantha and I both posted about our collaborative anxieties over the first set of photos- our attachment to our work and worries that the other person might perhaps misinterpret them or dislike them, or not see their relevance to each other. I don’t really feel that way about approaching the second set. From brief visits to the Dirty Laundry site i know the second set looks like it might contain some kind of giant rabbit-man (I’ve tried really hard not to look directly at it). Sam has mentioned in passing that her mom thought they were weird. And from that ever-present sneak that is Facebook I know she’s looking for a set of marionettes which i’m really hoping will be for the third photo-set. Samantha and I talked at greater length about the difficulties we had in letting go of our worries and our work, and I feel like that was a bit of a first-date scenario. By which I mean we were going in with one set of expectations and ended up with a different set, and that process of discovery and transition introduces shyness into a place where it never existed before. Conversely, I’m feeling really cheerful about this next set. Having ‘survived’ the first date, I know that we’re both resilient enough to be honest about what we’re finding difficult, and also about what we’re loving about the process. I know that – as I had suspected – Samantha will be producing photos rich with detail for me to pick at, but that she’ll understand if my work goes off on a tangent, which it tends to do. She’s proven in the last week that we’re allowed to flip our reactions to the timeframe around: just because we’re fast to respond to one set doesn’t mean we can’t take our time over the next an so forth.

However, having said that I’m now going to go look at the second set of photos, with a view to beginning to write the piece on Monday. I sat down to write something about the creative process and mental health issues and emotional issues and being at different places in one’s life, bu clearly that hasn’t actually happened. But i’m putting this note about it in here to prompt me in the future.