My new Amazon Kindle 3 came today. Having never really used one before, I wasn't sure what to expect. Having no idea when the delivery man would come, I waited the better part of the day for a mere knock at my door. And when it finally arrived, it was every bit as beautiful as I had hoped.
One quirk with the Kindle is the e-ink display. Using no power to actually display an image (only to change it), the minds over at Amazon thought up a fun way to jazz up standby mode. Instead of showing a blank screen, a random image from the literary world is shown. As I put the device to sleep moments ago with every intention of falling asleep myself, an image of John Steinbeck appeared on the screen. Having read his works in the past, but never putting a face to the name, it was somewhat of a pleasant surprise. And in many ways, this element of uncertainty in that quick flash of the e-ink proved to be for the better.
As a photographer, uncertainty is a part of my everyday life, at least when a camera is involved. Whenever I'm shooting an event, posing a model, or simply hanging out in the waves waiting for a good swell, I'm never sure what my camera will capture. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's mediocre. The lighting can change at a moment's notice. The settings on my camera might happen to be wrong. There could be a giant smudge on my image sensor, and I'd never know it until reviewing my images. All of these factors make photography more difficult. Yet at the same time, they make it all the more interesting as well.
As beautiful as all this might sound, that joy for uncertainty doesn't translate over well into most other circumstances. When your life is as unorganized as mine is at this point in time, you tend to cherish and cling on to every little ounce of certainty you can muster up. Hearing a solid answer, be it "yes" or "no," is a thousand times more pleasing to the ear than the dreaded word "maybe." Why is it, then, that the word "maybe" has continued to haunt me over the past few months? Plans for a trip of Kerouac proportions fell through with a thud. The pleasant equilibrium I reached in my workflow was blown to pieces by last-minute hardware changes. Even my allergies can't decide for certain whether or not they'll plot to kill me on any given day.
Despite all this, there are still a few (relative) constants that I know I can hold on to in my daily life. Be they talents, beliefs or relationships, these constants have proven time and time again to be the anchors that get me through till morning. That is, unless they impede with the very act of sleeping itself, as the constant pile of laundry on my bed so sourly beckons me to fold it.